When you glance down at the floor, it’s easy to forget that there are multiple layers. After all, all you really see is the carpet or wood or tile that adds to your décor.
But almost every floor has multiple layers to give it stability, support, a comfortable and potentially noise free environment.
A stained concrete floor will have just one layer. But if you’re installing hardwoods throughout your home, or laying tile in your bathroom, it might include up to fouror five layers.
A typical floor is made up of the following layers.
The finished floor is the flooring you choose to compliment your décor. It might be laminate, tile, natural stone, engineered wood, carpeting or hardwoods.
Underlayment can be made up of many materials, and take on different characteristics depending on the finished floor you choose. If you’re installing carpeting, padding is important to protect your carpeting. Dry materials, such as hardwood, will require an underlayment of plywood to give it more stability. For wet floors, such as mortared applications for tile and stone, cement board will offer the best results.
A subfloor is typically made of plywood ranging from 1/3” to 1 1/8” thick. This provides structure to your floor. It will help hold together all other layers of your foor. It also provides strength and stability for everything in the house, such as furniture, peopleand pets.
Joists are made of engineered wood or dimensional lumber. Working together with the subfloor, it provides structure and helps support heavy items.
Depending on needs and the floor in question, you may find one, two or all four layers to your floors. And in some cases, if your home is poorly remodeled or has been around for decades, you may find layer upon layer. Laminates are often laid one on top of another, possibly with tiles or hardwoods laid over that.
To ensure proper alignment for your flooring, and to give proper stability to whatever floor you’ve decided to install, make sure it is properly supported and has the proper layers in place to give you the longest life possible.