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FLOOR, STAIRS, ROOF AND ROOFING MATERIALS

FLOORS
Floors are provided to divide a building into different levels for creating more
accommodation one above the other within certain limited space. The bottom floor near
the ground level is known as ground floor and other floors above it are termed as upper
floors or 1st floor, 2nd floor 3rd floor, etc. If there is any accommodation constructed
below the natural ground level, it is known as basement and the floor provided in it is
known as basement floor.
A floor may consist of two main components:
1. A sub-floor which provides proper support to floor covering and the superimposed
loads are carried by it.
2. Floor covering which provides a smooth, clean, impervious and durable surface.
Ground floors or basement floors which rest directly on the ground do not require the
construction of a sub-floor. Floor covering may be directly placed on a well compacted
base. But it is essential to make suitable arrangements for proper drainage for the floor. A
porous layer of inert material like sand is provided to check the rise of subsoil water into
the floor. Special types of treatments are given to the base for using various types of floor
coverings.
In top floors the construction of properly designed sup-floors is essential for the structural
safety of the floors. Any suitable type of floor covering is placed over the sub-floor to get
the desired type of finishing.
The following factors govern the selection of suitable type of floor construction:
1. Initial cost. The cost of construction widely varies for different types of floors and
floor coverings. Marble floors and special clay tile floors are most expensive type,
whereas terrazzo flooring, linoleum flooring, etc. afe moderately expensive. Concrete
floor is the cheapest
Type of floor construction. Hence the selection of the suitable floor will be restricted by
the fund available for its construction.

2. Appearance. Decorative value and architectural appearance of the floor in conformity


with building needs proper attention while selecting suitable type of floor covering.
3. Clealiliness. A good floor must be easily cleaned. It should be non-absorbent and joints
should be water-tight. Marble, terrazzo and tiles floors are easily cleaned and useful for
the floor construction of hospital, public buildings, etc.
4. Noiselessness. Sometimes it is required that any movement on the top floors should not
disturb the persons working on the other floors. The suitable flooring is provided which is
somewhat noiseless when traveled over. Rubber flooring, cork flooring, asphalt flooring,
etc. are such types of floor coverings.
5. Durability. Resistance to temperature changes, wear humidity, disintegration and decay
should be carefully considered while selecting suitable type of floor covering as the life
of the floor is dependent on these factors.
6. Damp. Proofing. Dampness and damp-proofing are the important factors which require
careful consideration, especially in the construction of ground floors. A damp floor
creates very unhealthy environment in the building.
7. Indentation. In superior types of floor coverings, no indentation mark should be formed
on it by the movement of loads on it.
8. Maintenance. Certain types of floors require regular and careful maintenance and
hence the maintenance cost is high. Tile, marble, terrazzo and concrete floors require less
maintenance cost than wooden, cork, mastic floors.
Types of floors
The various types of floors commonly used are as follows:
1. Basement or ground timber floor.
2. Single joist timber floor.
3. Double joist timber floor.
4. Framed timber floor.
5. Filler joist floor.

6. Jack arch floor.


7. DOuble flagstone floor.
8. R.C.C. floor.
9. Flat slab floor.
10. Hollow tiled ribbed floor.
1. Basement or ground timber floor. Timber floors (Fig. 4.1) are constructed on ground
floors, generally in the theatres where dance and drama performances are held. Several
sleeper walls or dwarf walls

Basement or Ground Timber Floor.


walls and sleeper walls to support the joists supporting the floors. The joists are provided
at a distance of about 30 cm. and the timber planks are closely fitted over the joists to
provide the floor. The arrangement for proper air cireulatjon is made in the floor,
otherwise timber will be attacked by thy rot. The following precautions are
recommended:
(a) Well-seasoned timber should be used in the construction of such floors.
(b) 10 cm thick plain cement concrete (1: 2: 4) is provided over the soil beneath the
timber floor.
(c) The empty apace between the floor and the concrete base is filled up with sand.
(d) The damp-proofing courses are placed in the external walls and at the top of the
sleeper walls.

