Monday, June 17, 2013


     Flooring Information

    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.

Flooring materials


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:

Soft coverings

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 will 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.

Wood flooring

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 used in green (environmentally responsible) building.
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 environmentally 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.

Resilient flooring

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.

Hard flooring

Ceramic tiles flooring in Istanbul street
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.
New technologies are emerging since 2004 to produce hard floorings having the ability to light up when needed. These security glazing materials contain transparent LED embedded films laminated between glass.

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

 Sustainable flooring is produced from sustainable materials (and by a sustainable process) that reduces demands on ecosystems during its life-cycle. Some think that sustainable flooring creates safer and healthier buildings and guarantees a future for traditional producers of renewable resources that many communities depend onBrowse our materials guide to find the right carpeting and flooring for your home. Living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and entryways all have unique flooring needs: wet spaces versus dry spaces, high-traffic versus low-traffic, subflooring differences, insulation needs. Our flooring guides and tips help to uncover those details that you might not have considered before. The differences between tile, carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, linoleum, engineered flooring, and eco-friendly alternatives are vast, and our handy flooring guides help to ease some of the pressure of selecting a flooring material for your space that reflects your personal style and project budget. Cleaning, care, and upkeep also come into consideration when selecting the perfect flooring for you; learn about the pros and cons for each flooring type here. Discover the differences between ceramic, porcelain, and hard-bodied tile before you complete a do-it-yourself tile installation. Carpet tiles and area rugs are also good options for fickle tastes or for cushioning high-traffic areas; cleanable and replaceable, both options are easily switched out depending on taste, trends, and wear. 


Kitchen Flooring


 Flooring is an especially noticeable characteristic in the often-used space of a kitchen. Find the material that is right for your kitchen's style and for your budget by reading our buying guides and taking our flooring finder quiz. If you are a serious cook and spend a lot of time on your feet in the kitchen, one key consideration is to find materials for kitchen flooring with a cushioning effect such as wood, laminate, cork, and vinyl. Brick, ceramic tile, and stone are durable but hard to stand on for extended periods of time without a cushioned mat on top. Another tip about making the right kitchen flooring selection is to look for materials low in maintenance and high in durability. Think about the time you have for cleaning and maintaining your kitchen flooring. Know that high-maintenance flooring might look great, but it also requires pampering to stay that way. Finally, select kitchen flooring complementary to the cabinets, wall coverings, furniture, and other design elements in the room. Wood blends into any decorating scheme, and there are a variety of eco-friendly options such as bamboo and engineered wood that up your style quotient. Laminates and vinyl are ideal choices if you're after a patterned or colorful contemporary look. And stone and concrete add fun to a neutral or tone-on-tone color scheme

Flooring Tiles

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops. Alternatively, tile can sometimes refer to similar units made from lightweight materials such as perlite, wood, and mineral wool, typically used for wall and ceiling applications. In another sense, a tile is a construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of fired clay. 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 porcelain, fired clay or ceramic with a hard glaze, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, metal, cork, and stone. Tiling stone is typically marble, onyx, granite or slate. Thinner tiles can be used on walls than on floors, which require thicker, more durable surfaces.

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.
Natural stone tiles can be beautiful but as a natural product they are less uniform in color and pattern, and require more planning for use and installation. Mass-produced stone tiles are uniform in width and length. Granite or marble tiles are sawn on both sides and then polished or finished on the facing up side, so that they have a uniform thickness. Other natural stone tiles such as slate are typically "riven" (split) on the facing up side so that the thickness of the tile varies slightly from one spot on the tile to another and from one tile to another. Variations in tile thickness can be handled by adjusting the amount of mortar under each part of the tile, by using wide grout lines that "ramp" between different thicknesses, or by using a cold chisel to knock off high spots.
Some stone tiles such as polished granite, marble, and travertine are very slippery when wet. Stone tiles with a riven (split) surface such as slate or with a sawn and then sandblasted or honed surface will be more slip resistant. Ceramic tiles for use in wet areas can be made more slip resistant either by using very small tiles so that the grout lines acts as grooves or by imprinting a contour pattern onto the face of the tile.
The hardness of natural stone tiles varies such that some of the softer stone (e.g. limestone) tiles are not suitable for very heavy traffic floor areas. On the other hand, ceramic tiles typically have a glazed upper surface and when that becomes scratched or pitted the floor looks worn, whereas the same amount of wear on natural stone tiles will not show, or will be less noticeable.
Natural stone tiles can be stained by spilled liquids; they must be sealed and periodically resealed with a sealant in contrast to ceramic tiles which only need their grout lines sealed. However, because of the complex, non repeating patterns in natural stone, small amounts of dirt on many natural stone floor tiles do not show.
Most vendors of stone tiles emphasize that there will be variation in color and pattern from one batch of tiles to another of the same description and variation within the same batch. Stone floor tiles tend to be heavier than ceramic tiles and somewhat more prone to breakage during shipment.
Rubber floor tiles have a variety of uses, both in residential and commercial settings. They are especially useful in situations where it is desired to have high-traction floors or protection for an easily breakable floor. Some common uses include flooring of garage, workshops, patios, swimming pool decks, sport courts, gyms, and dance floors.
Plastic floor tiles including interlocking floor tiles that can be installed without adhesive or glue are a recent innovation and are suitable for areas subject to heavy traffic, wet areas and floors that are subject to movement, damp or contamination from oil, grease or other substances that may prevent adhesion to the substrate. Common uses include old factory floors, garages, gyms and sports complexes, schools and shops.


