Flooring is the general term for a permanent covering of a floor, or for the work of installing such a floor covering. Floor covering is a term to generically describe any finish material applied over a floor structure to provide a walking surface. Both terms are used interchangeably but floor covering refers more to loose-laid materials.
Materials almost always classified as floor covering include carpet, area rugs, and resilient flooring such as linoleum or vinyl flooring. Materials commonly called flooring include wood flooring, ceramic tile, stone, terrazzo, and various seamless chemical floor coatings
The floor under the flooring is called the subfloor. This provides the support for the flooring. Special purpose subfloors like floating floors, raised floors or sprung floors may be laid upon another underlying subfloor which provides the structural strength.
The choice of material for floor covering is affected by 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, see:
- Earthen floor adobe or clay floors
- Solid ground floor cement screed or granolithic
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 can 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 temporarily attached to the flooring below by adhesive tape or other methods to prevent creep, or may be loose-laid.
Many different species of wood are fabricated into wood flooring in two primary forms: plank and parquet. Hardwoods are typically much more durable than softwoods. Reclaimed lumber has a unique appearance and is green.
Laminate is a floor covering that appears similar to hardwood but is made with a plywood or medium density fiberboard ("MDF") core with 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 which can resemble different woods or even ceramic tile. It usually locks or taps together.
Bamboo flooring is a floor manufactured from the bamboo plant and is a type of hardwood flooring, though technically not a wood. Bamboo is known to be durable and environmental friendly. It is available in many different patterns, colors, and textures.
Cork Flooring is a flooring material manufactured from the by-product of the cork oak tree. Cork floors are considered to be eco-friendly since the cork oak 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 have glue or glues-less installation. Cork floors are very durable due to their honeycomb cellular structure, allowing compress up to 40% and then returning back to its normal shape.
Resilient flooring is made of material that has some elasticity. It includes many different manufactured products including linoleum, sheet vinyl, vinyl 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.
Ceramic tile includes a wide variety of clay products fired into thin units which are set in beds of mortar or mastic with the joints between tiles grouted. Varieties include quarry tile, porcelain 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.
A Mosaic consists of many small pieces of stone arranged to form a design or picture and are common in cultural and religious centers.
Seamless chemical flooring
Many different seamless flooring materials are available. These are usually latex, polyester, urethane or epoxy compounds which are applied in liquid form to provide a completely seamless floor covering. These are usually found in wet areas such as laboratories or food processing plants. These may have granular or rubberized particles added to give better traction.
Sustainable flooring is produced from sustainable materials (and by a sustainable process) that reduces demands on ecosystems during its life-cycle. It is thought that sustainable flooring creates safer and healthier buildings and guarantees a future for traditional producers of renewable resources that many communities depend on.
Special tools used for flooring include:
- Flooring clamp, a clamp for tongue-and-groove floors while nailing
- Knee kicker, used to stretch carpets flat
- Concrete moisture meter used to check a concrete floor before laying flooring on top
There are a number of special features that may be used to ornament a floor or perform a useful service:
- Floor medallions 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 to warn of for instance a wheelchair ramp, these would normally also be distinctively colored or patterned.
- Light strips to show an escape route out, especially on airplanes.
- Moldings or baseboards to decorate the sides of a floor or to cover the edge of a floating floor.
- Anti-Slip Devices The addition of either granular or rubberized particles that will allow wheels, shoes, or feet better traction.
Floor cleaning is a major occupation throughout the world. Cleaning is essential to prevent injuries due to slips and to remove dirt. Floors are also treated to protect or beautify the surface. The correct method to clean one type of floor can often damage another, so it is important to use the correct treatment..
Issues with floors
Wood floors, particularly older ones, will tend to 'squeak' in certain places. This is caused by the wood rubbing against other wood, usually at a joint of the subfloor. Firmly securing the pieces to each other with screws or nails will remove this problem.