2. Single joist timber floor. This type of floor is used for residential buildings where
spans are comparatively small and the

loads are lighter. The wooden joists are placed at about 30 cm centre to centre spaning the
rooms in the shorter direction. Wooden planks are laid over these joists. The timber joists
are supported on wall plates of 10 cm x 7 cm to 12 cm x 7 cm. Corbels may be required
to support the joists if the width of the wall is not sufficient. Joists must be strong enough
to withstand the loads and at the same time they should not deflect too much. When the
length of the joist is more that 3.5 metres, the struts are provided in the joists to check
side buckling. Herring bone type of struting is the best suited. The wooden planks are
about 4 cm. thick and 10 to 15cm. wide. Rebatted joints are generally used to join the
planks but tongued and grooved joints are superior to it. Wooden planks are planed to get
level and smooth surface after they are fixed in the position. Finally they are rubbed with
sand paper and then waxed or polished (Fig. 4.2).
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of construction:
Advantages
(a) Single joist timber floors are simple to construct.
(I) They require less initial cost.
(c) Distribution of loads on the wall is more uniform as the joists are spaced closely.
Disadvantages

(a) The joists may sag and hence cracks will develop in the ceilings.
(b) They are not sound-proof.
(c) Deep joists are required for larger spans which increase the weight and construction
cost of the floor.
(d) The loads are transmitted on the openings, such as window or door lintel because of
evenly spaced joists.
(e) They require wall plates for supporting the joists.
3. Double joist timber floor. Double joist timber floor (Fig. 4.3) is stronger than the
single joist timber floor. They are used for longer spans for 3.60 to 7.50 metres and
prevent the travel of sound waves to a great extent. Intermediate supports, called as
binders, are placed for bridging the joists. Binders are spaced at a centre to centre
distance of about 2 metres. The ends of binders are kept on wooden or stone blocks and
they should not be embedded in the masoniy Ceilings may be fixed to the bottom of the
binders by fixing ceiling joist to the binders. Lathing is fixed to the ceiling joist. The
following are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of the construction.
Advantages
(a) The loads are transmitted to the wall at certain specified points and hence door and
window openings may be avoided.
(b) This is more rigid type of flooring and hence there is less chance of developing cracks
in the plastered ceiling.
(c) It is more sound-proo!
(d) The use of additional binder near the walls can eliminate the need of wall plates.
Disadvantages
(a) More labour is required.
(b) The depth of floor is considerably increased and thus the head room is reduced.

4. Framed timber floor.


This type of timber floor is used for span more than 7.5 metres. Girders are placed
between the walls and the binders are put on the girders and the bridging joists rest on the
binders. The spacing between girders depends on the type and size of the girder and the
size of the binders. Binders are staggered and connected to girder by tusk and tenon
joints. The ends of girders are put on stone or concrete templates in the wall. Ceilings are
fixed directly to the binders or ceiling joists may be employed (Fig. 4.4).

5. Filler joist floor. Small sections of rolled steel joists are encased in the concrete. The
joists are supported on walls or on steel beams as illustrated in Fig. 4.5. The joists are
placed at a centre to centre distance of 60 to 90 cm. and act as reinforcement in the
concrete. The rolled steel joists and beams should be completely encased in the concrete.
6. Jack arch floor. Bricks or concrete may be used for the construction of jack arch floor.
The arches are provided between the lower flanges of rolled steel joists at centre to centre
distance of not more than 1.5 metres. The rise of the arch is generally 1/12th of the span.

Mild steel ties are provided in the end spans to take up the tension developed due to the
arch action of the floor. The diameter of tie rods are 18mm to 25mm and their spacing is
1.8 to 2.4 metres and they are rigidly fixed in the walls. The haunch filling is done by
lime concrete and the desired floor covering is provided. Plain ceiling is not obtained in
this case and it may be considered as a shortcoming of such construction (Fig. 4.6).