Roof Tiles 

Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay or slate. Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used and some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. A large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:

  • Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. An example of this is the clay-made "beaver-tail" tile (German Biberschwanz), common in Southern Germany. Flat roof tiles are usually made of clay but also may be made of stone, wood, plastic, concrete, or solar cells.
  • Imbrex and tegula, an ancient Roman pattern of curved and flat tiles that make rain channels on a roof.
  • Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. An example of this is the "double Roman" tile, dating from the late 19th century in England and USA.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. Originally they were made by forming clay around a curved surface, often a log or the maker's thigh. Today barrel tiles are mass-produced from clay, metal, concrete or plastic.
  • Interlocking roof tiles are similar to pantile with side and top locking to improve protection from water and wind.
  • Antefixes: vertical blocks which terminate the covering tiles of a tiled roof.
Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.These can either be bedded and pointed in cement mortar or mechanically fixed.
Similarly to roof tiling, tiling has been used to provide a protective weather envelope to the sides of timber frame buildings. These are hung on laths nailed to wall timbers, with tiles specially moulded to cover corners and jambs. Often these tiles are shaped at the exposed end to give a decorative effect. Another form of this is the so-called mathematical tile, which was hung on laths, nailed and then grouted. This form of tiling gives an imitation of brickwork and was developed to give the appearance of brick, but avoided the Brick Taxes of the 18th century.




 Plywood is a manufactured wood panel made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, and re-usable, and usually can be manufactured locally. Plywood is used instead of plain wood because of plywood's resistance to cracking, shrinkage, splitting, and twisting/warping, and because of its generally high strength.
Plywood layers (called veneers) are glued together, with adjacent plies having their wood grain at right angles to each other, to form a composite material. This alternation of the grain is called cross-graining and has several important benefits: it reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed at the edges; it reduces expansion and shrinkage, providing improved dimensional stability; and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across both directions. There is usually an odd number of plies, so that the sheet is balanced—this reduces warping. Because plywood is bonded with grains running against one another and with an odd number of composite parts, it is very hard to bend it perpendicular to the grain direction.

Plywood was invented about 3400 B.C. by the Ancient Mesopotamians, who attached several thinner layers of wood together to make one thick layer. They originally did this during a shortage of quality wood, gluing very thin layers of quality wood over lesser-quality wood.
Different varieties of plywood exist for different applications:
Softwood plywood
Softwood panel is usually made either of cedar, Douglas fir or spruce, pine, and fir (collectively known as spruce-pine-fir or SPF) or redwood and is typically used for construction and industrial purposes

Hardwood plywood

Used for demanding end uses. Birch plywood is characterized by its excellent strength, stiffness and resistance to creep. It has a high planar shear strength and impact resistance, which make it especially suitable for heavy-duty floor and wall structures. Oriented plywood construction has a high wheel-carrying capacity. Birch plywood has excellent surface hardness, and damage- and wear-resistance

Tropical plywood

Tropical plywood is made of mixed species of tropical wood. Originally from the Asian region, it is now also manufactured in African and South American countries. Tropical plywood is superior to softwood plywood due to its density, strength, evenness of layers, and high quality.

