Flooring is the big general term for any temporary covering of a floor, usually for the purpose of laying down such a floor covering, as tiles, carpet, hardwood, etc. Flooring has come a long way since its first use in ancient Egypt. Flooring can be of many different types. Hardwood flooring is popular in many homes today, as it is easy to keep clean, durable and relatively inexpensive. In recent years, laminate flooring has become very popular as it is also relatively inexpensive, durable, easy to clean and very attractive.
Flooring can be installed over an existing floor using joists, which are long, strong boards set horizontally along a wall or floor. The term ‘joist’ has been used in the flooring industry for years, even though the name ‘joist’ dates back to the 14th century. The traditional form of flooring called Roman (or gypsum) tile has a deep layer of gypsum stuck to its underside, which is what causes the distinctive ring of material around the edge of each tile. Modern day ‘cardboard’ is made from particle board and has little in the way of gypsum, which helps to make it easier to remove when cleaning.
Another option for a floor covering is to use an underlayment. An underlayment is an especially dense layer of padding, sometimes combined with another type of finish floor covering, like a rubber sealant, which is placed under and around the flooring. This layer acts as a cushion and absorbs sound, so that you can hear the sound of your feet on the floor, even when the rest of the house is empty. Underlayments vary in their quality, depending on the particular product you buy, but you should always opt for one that is as high quality as possible, as you will be paying for it for a long time to come.
Some people, though, prefer to use real tiles on their floors. If you want real time, then you may have to fit real tiles into an empty space and install them yourself. However, if you do not have any expertise at this sort of thing, or if your subfloor is in relatively good condition, then fitting the right tiles can be done quite easily by a qualified tradesman, who will be able to advise you on the best type of underlayment to use and whether to fit real tiles or laminate flooring.
Once you have chosen your underlayment, you need to add three more layers. The first layer is damp proofing. The purpose of this is to stop the subfloor from soaking up all the water that leaks in, along with any stains that may occur due to spills. The second layer is called a pre-finished subfloor. This is just a layer of the damp proofing membrane, stitched into the subfloor. And the third and final layer is the real underlayment layer, which will cover the floor completely and keep it in place.
You can buy your subfloor in two ways. You can either go to a flooring shop in your local area and buy one of the pre-fabricated ones, which are relatively inexpensive, or you can make your own. When it comes to the number of layers, it is actually easier to make your own subfloor than it is to buy one. The reason is that when you make your own subfloor, you can choose the right thickness of subfloor joists and therefore increase the effectiveness of your flooring.