Dance, Dance: Lovely, Usable Flooring
Did you know that ordinary concrete won’t do for dancing, and that dancing floors have to be refurbished every few years? Indeed, we often take for granted the floors we step on, simply because we know only a little about how important flooring is.
In general, flooring is a term for the covering of a floor. It is often used interchangeably with “parquetry,” which actually describes a mosaic of slats of wood, fashioned into different shapes, and used to decorate floors. Parquetry involves the use of different kinds of wood, which can include the following.
• Dark woods, such as cherry, give not only a mystique to floors, but can even prevent mild scratches from being seen. Once deeply scratched, however, dark woods are difficult to repair.
• Light woods, such as maple or oak, make rooms appear light and wide.
• Tropical woods, such as mahogany, make floors appear rich and colorful, but are often expensive.
There are three main types of parquetry. Solid parquet will use slats of solid wood, and will involve much skilful carving and shaping of whole wood pieces. Veneers involve the use of solid wood only as an upper layer of parquet pieces; a piece of plywood, or other kinds of cheaper wood, will support the solid surface. The cheapest kinds of parquet are the laminates, which involve no real expensive wood. Laminates will usually have a faux-wood slat on top of a cheap wood base. This faux-wood is fashioned to be alike in grain and color to commonly used parquet wood types.
Yet another type of flooring is laminate flooring. Like parquet laminates, laminate flooring involves the use of materials fashioned to look like real wood, but is made up of cheaper materials. These may be fully synthetic, or synthetic materials mixed in with organic ingredients, then coated with a decorative varnish.
Laminate flooring is not simply the mounting of laminate floors. Each laminate flooring plank has to be made of water-resistant material, thick and strong enough to withstand the stress upon it, and from all sides, as laminate flooring planks come into contact with each other. It also has to be flexible enough to expand and contract, depending on ambient temperature and humidity, without destroying the varnish.
Linoleum is another kind of flooring. This involves covering a floor with a sort of “wallpaper” made from linoxyn (or solidified linseed oil) combined with wood flour or cork dust. This mixture is poured onto and made to fit a canvas or burlap surface, after which pigments and coloring are added to give the linoleum shine and design.
Linoleum flooring is the cheapest of the three, although it is easier to destroy. In conditions of high humidity, for instance, linoleum can break and tear, and even be deformed in places, especially if it is not well anchored onto the floor.
Tiles have always been used in bathrooms and kitchens, but modern flooring has allowed them to be used in other rooms of the house. Tiles can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even material types. Because of their smooth surfaces, they are easy to clean; however, they can also be easily chipped and destroyed.
What are the advantages to having specific flooring on your floor?
• Decorative flooring, especially those involving parquetry, can accent an otherwise bare room. Parquetry is usually used for homes using traditional design methods, or those housing wood furniture. Laminate floors can make a dance studio look brighter and wider. Tiles can make a bedroom appear cleaner.
• Neat, skillfully made flooring can make rooms much easier to clean and maintain.
Whichever type of flooring you choose, make sure that it fits your needs, and the appearance of your house. Never again will you underestimate the power of the floor you walk on!