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Flooring refers in general to a permanent covering of a floor, or to the work of installing such a floor covering.  Floor covering describes any material applied as a finish over a floor to provide a walking surface.  Both terms are used interchangeably but floor covering refers more to loose-laid materials.

Materials often used as floor covering include carpets, area rugs, and resilient flooring such as linoleum or vinyl flooring.  Materials commonly called flooring include wood flooringceramic tiles, stone, terrazzo, and various seamless chemical floor coatings.

The floor under the flooring is called the subfloor.  It provides support for the flooring.  Special purpose subfloors like floating floorsraised floors or sprung floors may be laid upon another underlying subfloor which provides the structural strength.

Flooring materials
When choosing the material for floor coverings, it is important to consider factors such as cost, endurance, noise insulation, comfort and cleaning effort.  Some types of flooring must not be installed below grade (lower than ground level), and laminate or hardwood should be avoided where there may be moisture or condensation.  The sub-floor may be finished in a way that makes it usable without any extra work, such as with earthen floors, adobe or clay floors, as well as solid ground floor cement, screed or granolithic.

Wood flooring
You can find wood flooring in two main forms: plank and parquet.  Wood flooring is fabricated from different species of wood.  Hardwoods are naturally much more durable than softwoodsReclaimed lumber has a unique appearance and is used in green (environmentally responsible) building.

Laminate appears similar to hardwood but has a core made with plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF) covered in a plastic laminate top layer.  HDF laminate consists of high density fiberboard topped by one or more layers of decorative paper and a transparent protective layer.  Laminate may be more durable than hardwood, but cannot be refinished like hardwood.  Laminate flooring is available in many different patterns that resemble different woods or even ceramic tile.  It usually locks or taps together.

Bamboo flooring is manufactured from the bamboo plant and is a type of hardwood flooring, though technically bamboo is a grass, not a wood.  Bamboo is known to be durable and environmentally friendly.  It is available in many different patterns, colors, and textures.

Cork flooring is manufactured from the by-product of the cork oak tree.  Cork floors are considered to be eco-friendly since the tree bark is stripped every nine to ten years and doesn't damage the tree.  Cork flooring comes in both tiles and planks, and can come with glued or glue-less installation.

Resilient flooring
Resilient flooring refers to materials that have some elasticity.  It includes many different manufactured products including linoleum, sheet vinylvinyl composition tile (VCT)cork (sheet or tile), rubber, and others.  Performance surfaces used for dance or athletics are made of either wood or resilient flooring.

Hard flooring
Ceramic tile includes a wide variety of clay products fired into thin units.  These are set in beds of mortar or mastic with grout between the joints.  Tile varieties include quarry tileporcelain tile, terracotta tile, and others.

Many different natural stones are cut into a variety of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses for use as flooring.  Stone flooring is usually set in mortar and grouted similar to ceramic tile.  Slate and marble are popular types of stone flooring.  Terrazzo consists of marble or other stone aggregate set in mortar and ground and polished to a smooth surface.  Small pieces of stone may be arranged to form a design or picture called a mosaic; these floor designs are common in cultural and religious centers.

Seamless chemical flooring
Seamless flooring materials are used in usually wet areas such as laboratories and food processing plants.  These chemical floorings include latex, polyester, urethane, or epoxy compounds which are applied in liquid form to provide a completely seamless floor covering.  They may have granular or rubberized particles added to give better traction.

Soft coverings
Carpet is a floor covering woven or felted from natural or man-made fibers.  Fitted carpet is attached to the floor structure, extends wall-to-wall, and cannot be moved from place to place.  An underlay will extend carpet life and improve comfort.

Rugs are also woven or felted from fibers, but are smaller than the room in which they are located, have a finished edge, and usually lie over another finished floor such as wood flooring.  Rugs may either be loose laid, or temporarily attached to the flooring below by adhesive tape or other methods.

Floor features
A number of special features may be applied on floors for ornamentation and functional purposes:

  • Floor medallions for decorative centerpieces of a floor design
  • Doormats to help keep a floor clean
  • Gratings used to drain water or to rub dirt off shoes
  • Tactile or rumble strips with distinctive colors and patterns, to warn of, say, a wheelchair ramp
  • Light strips to show an escape route out, especially on airplanes
  • Moldings or baseboards to decorate the sides or to cover the edge of a floating floor
  • Anti-slip devices such as the addition of either granular or rubberized particles to allow better traction for wheels, shoes, or feet


Common problems with flooring
Old wood floors tend to squeak in certain places.  This is caused by the wood rubbing against each other, usually at a joint of the subfloor.  Firmly securing the pieces together with screws or nails will solve this problem.

Floor vibration is a particularly annoying problem with floors.  Wood floors tend to reflect sound, particularly heavy footsteps and low bass frequenciesFloating floors can reduce or eliminate this problem.  Concrete floors are usually so solid they do not have this problem, but are also much more expensive to construct, and much heavier, resulting in further structural requirements.

For more answers to your questions regarding flooring, contact Freedom Restoration at 410-451-7110 or click here.







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