Flooring Glossary

  • ABOVE GRADE
    The portion of the home that is above ground.

    ACRYLIC IMPREGNATION
    The generic name for wood-plastic composites using wood impregnated with acrylic monomers and polymerized within the wood cells by heat, pressure or radiation.

    ADHESIVE
    A substance that bonds the finished floor product to the substrate.

  • BELOW GRADE
    Below ground level. Partially or completely below the surrounding ground level and in direct contact with the ground or with fill which is in direct contact with the ground.

    BEVELED EDGE
    An angular edge and/or end treatment used on plank or tile flooring.

    BOARD WIDTH
    The width of the individual wood boards that make up the floor. 

  • CEMENT-BASED PATCHING COMPOUND
    Compound used to fill or smooth subfloor irregularities in preparation for installing a new vinyl floor.

    COLOUR CHANGE
    Visual changes in the colour of the wood species caused by exposure to light, deprivation of light and air, oxidation or other chemical reactions.

    COLOUR WASH
    A flooring surface appearance. Paint thinned out with glaze is used to create a subtle wash of colour over the hardwood floor.

  • DIMENSIONAL STABILITY
    The ability of flooring to retain its original dimensions during the service life of the product.

    DISTRESSED VISUAL
    A design term that describes a heavy texture in which the floor has been scraped, scratched, or gouged to give it a time-worn antique look.  

    DIY (DO IT YOURSELF)
    DIY is an acronym for “do it yourself,” referring to projects that can be installed without a professional. DIY levels are typically described as beginner to advanced, requiring varying ranges of tools and experience.

    DPL (DIRECT PRESSURE LAMINATE)
    Direct pressure laminate is the most typical fusing method used to manufacture residential laminate flooring. The surface, inner layers and backing layer are fused in a single press operation.

    DURABILITY
    Often used to describe the way Armstrong Flooring’s floors are known to withstand a lot of wear and tear, allowing them to look newer longer.

  • EDGE DETAIL
    A term that describes the way hardwood and laminate board edges and ends are cut. Edges and ends are typically described as square, micro, beveled, micro-beveled, scraped and pillowed.

    EMBOSSED IN REGISTER (EIR)
    A manufacturing process that intensifies the depth, texture and realistic look of the floor by aligning the embossing with the printed design (what you see matches what you feel). This technique is used on Armstrong Flooring laminate and vinyl floor products.

    ENGINEERED
    A term describing hardwood construction. Unlike solid hardwood, which is a single solid piece of wood, engineered hardwood flooring boards are manufactured from multiple layers. The top layer is 100% natural wood, which comes in a wide variety of species, styles and colours. The middle (core) consists of 5 to 7 layers of plywood assembled in a cross-ply construction. The bottom layer is also wood. Engineered wood flooring is often used in installations where solid hardwood is not ideal, such as over concrete subfloors or radiant heat.

    ESTIMATE
    A preliminary cost figure prepared by contractors or others to give a rough idea of the cost of a completed project. 

  • FADING
    The loss of colour due to exposure to light, heat or other destructive agents.

    FINISH
    The protective surface coating applied to pre-finished flooring. Usually either urethane or wax finish.

    FLOATING HARDWOOD
    Installation method in which individual boards are connected to each other at the edges and end joints instead of being stapled, nailed or glued to the subfloor beneath. The installed planks “float” over the subfloor.

    FLOOR PROTECTORS
    Attachments for the bottom of wooden chairs and table legs to distribute the weight of furniture evenly to reduce indentations in resilient floors. Abrasions can be minimised with unique, replaceable felt pads on the floor protectors.

    FLOORSCORE™ CERTIFICATION
    FloorScore is a registered trademark of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. Products with FloorScore certification are guaranteed to meet or exceed low emission standards, will not adversely affect indoor air quality, and have passed a third party certification process. Armstrong Flooring’s FloorScore certified products include solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, vinyl sheet and vinyl tile.

    FOAM UNDERLAYMENT
    Foam layer installed under floating laminate or hardwood flooring for sound reduction and smoothing of minor subfloor irregularities.

    FULL-SPREAD ADHESIVE
    An installation system for felt-backed vinyl sheet, fiberglass vinyl sheet and luxury vinyl tile in which adhesive is spread across the entire substrate before the flooring is placed down for installation.

  • GLOSS LEVEL
    The coating on a floor’s surface, also called a “sheen.” You can choose products with a high, medium or low level of gloss.

    GRADE LEVEL
    Grade refers to the construction level relative to the ground around it. Below-grade is below ground level, on-grade is at ground level, and above-grade is above ground level.

  • HAND-SCRAPED
    A type of surface texture, also referred to as hand-sculpted, which gives floors a subtly distressed look. Hardwood planks are individually scraped to create either a deep (rustic) texture or a softer (refined) texture.  