Method of construction of brick Jack arch floor. The centering of the arch is made with
38mm. thick timber segmental piece with a chord length equal to the span of the arch.
The curved portion of the arch forms the soffit of the arch. The centering board is laid
with the curve portion pointing upwards on the lower flanges of the rolled steel joists.
The special bricks on ed are placed on the centering board from both ends of the arch.
The end bricks are cut in the required shape to fit in the joists properly. The key brick is
laid in the stiff mortar and put in the centre of the arch tightly, The centering board is
advanced further by hammer blows to the new position which is 20 cm ahead and the
second arch ring is constructed. Similarly, all other successive arch rings are constructed.
The newly constructed work is cured for a period of at least two weeks. The haunch
filling is done with lime concrete and finally the desired type of floor covering is

provided over compacted lime concrete. The following precautions are taken in the
construction of this type of floor:
(a Only well-watered 1st class bricks should be used.
(b) The steel joists should be rigidly fixed before starting the construction of arch. *
R.C.C. Floor.
Reinforced cement concrete slab is being more commonly used in the construction of
modern buildings. For small spans and comparatively lighter loads, a simple R.C. slab is
suitable. If the ratio of the length andwjdth of a room is more than 1.5, the slab is
designed to span along the shorter direction. The main reinforcement is provided along
this shorter dimension of the room. The thickness of the slab is guided by the
superimposed loads, span and type of concrete used. The end of the slab rests on the wall.
When the building is constructed in reinforced concrete frames, it is essential to construct
the slab monolithic with the supporting beams.
For larger spans and greater loads, R.C.C. beams and slab construction is adopted in the
construction of buildings. The slab acts as flange of the beam and is cast monolithic with
the beams. In this case the size of the beam is greatly reduced. Over the R.C. floor,
suitable covering is laid to get the desired finish (Fig. 4.8).

Fig. 4.8. R.C.C. Floor with Beam.


9. Flat slab floor. Flat slab floor is directly supported on the columns without providing
any intermediate beams This type of construction is adopted when the use of beams is
forbidden. The following
(a) More clear headroom is available for use.
(b) Even for quite heavy loads, thinner slabs are required.

(c) No projections of beams are to be seen and, therefore, the need of false ceiling is
eliminated.
(d) It is convenient to make lighting arrangements.
(e) The frame-work and construction of flat slab is simpler.
Flat slabs are commonly used in commercial buildings, factories and warehouses, etc.
But it is not economical for lighter loads.
Hollow tiled ribbed floor. lb reduce the weight of a solid floor structure, a hollow tiled
ribbed floor is constructed. In this type of construction hollow blocks of clay or concrete
are used. These hollow blocks or tiles are placed at about 10cm apart. In this space of 10
cm. mild steel bars of 8 to 12 mm. diameter are placed. The surfaces of the hollow tiles
are kept rough to develop a better bond with the surrounding concrete. A minimum cover
of 8 cm. is provided at the top of the tile. The empty spaces are filled up with the concrete
as illustrated in Fig. 4.9. These floors are fire-proof; sound-proof; damp-proof, light and
economies. A properly designed floor of this type can carry considerably heavy loads.

Floor coverings
Floor coverings are provided to improve the appearance, cleanliness, noiselessness and
damp-proof of the floors. Various types of materials are used and different treatments are
done. The following types of floor coverings are generally employed:
1. Brick floor covering.
2. Stone floor covering.
3. Tiled floor covering.
4. Thrrazzo floor covering.
5. Asphalt floor covering.

6. Concrete floor covering.


7. Wood-block floor covering.
8. Mosaic floor covering.
9. Linoleum floor covering.
10. Cork floor covering.
12. Plastic floor covering.
13. Rubber floor covering.
14. Glass floor covering.
15. Magnesite floor covering.

1. Brick floor covering. It is employed for cheap construction such as godowns, sheds,
stores, barracks, etc., and where good bricks are available. Over well compacted and
levelled ground a layer of lean cement concrete mix (1 : 6: 18) is laid in 10 cm. thickness.
Over this beddin bricks are placed in proper bonds on their edges. They are joined in
cement or lime mortar. Sometimes the joints are pointed to obtain a better appearance.
The only draw-back of brick floor covering is that it absorbs water.
2. Stone floor covering. Square or rectangular slabs of stones are used as floor covering.
Generally

20

to

40

mm.

thick

stone

slabs

of

zes30cmx30cm,45cmx45cm,60cmx60cm,45cmx60cm,etc., are used. The stone should be


hard, durable, tough and of good quality. The earthen base is levelled, compacted and
watered. On this surface a layer of 10 to 15 cm thick concrete is laid and properly
rammed. Over this bed the stone slabs are fixed with thin layer of mortar. Before fixing
the stone slabs in position, they are dressed on all the edges and the joints are finished
with cement. The stone surfaces may be rough or polished. Rough surface is provided in
rough works like godowns, sheds, stores, etc. and polished surface is provided in superior
type of works. A slope of 1 : 40 should be provided in such type of floor coverings for
proper drainage.

