Flooring Glossary

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

    ACRYLIC INFUSED
    When the gaps in wood cells are filled in with acrylic, to make the wood species harder and more dent resistant.

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

    ALTERNA
    An innovative engineered stone floor by Armstrong Flooring, designed for homeowners who want the beauty, durability and feel of ceramic tile, but with a more comfortable feel underfoot. Alterna can be installed with or without grout.

    ARMAFELT
    A felt composition backing that allows installation of vinyl sheet flooring on all grade levels. The floor is bonded to the subfloor either by spreading adhesive under the entire floor, or by using adhesive only around the perimeter and at the seams.

    ARMAFELT OPTIONS
    An Armstrong Flooring installation system for residential vinyl sheet flooring with the Armafelt backing. Armafelt Options provides the option of installing some residential Armafelt backed floors with adhesive under the entire area of the floor (full spread) or just around the perimeter (perimeter bond). Because some of these floors can be installed using less adhesive, installation may be faster.

    ARMALOCK® INSTALLATION SYSTEM
    The strongest laminate locking system in the industry, with a locking strength of 670 pounds per linear foot, so it’s guaranteed not to unlock at the seams. 20 to 30 year warranty included.

    ARMSTRONG FLOORING CERTIFIED INSTALLERS
    Floor covering professionals who have been specially trained and certified to install any Armstrong Flooring product. These installers must pass a rigorous hands-on and written exam, receive ongoing product information and support from Armstrong Flooring, have access to a network of additional experts located in your area, and stand behind their work (as Armstrong stands behind them).

  • BASE-SHOE COMBO
    A finishing molding piece used along the outer most edges of the floor where it meets the wall.

    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 boards that make up the floor. “Strips” are narrow boards measuring less than 3 inches wide. “Planks” are wider boards measuring more than 3 inches wide. "Wide plank hardwood flooring” refers to wood boards that are more than 5 inches wide.

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

    CLEANSWEEP®
    A patented wear surface that is engineered for easy cleaning and maintenance. No waxing, polishing or buffing is needed — just vacuuming or sweeping with an occasional wash. Resists household stains caused by things like mustard, shoe polish, lipstick and foot traffic.

    CLEANSWEEP® PLUS
    A patented wear surface with the stain resistance of CleanSweep, plus added protection against scratching and scuffing.

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

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

    CUSHIONCORE™
    Soft and thick floor backing for superior underfoot comfort.

  • DIAMOND 10® TECHNOLOGY
    Armstrong Flooring’s patent-pending finish that’s made with real cultured diamonds for superior scratch resistance. It’s available on select products within our hardwood, luxury vinyl tile and vinyl sheet flooring categories.

    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. See distressed wood flooring.

    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 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 (eased), 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 colors. 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 basements or 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 color due to exposure to light, heat or other destructive agents.

    FASTAK™
    This term is used with Luxe Plank luxury vinyl and indicates the type of installation technology used with this flooring. Floors with FasTak have repositionable, pressure-sensitive adhesive applied to the planks. To install, you simply remove the release paper then press the planks or tiles into place over the subfloor.

    FIBERGLASS
    A type of backing for vinyl sheet flooring that allows the floor to lay flat. Fiberglass-backed vinyl sheet can be installed anywhere in the home, including below grade, and can be installed as a loose lay or modified loose lay using Glass-Tac tape or Armstrong S-288 or S-289 adhesive.

    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
    Screw-on 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 prevented 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, hardwood or Luxe Plank flooring for sound reduction and smoothing of minor subfloor irregularities.

    FULL BATHROOM
    A bathroom with sink, toilet and bathing facilities including one or more of the following: shower, bathtub, Jacuzzi/whirlpool, spa, sauna.

    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.

  • G3™ WEAR LAYER
    This durable wear layer protects against wear, stains and fading.

    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.

  • HALF BATHROOM
    A bathroom with a sink and toilet.

    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. See hand-scraped hardwood flooring.

    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. Read about the wood hardness scale.

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

    HI-DEFINITION PRINT TECHNOLOGY™
    Print technology used to create extremely realistic patterns. Colors 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). See Grade Level.

    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.  

    INTEGRILOCK™ SYSTEM
    The new patented installation system from Armstrong Flooring used with Vivero™ Better and Best luxury flooring. This system, which is produced under license from Välinge Innovation, is the first locking system of its kind in luxury flooring — planks or tiles simply snap together for a quick and secure installation.

  • 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 ensures the floor stays flat, even when exposed to bottom-up moisture, which is particularly common with installations over concrete.

    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 most existing floors, including concrete, ceramic tile, vinyl, wood and even some indoor/outdoor carpet, except high pile carpet.

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

    LINOLEUM
    A type of flooring composed of oxidized linseed oil, mixed with cork or wood flour, mineral filler and pigments, and bonded to a jute backing.

    LOCK&FOLD™ TECHNOLOGY
    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.

