Floorboards 101: Types, Installation, and Finishing Techniques

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 19, 2022
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Floorboards are a great way to make your house look more rustic and homey. But what are they exactly?

Floorboards are horizontal wooden boards that form the floor of a building. They’re usually made of hardwood and can be made of softwood. They’re often used in houses, apartments, and other buildings to provide a base for carpets, rugs, and other floor coverings.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about floorboards, from their history to their uses and everything in between. Plus, I’ll share some fun facts about them that you might not know!

What are floorboards

The Floorboard: More Than Just a Horizontal Surface

Floorboards come in a variety of materials, including wood, laminate, vinyl, and even bamboo. Each material has its own unique qualities and benefits, so it’s important to consider your special needs when choosing the right floorboard for your house or room.

Leveling the Playing Field

One of the most important aspects of installing floorboards is ensuring that they are level. This means that the surface of the floorboards is even and flat, with no dips or bumps. If the floorboards are not level, they can cause problems such as tripping hazards or uneven wear and tear.

Lowering the Floorboard: When You Need to Go Down

Sometimes, you may need to lower the level of your floorboard in order to accommodate special needs, such as wheelchair accessibility. This can be done by removing the existing floor and installing a lower subfloor, or by using thinner floorboards.

The Motor of Floorboard Publishing

When it comes to publishing, the floorboard may not be the most exciting topic. However, it’s important to remember that without floorboards, we wouldn’t have a solid foundation for our homes and buildings. Plus, the automotive industry relies heavily on floorboards for the construction of cars and other vehicles.

Translations and Editions: Floorboards Around the World

Floorboards go by many names in different languages, including vloer (Dutch), fußboden (German), tingkat (Malay), pavimento (Italian), grindis (Latvian), grīdu (Lithuanian), pokryť (Slovak), làm lát (Vietnamese), slå (Swedish), būt (Latvian), and biti (Serbian). No matter what language you speak, floorboards are an essential part of any home or building.

The Floorboard in Kernerman and Farlex College Dictionaries

Even college dictionaries such as Kernerman and Farlex recognize the importance of floorboards. They define floorboards as “one of the usually wooden planks that make up a floor” and “a board of plywood used to make a subfloor—the rough floor beneath a finished floor.”

The Composing of a Room: Floorboards and Design

Floorboards can play a big role in the overall design of a room. They can add warmth and texture to a space, and can be used to create a variety of patterns and designs. Whether you prefer a traditional hardwood floor or a more modern laminate or vinyl option, there is a floorboard out there to suit your style.

The Assoalho, Podlaha, and Põrand: Floorboards Around the World

In addition to their different names, floorboards can also vary in their appearance and construction depending on where in the world they are made. For example, Brazilian assoalho floorboards are known for their durability and resistance to moisture, while Czech podlaha floorboards are often made from oak or beech wood. Estonian põrand floorboards, on the other hand, are typically made from spruce or pine wood.

Exploring the Diverse World of Floorboards

1. Solid Wood Floorboards

Solid wood floorboards are a classic choice for homeowners who want to add warmth and elegance to their space. These floorboards are made from a single piece of wood and come in a variety of species, including oak, maple, and cherry. They are durable, long-lasting, and can be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, they are susceptible to moisture and can expand or contract depending on the humidity level in the room.

2. Laminate Floorboards

Laminate floorboards are made from a high-density fiberboard core that is covered with a printed image of wood grain and a protective layer of clear plastic. They are affordable, easy to install, and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are also more resistant to scratches and dents than solid wood and engineered wood floorboards. However, they cannot be sanded or refinished and may not add as much value to a home as solid wood or engineered wood floorboards.

Revolutionary Installation Systems for Your Flooring Needs

One of the most popular installation methods in the market today is the floating floor system. This method is suitable for all types of flooring, including laminate, engineered, and hardwood floors. The system consists of thin boards that are placed directly on top of the subfloor without the need for nails or glue. The boards are locked together using a profile system, making it easy for anyone to install without the need for professional help. The floating floor system is great for old and uneven floors, as it can cover up any imperfections and protect your floors from further damage.

