What Are the Layers of My Residential Floors?

There are a few reasons that flooring is such a focal point of any home. Residential floors often make the first impression. After all, when you first step into a home, the flooring is often the first thing you notice, whether it’s a bold carpet, unique tile pattern, or rustic hardwood. Between regular cleaning and maintenance, throw rugs, furniture rearrangements, high traffic areas, and more, your residential floors serve an important function. But it’s what you don’t notice about your residential floors that can be the most important. In order to properly support your home, flooring must rely on multiple layers of materials. Knowing what makes up your floors can be necessary for home maintenance, remodels, and various home improvement projects. Here’s our helpful guide to the layers that make up your residential floors.


Floor joists are the integral structural component that supports your floor and the entire structure of your home. Dimensional lumber or engineered, laminated wood is used to span the entire house, from one end to the other. Joists need to be in good condition (not rotting, warped, or otherwise damaged) to properly support your home as it ages. However, if your home does not have a basement, that means it has been built on a cement slab and doesn’t need joists to support the layers of flooring. In this case, the first layer of your flooring is actually the subfloor!


Homeowners who have taken on flooring remodeling or extensive home improvement projects are probably already acquainted with their subflooring. In a home with joists, the subfloor rests on top of them and is most commonly made from plywood or oriented strand board (also called OSB). This layer is between 9/32 and 1 1/8 inches thick in order to support the layers of flooring above. Any squeaking in your floor is likely due to the subfloor, which may move if it isn’t fastened well enough to the joists.

Floor Warming System

In some cases, homeowners may elect to install floor heating systems above their subfloors. This next layer is where this optional home system would be installed. Floor warmers can make your space more comfortable, especially in a basement living area or a tiled bathroom. There are floor warming options for both wooden and concrete subfloors, making them an excellent investment to add value to your home.

Floor Covering

Lastly, the floor covering represents the top layer of your home’s flooring. This can be tile, stone carpet, wood, and so much more! Homeowners have the most freedom in choosing their floor covering to represent their unique style best and create a cozy, well-designed living space.

RPS Flooring is Here to Help

Is your home or commercial building in need of new floors? RPS Carpet and Flooring Wholesalers has over two decades of experience providing residential and commercial flooring throughout Maryland. Give us a call, or come and visit our showroom to check out our expansive selection. For tips, tricks, and to see what we have been working on, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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