    LOOSE LAY (AND MODIFIED LOOSE LAY)
    An installation method for all vinyl sheet floors (except felt-backed vinyl sheet) where adhesive is not necessary or tape should be used in strategic spots, such as under appliances.

    LUXE PLANK®
    A luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring collection that is easy to install and comes in realistic wood-look and stone-look designs in a variety of shapes and sizes.

    LUXURY VINYL TILE (LVT)
    A type of vinyl floor tile and/or plank with wood-look or natural stone-look designs protected by either a durable urethane wear layer or our Diamond 10® Technology for superior scratch resistance. LVT products are available in a variety of performance levels and installation methods.

  • MAGNUM HDF™ CORE
    All Bruce laminate floors have a Magnum HDF Core with thermofused backing that forms a moisture barrier. There’s no need to worry about spills soaking in or moisture wicking up from the subfloor. The Magnum HDF Core also eliminates the need to acclimate planks in the home environment so you can buy it and install it the same day.

    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.

    MASTERWORKS TECHNOLOGY® WITH VTX™
    A variable texture technology that delivers a range of realistic textures and gloss levels with an incredibly natural feel. Available only on Armstrong Flooring brand vinyl sheet and some laminate floors.

    MILDEW PROTECTION
    Characteristic of Armstrong Flooring vinyl floor backing that protects against color or pattern discoloration caused by mildew, mold or alkali.

    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.

    OSB (ORIENTED STRAND BOARD)
    An acronym for Oriented Strand Board, OSB is an engineered hardwood similar to plywood. The name comes from how it’s produced — through strands of wood being layered in specific directions.

  • PARQUET
    Inlaid woodwork in geometric forms, sometimes of contrasting woods, used in flooring. A common example is individual pickets of wood flooring, adhered together in groups of six pickets — then four picketed squares are alternately adhered to form a tile pattern.

    PEEL ‘N STICK
    A term used for self-adhesive tile that does not require adhesive for installation. Tiles have a peel-off backing that, once removed, uncovers adhesive on the tile’s underside. These tiles are easy to stick to the floor, but can be difficult to remove.

    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.

    PERMION®
    A hardwood floor finish that contains a high level of aluminum oxide for superior resistance to surface wear-through.

    PLANK
    Board widths that are 3" in width or greater.

    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. Armstrong Flooring recommends the use of APA Underlayment Grade plywood with the installation of our resilient floors.

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

    PREFINISHED
    Hardwood floors that are stained with color 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.

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

  • QUARTER-ROUND MOLDING
    A curved molding that covers the seams or expansion space where flooring meets with baseboards, cabinets and steps.

    QUIET COMFORT UNDERLAYMENT PREMIUM
    A premium underlayment option for Armstrong Flooring laminate products that provides sound-absorbing insulation and compensates for slight subfloor irregularities. Also available:  standard Quiet Comfort Underlayment and Quiet Comfort Luxury Flooring Underlayment (for luxury vinyl tile and plank products).

  • REDUCER STRIP
    A multi-purpose molding with a slight slope designed to make a smooth transition between floors of different heights or different types of flooring, such as between laminate or hardwood and carpet. It is also used as a design element around fireplaces, doorways and other vertical surfaces, and as a room divider.

    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.

    SEAM SEALER
    Liquid compound that fuses the seamed edges of vinyl tile and vinyl sheet flooring together.

    SITE FINISHED
    Hardwood floors that are stained with color 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. Tile spacers are used during the installation of groutable engineered stone floors to ensure tiles are laid with the appropriate grout joint spacing.

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

    STEP NOSE
    Used where the flooring meets a step down or landing to protect the edges and provided a finished look. Different from stair nose, step nose has a slightly raised profile that overlaps the flat flooring surface. It is also referred to as “overlap step nose.”

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

    STRIP
    Board widths that are less than 3" in width.

    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.

  • T-MOLDING
    A molding used as a transition piece from one flooring surface to another of equal height or to join hardwood floors between two rooms, such as in doorways. T-molding can also be used to conceal joints left for expansion and contraction.

    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.

    THRESHOLD
    Also known as a baby threshold, this molding is commonly used in doorways to finish the edge where flooring ends. It hides seams against sliding door tracks, fireplaces, carpet and tile, and provides a smooth transition between floors of different heights. It can also be used where quarter round molding and wall base molding cannot be used.

    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.

  • VAPARREST™
    An Armstrong exclusive installation aid for sealing concrete that has excess moisture, prior to installing the floor.

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

    VINYL NO-WAX
    A surface that protects the color and pattern of the floor, but needs floor polish to maintain a high gloss.

    VINYL TILE
    DIY-friendly resilient flooring, usually measuring 12" x 12". Most vinyl tile is peel-and-stick, for easy installation.

    VISIONGUARD™
    An easy-to-clean surface that protects the floor from stains, fading or wear, and resists scuffs in normal household use. Available only on Armstrong Flooring brand laminate and vinyl sheet 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 5” or greater.

    WOOD SPECIES
    The primary species from which the wood floor is made. Armstrong Flooring offers a variety of species in solid and 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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