    HARDNESS
    Describes the degree to which a certain wood species or finish can withstand denting or being marked when pressure is exerted on its surface by an outside object or force.   

    HARDWOOD CONSTRUCTION
    Describes the structure of wood flooring, which is either solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. 

    HI-DEFINITION PRINT TECHNOLOGY™
    Print technology used to create extremely realistic patterns. Colours are vibrant and natural with intensified depth and realism. A separate embossing technology infuses the look with depth and texture.

    HIGH-DENSITY FIBERBOARD
    Type of board utilized in the core of Armstrong Flooring laminate products, designed to resist moisture, resist indentations, and provide dimensional stability.

    HIGH-PERFORMANCE WEAR LAYER
    Wear layer utilized on the surface of Armstrong Flooring laminate flooring. It is made from multiple layers of resin saturated paper fused together with a high-fidelity printed design layer and hard mineral particles to resist wear, stains and surface burns.

    HYDRACORE™
    Armstrong Flooring laminate’s superior performance structure that resists surface spills or moisture wicking from the subfloor. Its locking fit provides superior dimensional stability.

  • INSTALLATION LEVEL
    Refers to grade levels of the installation site (below, on or above grade).  

    INTERLOCKING (INTERLOCKING FLOATING)
    An installation method that connects engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl or laminate boards to each other without the need for glue on the edges or ends. The boards lock together via a tongue-and-groove system. Interlocking floors “float” over the subfloor instead of being attached to it.  

  • KNOT
    The portion of a branch or limb that has been surrounded by subsequent growth of the wood of the trunk or other portions of the tree. A knot appears on the sawed surface but is merely a section of the entire knot, its shape depending upon the direction of the cut.

  • LAMINATE BACKING
    A thermo-fused backing that provides additional strength and protection and assists the floor to stay flat.

    LAMINATE FLOATING FLOOR
    Flooring where planks connect to each other instead of needing to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. Laminate floating floors can be installed over many existing floors.

    LAMINATE FLOORING
    Hard-surface flooring utilizing a fiberboard core and melamine wear layer that is available in styles inspired by wood and stone.

    LAMINATE FLOORING GLUE
    Adhesive used to bond the tongue and groove edges of laminate flooring.

    LAMINATE DESIGN LAYER
    The laminate flooring layer featuring crystal clear visuals that closely mimic look of hardwood or natural stone.

    LAMINATE WEAR LAYER 
    A clear wear layer for super protection from scratches, surface spills, stains and fading..

    LOCK&FOLD™ TECHNOLOGY
    One of the fastest and easiest type of installation system available for select hardwood and laminate flooring products. The system locks planks together without the use of glue, nails or staples.

    LUXURY VINYL TILE (LVT)
    A type of vinyl floor tile and/or plank with wood-look or natural stone-look designs protected by a durable urethane wear layer. LVT products are available in a variety of performance levels and installation methods.

  • MASTERWORKS™ TECHNOLOGY
    Combines advanced digital reproduction techniques with superior craftsmanship to create amazingly authentic-looking designs like exotic hardwood, stone, slate and ceramic tile. MasterWorks™ Technology is available in many vinyl sheet and laminate product lines.

    MICRO-EDGE DETAILING
    A hardwood edge type cut to show subtle distinction between planks. This style “frames” the individual wood pieces emphasizing the texture of each plank while creating a more relaxed, casual style. 

  • ON-GRADE
    Pertaining to the location of a finished floor with no portion below ground, and with the floor and the ground in contact or separated by less than 18 inches of well-ventilated space.

  • PERIMETER SPREAD ADHESIVE
    An installation system for certain felt-backed vinyl sheet products, in which adhesive is spread around the perimeter, or outside edge, of the underside of the floor before it is placed down for installation.

    PLANK
    Board widths that are up to 152mm in width.

    PLY (PLIES)
    Another word for a layer of wood, typically used to described engineered hardwood construction layers.

    PLYWOOD
    A structural material consisting of sheets of wood that are glued or cemented together and used as underlayment for vinyl flooring.  

    POLYURETHANE
    A type of finish used on hardwood to help protect it from damage. Polyurethane finishes do not require waxing.

    PREFINISHED
    Hardwood floors that are stained with colour and sealed with a protective finish by the manufacturer prior to installation. Also called “factory-finished” floors.

    PRINTED CONSTRUCTION
    A printing process that provides accurate reproductions of a wide variety of patterns and designs in intricate detail. Also known as the "rotogravure" process.

    PRYZM
    PRYZM is a hybrid luxury flooring product that combines the best attributes from a range of flooring products to provide the ultimate dent, scratch and stain resistance.

    PULL BAR
    Tool used to tighten up tongue and groove joints used during the installation of laminate flooring.

