Materials almost always classified as flooring include carpet, laminate, tile, and vinyl

Flooring is the general term for a permanent covering of a floor, or for the work of installing such a floor covering. Floor covering is a term to generically describe any finish material applied over a floor structure to provide a walking surface. Both terms are used interchangeably but floor covering refers more to loose-laid materials.

The choice of materials for floor covering is affected by factors such as cost, endurance, noise insulation, comfort, and cleaning effort. Some types of flooring must not be installed below grade, including laminate and hardwood due to potential damage from moisture.

The sub-floor may be finished in a way that makes it usable without any extra work, see:

  • Earthen floor adobe or clay floors
  • Solid ground floor, cementitious leveling/wearing/granolithic screeds, polymer-modified concrete, and leveling/wearing screeds.


There are a number of special features that may be used to ornament a floor or perform a useful service:

  • Floor medallions are decorative centerpieces of a floor design.
  • Doormats to help keep a floor clean.
  • Gratings are used to drain water or to rub dirt off shoes.
  • Tactile or rumble strips to warn of for instance a wheelchair ramp, would normally also be distinctively colored or patterned.
  • Light strips to show an escape route out, especially on airplanes.
  • Moldings or baseboards to decorate the sides of a floor or to cover the edge of a floating floor.
  • Anti-slip mats: The addition of either granular or rubberized particles that will allow wheels, shoes, or feet better traction.