Glue-Down Installation

Another installation option is the glue-down method, which is mainly used for commercial projects. This method involves applying glue directly to the subfloor and attaching the flooring to it. The glue-down method is suitable for natural wood floors and offers excellent stability and a strong feel. It is crucial to choose the right type of glue for your flooring needs, as the wrong type of glue can cause damage to your floors in the long run.

The Locking System

The locking system is a new and revolutionary installation method that has been introduced to the market. This system is suitable for all types of flooring and offers a great finish. The locking system consists of a profile that is placed on the edge of the boards, which are then locked together. This system is easy to install and does not require any glue or nails, making it a popular choice for many customers.

Getting the Perfect Finish: Buffing, Sanding, and Drying Your Floorboards

When it comes to finishing your floorboards, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to choose the right type of finish for your specific needs. Some finishes are better suited for high-traffic areas, while others are more suitable for low-traffic areas. You also need to consider your budget, as certain finishes can be more expensive than others.

Knowing the Differences Between Finishes

When it comes to choosing a finish for your floorboards, there are a lot of options available. Some of the most common types of finishes include:

  • Polyurethane: This is a durable, high-gloss finish that is suitable for high-traffic areas.
  • Oil-based: This finish is easy to apply and provides a warm, natural look to the wood.
  • Water-based: This finish dries quickly and is low-odor, making it a good option for homes with pets or children.

Ultimately, the best finish for your floorboards will depend on your specific needs and budget. It’s worth doing some research and consulting with a flooring expert to ensure you’re providing the best possible care for your floors.

Comparing Solid Wood with Engineered Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is made from a single piece of natural wood, while engineered wood flooring is manufactured by bonding layers of plywood together with a veneer of real hardwood on top. The thickness of the hardwood layer can vary, but it is typically thinner than solid wood flooring. The plies in engineered wood flooring are arranged in a perpendicular direction, laminated together to create a strong and stable core.

Strength and Durability

Solid wood flooring is thicker than engineered wood flooring, which makes it more suitable for areas with high foot traffic. It is also more resistant to moisture and humidity, making it a better choice for areas with increased heat and radiant climate. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring is more resistant to moisture and humidity than solid wood flooring, making it a better choice for areas with fluctuating humidity levels.

Style and Appearance

Solid wood flooring has a natural and uniform look that adds value to any building. It allows for the true character of the wood species to shine through, and it can be sanded and refinished multiple times to change or add finishes. Engineered wood flooring looks identical to hardwood on the surface, but it lacks the same depth and character as solid wood flooring. However, it comes in a greater variety of styles and finishes, making it a good choice for those who want a specific look for their floors.

Clean and Maintenance

Both solid and engineered wood flooring are easy to clean and maintain. They simply need to be swept or vacuumed regularly and cleaned with a damp mop. However, solid wood flooring requires more care and attention as it is more susceptible to scratches and dents.

Overall Comparison

When it comes to choosing between solid wood and engineered wood flooring, it’s a good idea to consider the following information:

  • Solid wood flooring is a better choice for areas with high foot traffic, while engineered wood flooring is more suitable for areas with fluctuating humidity levels.
  • Solid wood flooring has a natural and uniform look with greater depth and character, while engineered wood flooring comes in a greater variety of styles and finishes.
  • Solid wood flooring is more expensive than engineered wood flooring, but it can be sanded and refinished multiple times to extend its lifespan.
  • Engineered wood flooring is a more affordable option, but it cannot be refinished to extend its lifespan.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about floorboards. 

They’re a great way to add some character to your home, and with so many types to choose from, there’s something for everyone. 

So don’t be afraid to dive in and start exploring all the possibilities!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.