A floor is the underside of a building or vehicle. Most floors range from basic dirt on a sidewalk to many-layered exotic materials used in modern design. Floors can be metal, concrete, wood, stone or any other sturdy material that will support the expected weight load placed on it.
In the United States, most homes have a single layer of concrete on the lower level. In recent years, however, several innovative products have been introduced that change the conception of the traditional solid ground floor construction. In the past, floors were considered to be “stamped” or permanently installed in the ground floor of any home. This meant that concrete was poured in exact straight lines in order to create an even and uniform surface. This flat plane was also important in that it reduced the amount of concrete needed to establish the foundation for the home’s structure. Nowadays, however, you can choose from a wide range of floor types that include the use of slabs, veneers, and tiles.
A slab, which is also sometimes referred to as a raised floor, is a flat floor surface that is constructed of precast or poured concrete. This floor type is constructed by stacking one piece of floor material above the next in a standard vertical configuration. Slabs are designed to withstand the weight of heavy loads because they are poured in multiple, even layers. Some of the more popular types of slab used in today’s homes are:
The subfloor, which is the foundation upon which the rest of the flooring is laid, is an integral part of the installation process. It is typically made of solid material such as poured concrete. Subfloors are usually installed in basements and attics. They are engineered to resist any pressures and to hold up well to wear and tear. Popular subflooring materials include: gypsum, marble, laminates, hardwood, ceramic tile, and engineered stone.
Floating floors are not actually a floor slab; rather, they are a type of engineered flooring. Floating floors are made of a liquid composition that is suspended from a mechanical support system such as a network of wires. This liquid is then pumped into various areas within a building. While the liquid may provide some level of friction, the solid material of the flooring (a slab) keeps the liquid from moving around too much and eventually sinking or shifting out of place. Some examples of floating floors include: fiberglass, polyethylene, acrylic, laminate, terrazzo, and cured foam.
Underfloor heating systems utilize natural convection to heat a floor. These systems are often installed on wood floors. An underfloor heating system works by circulating warm air through the space between the slab floors. This air warms up as it moves upward and then circulates back down again. As the warm air reaches the bottom of the room, it warms up even more and rises again. With an underfloor heating system, your heating system does not need to push hot air through long, drawn-out ducts, eliminating the need for additional energy sources.