  • REFINISH
    The process of sanding a previously finished floor to bare wood and applying new finish.

    RESILIENT
    Typically refers to sheet or tile vinyl flooring. Resilient is a firm type of floor but “gives” a little when it is walked on. Resilient is also resistant to stains.

    ROLLER
    Heavy tool used after installing vinyl sheet or vinyl tile to press the flooring into the adhesive and to help to remove any entrapped air.

  • SAMPLES
    An option for viewing flooring in your own home before making a final decision. When you begin the process of finding the style that’s right for you, we suggest that you order samples from your local retailer.

    SITE FINISHED
    Hardwood floors that are stained with colour and sealed with a protective finish at the installation site by the installer, instead of in the factory before purchase.

    SOLID
    Manufactured from a solid piece of wood.

    SPACERS
    Small pieces of wood or plastic used in the initial step in the installation of hardwood, luxury vinyl or laminate to maintain a 1/4" expansion zone.

    SPECIES
    The type of tree, such as Eucalypt, Oak, Cherry or Walnut. Different wood species have different levels of hardness which can affect the durability of wood flooring. The graining and indigenous colour also differ among species.

    SPECIFICATIONS
    The detailed selections of the architect, covering all the material and labor methods to be used in erecting a building. Specifications usually indicate types of materials and sources, and method of application or installation.

    STAIR NOSE
    A molding undercut that is used on stair steps, stair landings and elevated floor perimeters. It protects edges that take the brunt of foot traffic in these areas, while enhancing the beauty of the flooring. Stair nose connects on the same level as the flooring surface for a smooth, finished appearance. It is also referred to as “flush stair nose.”

    STRAIGHT-EDGE
    Any strong, straight piece of metal that can be used for cutting straight lines for installing vinyl sheet and tile.

    STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY
    A term often used in a guarantee or warranty to assure the floor’s composition/construction will remain intact.

    SUBFLOOR
    The structural layer that provides the home's floor support. Flooring can be installed directly on the subfloor if its surface is appropriate. Otherwise, an underlayment can be laid over the subfloor first.

    SUBSTRATE
    The smooth surface beneath a floor covering. For example, concrete, underlayment or existing resilient flooring.

    SUSPENDED SUBSTRATE
    Pertaining to the above-grade location of a finished floor, where the floor is not in contact with the ground. A suspended substrate provides at least 18 inches of well-ventilated space.

    SWATCH
    A sample or collection of samples of various things that you should consider bringing to your local retailer when choosing the perfect floor for your home. This may include fabrics, wallpaper and paint chips that will be part of your décor.

  • TAPPING BLOCK
    Block of wood used directly against the edge of tongue-and-groove laminate, hardwood or vinyl boards during installation to prevent damage from hammering and to ensure a tighter fit.

    TEXTURE
    The term used to describe the surface look and feel of flooring. Textures can range from silky smooth to hand-scraped and distressed.

    TONGUE AND GROOVE
    An edge effect used on laminate, hardwood and vinyl planks that allows each board to fit securely into an adjacent board to form a single flat surface.

    TRANSITION STRIPS
    Installation accessory that bridges two floors of different heights to equalize the height differential. Transition strips are functional and decorative.

    TROWEL
    Tool used to place the correct amount of adhesive on the substrate prior to installing glue-down flooring.

  • ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT
    Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of the light spectrum. UV light wavelengths cannot be seen by the human eye.

    UNDERLAYMENT
    Layer of material usually laid over a subfloor to create a surface that is suitable for installing a new floor covering.

    URETHANE
    A protective finish that helps maintain a like-new appearance without waxing, buffing or polishing.

    UTILITY KNIFE
    Tool containing a blade and used to cut vinyl sheet and vinyl tile during installation.

  • VINYL SHEET FLOORING
    Resilient flooring that comes in a roll that is cut to size, providing an installation with few seams.

    VISIONGUARD™
    An easy-to-clean surface that helps to protect the floor from stains, fading or wear, and resists scuffs in normal household use. Available only on Armstrong Flooring brand laminate flooring.

    VOCS (VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS)
    VOC is an acronym for volatile organic compounds, which are gases that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma and upper respiratory infections. All Armstrong Flooring floors have very low VOC levels. 

  • WARPING
    Any distortion of a piece of flooring from its true plane.

    WEAR LAYER
    The portion of a floor covering that contains or protects the pattern effect.

    WIDE PLANK
    Board widths that are 152mm or greater.

    WOOD SPECIES
    The primary species from which the wood floor is made. Armstrong Flooring offers a variety of species in engineered hardwood, as well as vinyl and laminate styles that resemble real wood species.

    WOOD STAIN
    A type of paint that is very "thin," or low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. Stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder.

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