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Floor coverings are provided to improve the appearance, cleanliness, noiselessness and damp proofing. Various types of materials are used and different treatments are done. The following types of floor coverings are generally employed.


·       Mud flooring

·       Brick floor covering

·       Stone floor covering

·       Concrete floor covering

·       Tiled floor covering

·       Wooden floor covering

·       Mosaic floor covering

·       Rubber floor covering

·       Linoleum floor covering

·       Glass floor covering

·       Magnesite floor covering

·       Plastic floor covering

·       Terrazzo floor covering

·       Marble and granite flooring

Mud flooring

This is mainly used in unimportant buildings, particularly in the villages. They are cheap, hard, fairly impervious and easy in construction and maintenance. Thermal insulation properties are also very high. To prepare this a 25-cm thick layer of selected moist earth is spread over a prepared bed and rammed well to get a consolidated layer of 15 cm thickness.


Brick floor covering

It is employed for cheap constructions such as godowns, sheds, stores and barracks and where good bricks are available. Over well-compacted and levelled ground a layer of lean cement concrete mix (1:6:18) of 10 cm thickness is laid. Over this bedding, bricks are placed in proper bonds on their edges. They are joined with cement or lime mortar. Sometimes, the joints are pointed to obtain a better appearance. The only drawback of brick floor covering is that it absorbs water.


It offers a durable and sufficiently hard floor surface.

It provides a non-slippery and fire-resistant surface.

It is cheaper in initial cost as compared to cement concrete, mosaic and terrazzo flooring.

It is easy to maintain.


This type of flooring acts as an absorbent

Stone floor covering

Square or rectangular slabs of stones are used as the floor covering.


20–40 mm thick stone

slabs of size 30 cm × 30 cm, 45 cm × 45 cm, 60 cm × 60 cm, 45 cm × 60 cm, etc. are used.

The stone should be hard, durable, tough and of good quality. The earthen base is levelled, compacted and watered. On this surface, a layer of 10–15 cm thick concrete is laid and properly rammed. Over this concrete bed, the stone slabs are fixed with a thin layer of mortar. Before fixing the stone slabs in position, they are dressed on all the edges and the joints are finished with cement. The stone surface may be rough or polished. A rough surface is provided in rough works like godowns, sheds, stores, etc. and a polished surface is provided in the superior type of works. A slope of 1:40 should be provided in such type of floor covering for proper drainage.


Concrete floor covering

The concrete flooring consists of two layers:

 a. A base course or the subgrade and

 b. A wearing course

The concrete flooring consists of a topping of cement concrete 2.5–4 cm thick laid on a 10–15 cm thick base of either lime or cement concrete. The actual construction operation consists of:

 a. Ground preparation

 b. Formation of base course

 c. Laying of topping concrete

 d. Laying of wearing a coat

 e. Grinding and polishing and

 f. Curing


·       It is non-absorbent and, hence, offers sufficient resistance to dampness. This is used for water-retaining floors as well as stores.

·       It possesses high durability and, hence, is employed for floors in kitchens, bathrooms, schools, hospitals, etc.

·       It provides a smooth, hard, even and pleasing surface.

·       It can be easily cleaned and overall has proved economical due to less maintenance cost.

·       Concrete being a non-combustible material offers a fire-resistant floor required for fi re-hazardous buildings.


·       Defects once developed in concrete floors, whether due to poor workmanship or materials, cannot be easily rectified.

·       The concrete flooring cannot be satisfactorily repaired by patchwork.

·       It does not possess very satisfactory insulation properties against sound and heat.


Tiled floor covering

Clay tiles of different sizes, shapes, thickness and colours are prepared and they are used as floor coverings.

They are placed in position on a concrete base with a thin layer of mortar. When these tiles are to be fixed on

timber floors, special beds of emulsified asphalt and Portland cement are used.


·       It provides a non-absorbent, decorative and durable floor surface.

·       It permits quick installation or laying of floors.

·       It is easily repaired in patches.


·       It is generally costly in initial cost as well as in maintenance cost.

·       On becoming wet, it provides a slippery surface.


Vitrified tiles

Vitrified tiles have zero water absorption property. They resemble granite but off era great variety in terms of finish, colour and design options. Polished vitrified tiles such as mirror stone, granamite and marbogranite are cheaper than marble and granite.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are non-slippery and are used in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens. They are available in a variety of interesting shapes, a wide range of colours and textures. They are used in living rooms also. Ceramic tiles are usually embedded in mortar. Special tile adhesives and tile grouts are also available which allow easy laying and render the tiled area useable within 24 hours.

Laying of tiles

Use a waterproof, floor tile adhesive which allows slight flexibility when set. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction and use a notched or plain trowel, as directed, to spread the adhesive on the floor over a manageable area for laying approximately 10 tiles.

Use a layer of adhesive on the back of the tile and press into the desired position. It is very important to lay the first tile correctly, as its position will determine the position of all the other tiles in the room.

Use a batten nailed to the floor to give a straight edge to guide the positioning of the tiles. Remember to use plastic spacers or a thick card to regulate the distance between the tiles. These areas will be grouted when the floor is complete and must be equally spaced for neat, accurate results.

Use a spirit level to check the horizontal level and a straight edge to continually check the position of the tiles on the floor. Continue across the room and work towards the door. Leave the room for 24 hours. Then remove the battens and cut the border tiles and fix in a similar way. Remove the plastic spacers or thick card and grout the tiles.

Grout is available in a variety of colours, but the standard colours are white, grey or brown. However, most floor tiles are grouted with a mortar mix.

