DIY floor projects generally involve floor finishes rather than structural work. The structural options are few: generally a concrete slab either at ground level or suspended to form a second storey floor, or a suspended timber floor. Because a DIY floor involves finishes, there are many variations that will result in the floor being anything from carpet to tiles and even brick paving. This means that you have lots of options if you are planning to create your own DIY floor.
While all suspended timber floors are, by their very nature, wood, a concrete slab may also be given a timber finish. While traditionally wooden floors were all suspended, today there are many different timber products that we can lay over a smooth, level, screeded concrete surface. Some may even be glued to the dry cement-based screed. These include strips of wood or thin planks that end up looking the same as a suspended concrete floor, and timber tiles, some of which look like old-fashioned parquet flooring. Sometimes people do tile over timber floors, but be warned that movement of the boards can sometimes dislodge the tiles.
The only time we don't screed concrete floors is when the floor is going to be used for commercial or industrial use, for example if heavy trucks or other machines are going to be driving on a warehouse floor. There wouldn't be any point, because the screed would crumble under the weight of the vehicles. Often builders talk about a topping for a concrete slab, and that's basically all that a screed is. We mix building sand, cement and the right amount of water together to make a porridge-like mortar mix and then literally plaster it over the top of the concrete to form a nice, smooth surface that we can then tile or carpet over, or stick wooden products to.
DIY Floor Options
Once you have a screeded concrete floor, you will find that your flooring options increase immediately. These options include laying wall-to-wall carpeting or individual carpet tiles; laying ceramic or clay tiles, or some other sort of tile including slate or even stone lookalike tiles that have been moulded using concrete; or of course a timber product. You might even decide to paint the floor using a special floor paint, or perhaps a good quality paint manufactured for walls that you can use to achieve the effect of tiles, but a fraction of the cost. Look at lots of photographs in books and magazines before you decide what you want to do with your DIY floor.