3. Concrete floor covering. This is the most common type of floor covering and it is also
known as Indian Patent Stone flooring. On the earthen surface sand cushion 15cm is
provided. It is watered and rammed thoroughly. Over this sand cushion about 10 cm thick
concrete bases is laid to i the topping. The top surface of the concrete base is roughly
finished to develop good bond between the base and the topping. Lime concrete or lean
cement concrete is used for the construction of concrete base.
The surface of the base concrete is cleaned with a stiff wire brush and it is moistened with
the water Square or rectangular panels are made on the base with wooden battens laid on
mortar beds in the desired level and slope.
The cement grout is applied to the base and before laying the topping concrete is poured
into the alternate bays at a time. After 3 days, the rest of the bays are concreted. The top
layer is beaten and made in a uniform line and level, and finally it is smoothened by
toweling. Dry cement should not be sprinkled on the surface to facilitate trowelling.
The newly constructed floor is protected from sunlight winds and rain for at least 12
hours.
This is cured for at least one week. Sometimes colored cement is used in the topping to
get the desired tint in the floor covering.
4. Tiled floor covering. Clay tiles of different sizes, shapes, thickness, colours are
prepared and they are used as floor coverings.
They are placed in position on a concrete base with a thin layer of mortar When these
tiles are to be fixed on timber floors, special of emulsified asphalt and Portland cement
are used.Sometimes hollow tiles are also used to construct the floor. This acts as a base
and is covered with a layer of concrete.
5. Wooden floor covering. This type of floor covering is the oldest type but now-a-days
it is only used for some special purpose floor, such as in theatres, auditoriums, hospitals,
etc. It possesses natural beauty and has enough resistance to wearing. Wooden floor
covering may be carried out in one of the following three types:
(a) Strip floor covering. This is made up of narrow and thin strips of timber which are
joined to each other by tongue and groove joints.

(b) Planked floor covering. In this type of construction, wider planks as employed and
these are joined by tongue and groove joints.
(c) Wood block floor covering. It consists of wooden blocks which are laid in suitable
designs over a concrete base. The thickness of block is 2 properly joined together with
the ends of the grains exposed.
6. Terrazzo floor covering. Thrrazzo is a mixture of cement and marble chips and the
surface polished with carborandum stone to obtain a smooth finish at the top. The base
for this type of floor covering is concrete and laid in the ordinary way. On the 3 cm
concrete (1: 3) base, a thin layer of sand is sprinkled evenly and it is covered by tarred
paper. A layer of rich mortar is spread over it and then terrazzo mixture is placed over it
evenly. Marble chips of 3 mm to 6 mm are mixed with white or coloured cement in
proportion 1: 2 or 1: 3 to get the terrazzo mixture. Dividing strips of metal 20 gauge thick
are inserted into the mortar base to form the desired pattern and in these small bays the
terrazzo mixture is laid alternatively. The terrazzo is levelled in position by trowel. If
required some additional chips are also added at the surface so that about 70% of the
surface area is covered by the marble chips.
When the terrazzo has hardened, the surface is rubbed by coarse. and fine carborandum
stones respectively to get a smooth finished surface. It is kept wet with water while
rubbing. The surface is cleaned with water and soap solution and then wax polish is
applied to the surface. This type of floor covering is very costly and is used to obtain
clean, attractive and durable surface in public buildings, hospitals, bath rooms, etc.
7. Mosaic floor covering. Marble slabs or tiles of different thickness are used. They are
available in various shapes and colours. This type of floor covering is commonly used in
operation theatres, temples, bathrooms and in costly buildings.
A concrete base is constructed for laying the floor covering. Over this base lime surkhi
mortar is placed to a depth of about 6 cm and it is leveled p. A layer of cementing
material about 3 mm in thickness is spread. I he cementing material consists of two parts
of slaked lime, one part of powdered marble and one part of pozzolona* Alter 4 hours of
laying this cementing material, the marble slabs of tiles are laid in.