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I was writing a question on Home Improvement, when I realized that I don't really know how to use the two words floor and flooring.

Here's one example from familyhandyman.com that confuses me:

How to Install Pine Floors: Complete instructions for DIY installation of easy-care wide-plank pine flooring.

Can someone please clarify what the correct use of these two words are? I would appreciate if all the different meanings of each word is explained. I have made an attempt below, but I'm not sure if it's correct.

  • "The second floor" - refers to level 2 (or 3, depending) in a building.
  • "The second floor I installed..." - floor refers to a general floor in a room (don't know anything about material)
  • "Pine floor" - refers to the type of material (pine) used on the floor
  • "Vinyl flooring" - refers to the type of material (vinyl) used on the floor
  • "I haven't done any flooring before" - flooring refers to the action of installing a floor

I think some of them sound strange, but are the following correct sentences?

  • "I floored the floor using vinyl flooring"?
  • "I used pine floor on the floor."
  • "The house has pine floors."
  • "The house has pine flooring."
  • "I'm flooring with pine flooring"?
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"Floor" can mean a level in a building, like "my office is on the second floor", or it can mean the part of the room that you stand on.

"Flooring" as a noun is the material you use to make a floor. In the U.S. these days -- I don't know about construction in other countries -- we usually buy flooring in tiles that are 1 foot square or thereabouts, or in strips that are maybe 2 or 3 feet long. Then you glue these to the raw wood or cement or whatever underneath. Or for carpet or tile you can buy a large roll so the flooring for the whole room will be one big piece.

"Floor" can also be a verb meaning to install such a floor.

When you're done, you can describe the floor by the type of flooring. So you could say, "We installed vinyl flooring so now we have a vinyl floor."

The second floor

Yes, the second level in the building in the U.S., the third level in the U.K.

The second floor I installed...

Yes, could be any kind of flooring.

Pine floor

A finished floor made from pine flooring.

Vinyl flooring

Vinyl material used to make a floor. You could say, "We installed vinyl flooring in the living room" or "The living room has vinyl flooring". Or you could say, "The living room has a vinyl floor." But you would not say, "The living room has a vinyl flooring."

I haven't done any flooring before

Yes, now it's a verb.

I floored the floor using vinyl flooring

Obviously an awkward sentence, but technically grammatically cored.

I used pine floor on the floor.

No, you'd say "I used pine flooring on the floor." Or more likely, "I put down pine flooring ..." or "I installed pine flooring ..." or "I laid down pine flooring ...".

The house has pine floors.

Yes.

The house has pine flooring.

Yes.

I'm flooring with pine flooring.

Yes. Again, use of the word "flooring" twice with two different meanings make the sentence awkward, but it's technically correct.

  • Right, floor is to flooring as roof is to roofing, in part. :) – Lambie Jul 26 '18 at 14:09

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