Special-purpose plywood

Certain plywoods do not have alternating plies. These are designed for specific purposes

Aircraft plywood

High-strength plywood also known as aircraft plywood, is made from mahogany and/or birch, and uses adhesives with increased resistance to heat and humidity. It was used for several World War II fighter aircraft. Although the British-built Mosquito bomber, nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder", was constructed of a plywood monocoque, this was formed in moulds from individual veneers of birch, balsa and birch  rather than machined from pre-laminated plywood sheets.

Decorative plywood (overlaid plywood)


Usually faced with hardwood, including ash, oak, red oak, birch, maple, mahogany, Philippine mahogany (often called lauan, luan or meranti and having no relation to true mahogany), rose wood, teak and a large number of other hardwoods. However, Formica, metal and resin-impregnated paper or fabric bonded are also added on top of plywood at both side as a kind of ready for use in the decoration field. This plywood is a lot easier to dye and draw on than any other plywoods.

Flexible plywood

Flexible plywood is very flexible and is designed for making curved parts. In the UK this is sometimes known as "Hatters Ply" as it was used to make stovepipe hats in Victorian times .It is also often referred to as "Bendy Ply" due to its flexibility. However these may not be termed plywood in some countries because the basic description of plywood is layers of veneered wood laid on top of each other with the grain of each layer perpendicular to the grain of the next. In the U.S., the terms "Bender Board" and "Wiggle Board" are commonly used.

Marine plywood

Marine plywood is manufactured from durable face and core veneers, with few defects so it performs longer in humid and wet conditions and resists delaminating and fungal attack. Its construction is such that it can be used in environments where it is exposed to moisture for long periods. More recently, tropical producers have become dominant in the marine plywood market. Okoumé from Gabon is now the accepted standard for marine plywood, even though the wood is not very resistant to rot and decay. Each wood veneer will be from tropical hardwoods, have negligible core gap, limiting the chance of trapping water in the plywood and hence providing a solid and stable glue bond. It uses an exterior Water and Boil Proof (WBP) glue similar to most exterior plywoods.

Other plywoods

Other types of plywoods include fire-retardant, moisture-resistant, sign-grade and pressure-treated. However, the plywood may be treated with various chemicals to improve the plywood's fireproofing. Each of these products is designed to fill a need in industry.



Plywood is used in many applications that need high-quality, high-strength sheet material. Quality in this context means resistance to cracking, breaking, shrinkage, twisting and warping.
Exterior glued plywood is suitable for outdoor use, but because moisture affects the strength of wood, optimal performance is achieved in end uses where the wood's moisture content remains relatively low. On the other hand, subzero conditions don't affect plywood's dimensional or strength properties, which makes some special applications possible.
Typical end uses of spruce plywood are:
  • Floors, walls and roofs in house constructions
  • Wind bracing panels
  • Vehicle internal body work
  • Packages and boxes
  • Fencing

  •    There are many different types of wood-based man-made materials on the market. Each has its own purpose, drawbacks, and benefits. When most people hear the term plywood, they think of CDX (or whatever...) which is used to build houses. Yet in the wholesale wood products industry, plywood is a generic term for any sheet product regardless of construction (for example; MDF, VC, CDX.) The two terms are interchangeable, more-or-less.
    Medium Density Fiber Core Hardwood Plywood (MDF)

    MDF is made from fine wood dust mixed with a binder and heat-pressed into panels. The sheets can be sold as-is, or a veneer skin, like oak or maple, can be laid up on the sheet. (The veneered sheet is the most common form, but blank MDF sheets are available as Paint-Grade)
    This material is extremely stable to work with, and is typically very consistent from batch to batch. A 3/4" thick sheet purchased over a year ago is exactly the same thickness as a new sheet purchased today. The surface below the veneer is typically free of voids and blisters, resulting in a better veneer consistency and bond. With this better bonding of the wood veneer, there is less chipping during a crosscut operation. I have also observed that this material is easy to machine either by saw or router, and the cut edges are excellent for glue adhesion. (I have heard it mentioned that MDF is hard on cutters, but personally, I disagree with this statement. I feel that MDF is rather easy on the cutters.)
    The primary drawback to this product is weight. A 3/4" x 4' x 8' sheet can weigh as much as 70 to 90 pounds per sheet. The density of the core is expressed as the weight of a one cubic foot (1'x1'x1') block of the material. Therefore, an MDF sheet using a 48# (pound) core, will weigh 96 pounds. (48"x96"x3/4"= 2 cubic feet)
    Medium- and High-Density Overlay Plywood (MDO and HDO)

