Did you know that flooring consists of four different components? Each of these layers serves its own purpose allowing the flooring to give its best possible performance. Identifying these different parts of its overall structure will help you determine what kind of flooring is functional and what needs to be repaired. With that being said, what are the four layers of flooring? Let’s find out!


Starting from the bottom-most layer, the joist is a beam that spans horizontally between a building’s foundation, walls, or structural supports. It is sometimes referred to as a band sill, and they provide support for the entire framing system. When combined with a floor framing system, the joists enhance the stiffness and durability of the sub-floor sheathing. 


The sub-floor is the layer located between the underlayment and the joists. Sub-flooring exists to make the building’s surface more comfortable to walk on. Because it is one of the base layers holding everything up, it needs to be made from a sturdy material. Some of the popular choices for materials include plywood and concrete. 


Underlayment is the thinnest material that is present in flooring. It is made from a softer material such as rubber, foam, and felt. An underlayment reduces the wear that appears on flooring over time. On top of this, it provides quality of life improvements such as insulation and a better walking feel. Overall despite being the thinnest layer, the underlayment is one of the most important aspects of a floor. Failure to install high-quality underlayment can make or break a floorings functionality. 

Floor Covering

The floor covering (also known as the finish floor) is the final layer that is applied during the renovation process. It can be hardwood, carpet, or tile, and it is what you’ll be in direct contact with. It should be durable as you’ll be placing things like furniture on it. Over time this section of flooring is also likely to receive the most damage meaning you will have to do the most upkeep on this layer.

As you can see, the four layers of flooring are each very different from each other, along with serving their own unique purpose. When purchasing or installing flooring, make sure you do research and find the materials that will give you exactly what you need. 

Need some help with installation?

Dalton Flooring has been doing business as a carpet and flooring store in Southgate for 40 years. We also have a new location in Rochester Hills, MI. We offer carpet consultations as well as installation from our variety of carpet selections. Whether you visit our store or choose to have samples brought to your home for a free in-home estimate, we have a range of flooring designs and products to help you achieve your desired goals.

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