Use a plastic scraper or a rubber blade to push the grout between the gaps in the tiles. Make sure all the spaces are evenly filled and then wipe the grout off the tile surface before it dries.

Use a blunt edge of a stick or tool carefully to smooth the surface of the grout in the gaps, but do not ‘dig down’ into the grout. Remove any excess grout before it dries. Allow the floor to dry completely before polishing the surface of the tiles with a dry cloth.


Wooden floor covering

This type of floor covering is the oldest type, but nowadays it is used for some special-purpose floors such as theatres and hospitals. It possesses natural beauty and has enough resistance to wearing.

Wooden floor covering may be carried out in one of the following three types:

 a. Strip floor covering: This made up of narrow and thin strips of timber which are joined to each other by tongue and groove joints.

 b. Planked floor covering: In this type of construction, wider planks are employed and these are joined by tongue and groove joints.

 c. Woodblock floor covering: It consists of wooden blocks which are laid in suitable designs over a concrete base.

The thickness of a block is 20–40 mm and its size varies from 20 × 8 to 30 × 8 cm. The blocks are properly joined together with the ends of the grains exposed.


Mosaic floor covering

This type of floor covering is commonly used in operation theatres, temples, bathrooms, etc. A concrete base is constructed for laying the floor covering. Over this base lime or cement mortar is placed to a depth of about 2 cm and it is levelled up. A layer of cementing material about 3 mm in thickness is spread.

The cementing material consists of two parts of slaked lime, one part of powdered marble and one part of pozzolana. After 4 hours of laying this cementing material, a mixture of coloured cement and chips are laid. This surface is left for 24 hours and then it is rubbed with a pumice stone to get a smooth and polished surface. The polished surface is left for about 2 weeks before use.

Rubber floor covering

It consists of pure rubber mixed with cotton fibre, granulated cork or asbestos fibre and the desired colouring pigments. A small amount of sulphur is also added. Its thickness varies from 3 to 10 mm and it is available in many designs and patterns. It is available in the form of tiles or sheets and can be directly laid over the floor by the vulcanizing process. It is mostly used in hospitals, radio stations, etc. The flooring is elastic, attractive, comparatively warm and soft.


Linoleum floor covering

It is the fabricated form of a mixture of resins, linseed oil, gums, pigments, wood flour, cork dust and other filler materials. It is available in the market in rolls of width about 2–4 m. The thickness varies from 2 to 6 mm. These tiles are also manufactured in various sizes, shapes and patterns. This floor covering is laid over an effective damp-proof course. It is cheap, durable, attractive, comfortable and moderately warm. It can be cleaned easily.



·       It provides an attractive, resilient durable and cheap surface.

·       offers a surface that can be easily washed and cleaned.

·       Being moderately warm with cushioning effect, it provides comfortable living and working conditions.

·       It offers adequate insulation against noise and heat.



·       It is subjected to rotting when kept wet for sufficient time and its use is not recommended for basements.

·       It does not offer resistance against fire, being combustible in nature.

·       This covering when applied over a wooden base may get torn under excessive sub-floor movements.


Glass floor covering

It is used when it is desired to admit light to the floor below. Structural glass is available in the form of slabs or tiles. They are fitted within frames of different types. The members of the frame are closely spaced such that the glass floor covering can take up the superimposed loads without breaking. This type of floor covering is not commonly used.


Magnesite floor covering

It is known as composite flooring or jointless flooring. It is composed of a dry mixture of magnesium oxide, a pigment and inert filler materials, e.g., wood flour, asbestos or sawdust. Liquid magnesium chloride is mixed into this powder and plastic material is obtained in situ.

This plastic material is laid over the floor and the surface is levelled with a trowel. It can be directly laid over a stone, concrete or wooden floor base. It is cheap and is used as a floor covering for office buildings, schools, factories, etc.


Plastic floor covering

Thermoplastic tiles can be economically used as floor covering on the concrete floor base. It is generally not laid on a wooden floor base as the preparation of the wooden surface for receiving the tiles is very costly. Plastic floor covering has been used with success in all types of buildings like offices, hospitals, shops, schools and residential buildings.


Terrazzo floor covering

Terrazzo is a mixture of cement and marble chips and the surface is polished with a carborundum stone to obtain a smooth finish at the top.

The base for this type of floor covering is concrete and is laid in an ordinary way. On the 3 cm concrete (1:3) base, a thin layer of sand is sprinkled evenly and it is covered by tarred paper.

A layer of rich mortar is spread over it and then terrazzo mixture is placed over it evenly.

Marble chips of 3–6 mm are mixed with white or coloured cement in the proportion 1:2 or 1:3 to get the terrazzo mixture.

Dividing strips of metal, 20 gauges thick, are inserted into the mortar base to form the desired pattern and in these small bays the terrazzo mixture is laid alternatively.

The terrazzo is levelled in position by a trowel. If required some additional chips are also added at the surfaces so that about 70 per cent of the surface area is covered by the marble chips.

When the terrazzo has hardened, the surface is rubbed by coarse and fine carborundum stones, respectively, to get a smooth finished surface. It is kept wet with water while rubbing.

The surface is cleaned with water and soap solution and then axe polish is applied to the surface.

This type of floor covering is very costly and is used to obtain a clean, attractive and durable surface in public buildings, hospitals bathrooms, etc.


Marble and granite flooring

Naturally available stones like marble and granite are used as flooring materials. They are available in the form of flat slabs and can be laid above the prepared concrete base. Marble slab is to be polished with carborundum stone, whereas granite does not require any polishing. Their hardness, durability and aesthetic appearance have increased its demand as a flooring material.


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