    MDO and HDO consist of a core material, like laminated fir veneer, overlaid with a pressed fiber material. In short, this is a typical veneer core plywood (common plywood) with an MDF surface. This gives the best of both worlds; the weight is lower than a full MDF, but the surface is more stable than a veneer core plywood.
    Veneer Core Hardwood Plywood (VC)

    Veneer Core plywood is made from alternating layers of fir slices (common plywood) with a surface veneer of a finished woodgrain such as oak or maple. This construction gives VC plywood a distinct advantage over others in strength. This is a light weight material, and easy to handle.
    The drawbacks of VC plywood are:
    • Voids in the core and face are common.
    • VC is not always consistent in thickness from sheet to sheet, or within the same sheet.
    • The pre-veneered surface is coarser, and does not accept veneer as well. This results in excessive chipping and tearout during machining.
    • No matter how you cut it, you will be ripping some layers, and crosscutting others. This makes cutting this material with a fine laminate blade more difficult, with a greater tendency to burn.
    • The saw-cut edges are not as clean and smooth as the other products, so this material does not take edge gluing as well.
    • The inconsistency in the pre-veneered surface can result in thin spots in the veneer.
    Lumber Core Plywood

    Lumber Core Plywood is manufactured from strips of solid lumber, typically basswood. The core is then surfaced and a veneer layer is applied. This is one of the most expensive plywood types to make, and is commonly used for applications where the edges cannot be concealed or need to be routed.
    As the popularity of this product diminishes, it is becoming more and more difficult to locate suppliers who are willing to carry high grade sheets. The quality of the core lumber is dropping in all but the best of grades. Most grades machine poorly. If the core is not glued up with consistent stock, voids can be present which will run the full length, or at least a portion of the full length, of the entire sheet.
    Because of this, care must be taken in selecting sheets if they are to be used for matched and sequenced door material, as a flaw in the core can wipe out an entire set of doors if they need to maintain grain matching from one to another.
    Particle Board Core Plywood (PBC)
    PBC uses a coarser wood dust than MDF. Because of this, it has a slightly lower weight, but the edges and surfaces are not as smooth and consistent. Most melamine products use PBC as the substrate.


    Melamine plywood is a thermally fused, resin saturated paper finish over a particle board core. It is highly stain and abrasion resistant. As a cabinet maker, I use a lot of this material. Even though glue manufactures claim to have developed an adhesive which bonds to the surface, I (personally) am not willing to take the chance; after all, this is a "paper" surface. (My personal recommendation to any one using this product is to dado the joints for better bonding.)
    Contrary to popular belief among many woodworkers, melamine is not the name of the paper finish; it's the name of the resin used to impregnate the paper liner (chemically C3H6N6). Even among manufacturers of this type of sheet product, however, it is still called melamine.
    This material comes in a variety of colors, is highly stain and mar resistant, and is commonly used in the cabinet industry for carcass construction.
    Depending on the grade of melamine, it can be brittle or soft, coarse or smooth. Typically, the higher grades of melamine are more brittle and will chip during machining but have a thicker surface and greater resistance to abrasion.
    I have found that the best blade for cutting melamine is a triple-chip laminate blade set with a blade height of about 1" above the top of the wood. With a higher blade height, there will be excessive chipping on the back of the sheet, and with a lower blade height, there will be some chipping on the top of the sheet. The reason for the top-side chipping with a low blade height is due to the teeth striking the surface veneer nearly perpendicular, and throwing chips forward.
    High Density Maple/Birch (Baltic Birch or Appleply)

    High density plywoods (HDP) typically come in either maple or birch specie. Unlike common plywood, HDP has many more plies, is generally void free, and uses a stronger species than fir. HDP is commonly used for drawer side material as it is strong, stable, and has a moderately attractive edge
    Baltic Birch

    Baltic birch is probably the most common type of HDP, and uses birch as the substrate. This will come in 5' x 5' sheets. For a 1/2" sheet, there are typically 7 to 9 plies. Being birch, the surface does not finish as nicely as the maple counterpart, and there is a tendency for splintering at the edge of a machined cut.

    Appleply is a manufacturer's name for high density maple plywood. From a fabrication stand point, it is similar to Baltic Birch, in that it carries about the same number of plies, except Appleply comes in standard 4'x8' sheets. Because the surface is maple, there will be slightly more grain pattern on the surface, and the surface will sand much smoother. There is less splintering of the machined edges, and those splinters which do appear will be shorter and less inclined to align with the edge.