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Understanding floors


ANATOMY OF A FLOOR

When most of us think of a floor we envision the top layer: in effect, the decorative covering -- hardwood, ceramic tile, laminate, or carpet. The “real” floor is hidden underneath.

Your floor is made of a sturdy plywood or composite panel subfloor that spans supportive floor joists. The subfloor may be large sheets or planks (and the planks may be arranged in a staggered or diagonal fashion). The joists sit on sills along the foundation and are often sup ported at a midpoint by a steel girder or wood beam.

An elevated framed floor, like the one shown above, is supported by beams that run perpendicular to the joists. In most cases, the joists are tied together with bridging for extra stability (see photo next page, lower right).

Depending on the type of flooring used, the subfloor may be covered with an additional layer of underlayment, such as a cement board The top layer of flooring is installed on the underlayment or subfloor and may rest on some type of cushioning layer. Of course, there are always custom options, such as soundproofing or heating, that may be layered into your floor plan. It’s important to know what is under your floor covering and how your floor is sup ported before starting any repairs on that floor.

 

 

Soundproofed floors have an extra layer to dampen noise. When patching a damaged area of your floor, replace the floor covering on top of the sound barrier material. The sound barrier is not altered.

 

 

Radiant floor heating systems use hot water coils or electricity. Even concrete floors without floor covering may be heated.

 

 

Basement floors are uniquely layered to compensate for the hard concrete base. When patching your damaged floor, only remove the floor covering on top of the plywood subfloor.

 

 

The bridging between joists for extra stability could be wood or metal.

 

 

 

 

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