Click Lock systems were initially popularised with laminate flooring systems. Their big sell was that they reduced the cost and increased the simplicity of an installation. A number of designs have been patented, but the most common tend to be UniClick and Valinge. When Engineered flooring started becoming popular, the obvious choice for installation was to use a click lock system.
Click locking systems have only become available on solid wood flooring in recent years. As solid wood flooring is hygroscopic, there are some special considerations when using a click locking system, as the floor can move significantly when adjusting to changes in climate. Click systems are less “flexible” than T&G, so when there is a lot of movement in the floor, the floor can experience significant stresses that can result in a floor failure.
Tongue & Groove, on the other hand, has been the accepted standard in solid wood flooring for many years. This system requires a greater skill for installation, but does add some flexibility to the installation options available.
There are pro’s & con’s of a click lock system:
- Much quicker to complete an installation.
- No messy glues.
- Less skill required to install (can lower installation costs).
- Easy to replace a badly damaged plank.
- Not suited to environments where there are extremes in humidity and temperature.
- Solid wood, being hygroscopic, can move a lot. Excessive movement can cause a click joint to splinter or break. This cannot usually be repaired.
- Can only be used for “floated” flooring installations (directly onto a solid base).
- It is not recommended that a click lock floor be refinished (sanded down & a new finish applied) as this may weaken the click lock mechanism.
Based on the above, we suggest the following points be considered when choosing:
- Click Lock is installed where the climatic extremes are typically not that harsh, specifically in regard to humidity.
- The floor will be installed in a temperature & humidity controlled environment (typically Office blocks & Hotels).
- Installation time is very limited (must adhere to above climatic conditions).
- Don’t have skill required for T&G installation (must adhere to above climatic conditions).
- Use T&G if there are climate extremes – you experience a very dry season (very low humidity) followed by a very wet rainy (very high humidity) season.
- Your floor is to be installed on joists (click lock flooring cannot be installed on joists).
- You have a room with a width greater than 4 meters & don’t want to use T-Profiles to cover the extra expansion gaps required (conditions apply).
- If your design requires a wider plank.