Understanding How Flooring Is Secured

Posted on: 17 January 2020

Whether you're putting in flooring for the first time or renovating an existing room, it's a good idea to understand how the materials are secured. Let's take a look at the basic concepts.


Unless you're dealing with a concrete floor, there's probably a lot more going on than just what you see on the surface. A supporting structure is put in place during the construction of a house, and this structure provides the base that everything rests on.

At the very bottom of everything are the beams. These are big and long segments of wood that usually span the entire length of the room, and they may even span the length of the house. Beams are typically 4 to 6 inches in width, although bigger ones can be used. They connect to support columns to disperse the load of everything above them -- that is to say your family and all your stuff.

Joists are installed perpendicular to the beams to further distribute the load and provide support. On top of the joists, a subfloor is installed. This is a wooden deck that attaches to the joists, and it provides something for you to glue or nail your flooring materials to, if necessary. Padding is frequently installed between the subfloor and the flooring materials.

It's normal for a flooring supplier to have all the materials from the subfloor on up. Heavier elements, such as beams and joists, are seen as structural, and you'll have to go to a hardware store or lumber yard to get those. Unless you're doing new construction or dealing with significant degradation, however, you shouldn't be messing with those.

On Concrete

If you have a concrete base, it's still possible to attach flooring to it. A plastic barrier is placed between the concrete and a layer of treated plywood. Your flooring materials are then usually placed on top of the plywood. Glue, nails and screws can be used to secure the materials, but they're less commonly used in this scenario.

The Flooring

Most modern flooring systems are designed to interlock. A tongue and groove system brings two sections together. If you're planning to nail the floor, the nail typically goes through part of the tongue section. This allows the nails to be hidden when you put down the next segment. Bear in mind that many interlocking systems are designed to be laid down with no glue or nails so always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

For the best results, get help from professional companies like Panel Center.