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.
-noun; a rug designed to cover only part of a floor
Carpet is a floor covering woven or felted from natural or man-made fibers. The term "carpet" derives from Old Italian carpita, "carpire" meaning to pluck. A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing.
The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene, and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their structure.
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. The word ceramic comes from the Greek word "κεραμικός" (keramikos), "of pottery" or "for pottery", from "κέραμος" (keramos), "potter's clay, tile, pottery" which is said to derive from the Indo-European word cheros (unattested), meaning heat. The earliest ceramics were pottery objects made from clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials, hardened in fire. Later ceramics were glazed and fired to create a colored, smooth surface. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish.
Faux (pronounced /ˈfoʊ/, like "foe") is a French word for false or fake. When manufacturing faux objects or materials, an attempt is often made to create products which will resemble the imitated items as closely as possible. Faux materials are produced in a variety of ways, for example faux finishes, such as Terrazzo and scagliola, generally made with marble dust in a plaster binder, yielding a hard material that will take a polish. To imitate marbles, porphyry, and other stones, "faux finishes" are often painted using spatterdash, sponging, and feather-streaking techniques on gessoed and painted surfaces.
The word granite comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a crystalline rock. Granites, therefore, usually have a medium to coarse grained texture.
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.
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.
Linoleum (informally abbreviated to lino) is a floor covering made from renewable materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials.
The finest linoleum floors, known as 'inlaid', are extremely durable; they were made by joining and inlaying solid pieces of linoleum. Cheaper patterned linoleums came in different grades or gauges, and were printed with thinner layers which were more prone to wear and tear. Good quality linoleum is sufficiently flexible to be used in buildings in which more rigid material (such as ceramic tile) would crack.
Marble is a metamorphic rock.
A Mosaic consists of many small pieces of stone arranged to form a design or picture and are common in cultural and religious centers.
Timber contrasting in color and grain, such as oak, walnut, cherry, lime, pine, maple etc. are employed. Parquet patterns are entirely geometrical and angular— squares, triangles, etc. One of the most famous parquet floors is the one used by the Boston Celtics of the NBA.
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.
Natural rubber is an elastomer (an elastic hydrocarbon polymer) that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid found in the sap of some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the latex sap collected and refined into a usable rubber. Rubber surfaces are used for dance or athletics and made for resilient flooring.
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.
Terrazzo is a faux-marble flooring. Terrazzo consists of marble or other stone aggregate set in mortar and ground and polished to a smooth surface. Terrazzo workers create walkways, floors, patios, and panels by exposing marble chips and other fine aggregates on the surface of finished concrete or epoxy-resin. Much of the preliminary work of terrazzo workers is similar to that of cement masons.
These are commonly made of ceramic or stone, although recent technological advances have resulted in rubber or glass tiles for floors as well. Ceramic tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and often a latex additive for extra adhesion. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used.
Vinyl tile is favored over other kinds of flooring materials in high-traffic areas because of its low cost, durability, and ease of maintenance. Vinyl tiles have high resilience to abrasion and impact damage and can be repeatedly refinished with chemical strippers and mechanical buffing equipment. If properly installed, tiles can be easily removed and replaced when damaged. Tiles are available in a variety of colors from several major flooring manufacturers. Some manufacturers have created vinyl tiles that very closely resemble wood, stone, terrazzo, and concrete. Tiles can easily be cut and assembled into colorful and decorative patterns.
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.