DIY

Understanding the anatomy of floors - what are the layers of floors?

How are floors made up?

It can be a confusing thing to understand, especially because different tradesmen are responsible for different parts of it. Your builder might talk about the joists and the basement slab, but your carpet supplier will discuss the underlay, and your tiler will talk about waterproofing.

So before you start choosing your flooring it’s best to understand the anatomy of flooring so you anticipate the questions you will no doubt get asked.

Jargon alert! There is a lot of ‘building terms’ in this article but hopefully the diagrams will help you to understand. Don’t forget to check my Renovating Glossary if your stuck.

The layer of floor you normally see is just the decorative floor covering such as tile, laminate, carpet or floorboards. While the actual floor structure is hidden underneath.

Let’s work from the top down.

Underlayment

The floor covering sits on an underlayment. The underlayment is often a foam or cork product which creates an acoustic barrier and makes the floor soft to walk on.

Subfloor

If you remove your floor covering you will find your subfloor. The subfloor is often made from a composite panel or plywood and it spans supportive floor joists. This subfloor layer is likely to be either large sheets or planks. The subfloor provides protection of the joists and acts as a strong base for the floor covering.

Joists

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The joists sits atop the foundation and are the frame that supports the subfloor. They are often supported at the midpoint by a beam or girder. Joists are sometimes tied together using bridging to create more stability. The bridging can be made from wood or metal.

That’s it! Not too hard right?!

However there are a few other scenarios I might warn you about.

Concrete floors

When the house is built on a concrete slab the scenario is slightly different. The subfloor is fixed on top of timber 2x4 studs. These studs are fixed to the concrete slab but with a layer of plastic sheet in between them and the slab.

Tiles

When tiling a bathroom you will need an adhesive layer and it is ideal to use a cement based underlayment as the subfloor. You may also want to consider heating cable for underfloor heating. 

 

So hopefully that makes it easier to talk to your builder :)

Sally xx

Renovation App review

Hello lovelies,

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I love finding productivity tools! Being a working mum, my time is so valuable! So if I can use something to make it easier or quicker…I’m all over it like sprinkles on a donut.

I’m a sucker for shortcuts. Especially on my mac! I’m the queen of Command>Tab, Command>c, Command>v  (if you’re like me then you’ll love this article written by Matt Gemmell).

I love Apps and programs,

Most of all…auto ANYTHING!

So I’ve collated a little list of some of the apps I have come across on my quest for efficiency. Hopefully this will help you with your latest renovation project. From the quick paint job through to remodelling.  Enjoy!

Houzz                                        Free

My all time favourite App! Suitable for both designers and home enthusiasts.  This will be your ultimate inspiration guide when planning any home renovation project. You can create ‘ideabooks’ of rooms you love and then make notes as to what you like about it. It’s like a pinterest just for the home. And is a great tool for communicating your ideas to contractors and suppliers.

hi Pages                                    Free

For the times when hubby can’t fix ‘insert random task here’.  Hi Pages will become your lifesaver for getting quotes and finding tradesmen. Most of you are probably familiar with their website which is an online trade directory for anything home improvement related. Well the app is quick and simple to use in the palm of your hand, especially if your internet isn’t installed yet!

True local                                 Free

This is another online directory but it isn’t purely for home improvement related companies, eg find the local coffee or hardware shop. I think it’s slightly more objective because it’s a free directory to advertise in and I like that you can just grab their phone number and call without having to specify the job and request a quote.

Paint tester pro                        Free

A super easy App for testing paint colours and probably the most popular of its kind. Simply take a photo of your room, pick a colour and use the paint bucket to apply the colour.  A great visualisation tool for choosing paint colours and all the colours can be easily matched at the paint shop.

Mitre 10 painter                        Free

For people nervous about changing their wall colour. You can take a photo of your wall and then paint the wall using 1 of the 400 colours in the Mitre 10 palette.  The app is particularly useful for accent walls.

Dulux colour explore              Free

If you’re a Dulux lover like me than this is essential. Test a colour that you like in a few template rooms – living, bedroom, kitchen etc. It’s a great visualisation tool for people painting their walls.

Resene colourmatch                Free

This is a great App for when you’re out and about and you see a colour you love and want to try replicate it in your own home. Simply snap a photo and then put your finger on the screen to find the closest colour match. I’m a huge fan of Resene paints, they have a beautiful and rich depth of colour.

Cabots                                      Free

A great tool for picking a stain colour and working out your quantities while you’re at home, not standing confused in Bunnings. It’s a simple app that allows you to browse stain and oil products, then once you have selected one you can calculate the quantities. The best feature for us Mums is it also lets you create a shopping list to make your trip to the shops a lot more efficient.

MagicPlan                                Free

This takes a bit practice but is possibly the simplest way to mock up your house layout within minutes. It’s such an incredibly clever App that will save you hours of measuring, planning and drawing.  Perfect tool for homeowners planning renos and people moving home and wanting to test and see if their furniture fits.

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Home design 3D                        Free

Another good App for drawing floor plans with basic furnishings. There’s a bit of a learning curve but its worth it for the results. If you want really realistic images then get the paid version and get busy designing a stylish house!

Home builder pro calcs           $6.49

This App has a huge range of calculators for tricky projects around the home. Importantly – yes it uses the metric system! For a small price this App will save your hours of painstaking planning. Build stairs, foundations or windows like a pro. The project/time estimator won’t be necessary for everyone but is a very useful feature.

Advanced Construction Pro - Building Calculator for Carpenters & Architects             $3.79

Highly recommend! This claims to be ‘the App every contractor needs in their toolbox’ but I think it will be useful to the average home renovator. Calculate and work out your spacing for fences, stairs and decks. Save hours! These are things you don’t want to get wrong, or do twice, so get it right the first time.

Australian Builders concrete and mortar estimator             Free

Boring, but essential. A simple App for estimating how many bags of concrete you need for a slab (based on thickness/depth/length) and how many bags of mortar you need for a brick wall (based on mortar type and number of bricks).  Includes a Bonus feature of some DIY projects.

floorIT site                                 Free

Made by Carter Holt Harvey to support specification of their flooring products.  You can select the floor product, insert the floor sqm, joist spacing and wastage and then it will calculate the number of sheets required. Probably more useful to the novice home renovator than a professional tradesmen who can do it all in their head.

If nothing else you have to download Houzz - its going to rock your world.

Sally xx

What other Apps do you use?

Do you use any other Apps that your fellow renovators might like? Or do you have any other questions or concerns about your own renovation? Leave a comment below and we can all chat about it.