Floor vibration is a particularly annoying problem with floors. Wood floors tend to pass sound, particularly heavy footsteps and low bass frequencies. Floating 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 requirements regarding the structure of the building.
The flooring may need protection sometimes e.g. a gym floor used for a graduation ceremony. A Gym floor cover can be used to reduce the need to satisfy incompatible requirements.
- Indoor garden
A curtain (sometimes known as a drape, mainly in the United States) is a piece of cloth intended to block or obscure light, or drafts, or water in the case of a shower curtain. Curtains hung over a doorway are known as portières. Curtains are often hung on the inside of a building's window to block the travel of light, for instance at night to aid sleeping, or to stop light from escaping outside the building (stopping people outside from being able to see inside, often for privacy reasons). In this application they are also known as "draperies." Curtains come in a variety of shapes, materials, sizes, colors and patterns, and they often have their own sections within department stores, while some shops are completely dedicated to selling curtains.
Curtains vary according to cleanability, ultraviolet light deterioration, oil and dust retention, noise absorption, fire resistance, and life span. Curtain may be moved by hand, with cords, by press-button pads or remote-controlled computers. Measuring the curtain size needed for each window varies greatly according to the type of curtain needed, window size, and type and weight of curtain.
An adaptation of the curtain may be a blind or, in warmer countries, wooden Window shutter that are fixed to the outside of the building to provide privacy and still keep the building cool inside. Curtains are a form of window treatment, and complete the overall appearance of the house. Window treatment helps control the ambiance and flow of natural light into the room. The effect of drapery or curtains, is best seen in daylight, and with proper indoor light positioning, it can look attractive even at night
Drapery is a general word referring to cloths or textiles (Old French drap, from Late Latin drappus). It may refer to cloth used for decorative purposes – such as around windows – or to the trade of retailing cloth, originally mostly for clothing, formerly conducted by drapers.
In art history, drapery refers to any cloth or textile depicted, which is usually mostly clothing. The schematic depiction of the folds and woven patterns of loose-hanging clothing on the human form, with ancient prototypes, was reimagined as an adjunct to the female form by Greek vase-painters and sculptors of the earliest fifth century and has remained a major source of stylistic formulas in sculpture and painting, even after the Renaissance adoption of tighter-fitting clothing styles. After the Renaissance, large cloths with no very obvious purpose are often used decoratively, especially in portraits in the grand manner; these are also known as draperies.
Sheer fabric is fabric which is made using thin thread and/or low density of knit and which results in a semi-transparent and flimsy cloth. Some fabrics become transparent when wet.
The sheerness of a fabric is expressed as a numerical denier which ranges from 3 (extremely rare, very thin, barely visible) to 15 (standard sheer for stockings) up to 30 (semi opaque) until 100 (opaque). The choice of a sheer fabric is dependent on the translucence desired. The materials which can be made translucent include gossamer, rayon or nylon. Sheer fabric comes in a wide variety of colors, but for curtains white and shades of white, such as cream, winter white, eggshell, and ivory are most popular. In some cases, sheer fabric may be embellished with embroidered patterns or designs.
The most common use for sheer fabric is in making of curtains, which allows for sunlight to pass through during daylight, while maintaining a level of privacy. Due to the loose weave in sheer fabrics curtains offer very little in the way of heat insulation. However, when it is lighter on the inside of a room than it is on the outside (such as at nighttime), then the inside of the room can be seen from the outside.
A window blind is a specific type of window covering which is made with slats of fabric, wood, plastic or metal that adjust by rotating from an open position to a closed position by allowing slats to overlap. Metal window blinds are often used outside of the house or business to protect against theft, temperature, vision, bad weather and fire (in fire-prone areas). Often these blinds are machine-operated, rather than hand operated.
The horizontal version uses a thin woven "ladder" system to suspend the slats and enable slats to be closed via a rotating drum to which each upper end of the woven ladder is wrapped and attached. A lift cord allows the blind to be pulled up and stack tightly to top of window when desired.