Flooring Glossary for Homeowners, Contractors & Retailers

| Tiffany Stevens

This glossary covers essential flooring terms for homeowners, contractors, and other flooring retailers.


Abrasion Resistance:

A material's ability to withstand wear and tear from foot traffic.


Allowing new flooring materials to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the installation environment.

Moisture Barrier:

A material used to prevent moisture from migrating through the subfloor and damaging the flooring.


An individual board used to construct some types of flooring (hardwood, laminate, vinyl).

Square Footage (Sq. Ft.):

Unit of measurement used to calculate the area of a floor.

Square Yard (sq. yd.):

Unit of area commonly used in the flooring industry, equal to 9 sq. ft.


The structural base beneath the underlayment and flooring material.


A square or rectangular piece of flooring material (ceramic, stone, vinyl).


A layer of material installed beneath the flooring to provide cushioning, moisture protection, and sound insulation.

Wear Layer:

The top surface of some flooring materials, responsible for resisting scratches, stains, and fading.




Soft floor covering made from woven fibers, providing warmth, comfort, and sound insulation.

Ceramic Tile:

Natural clay-based tiles known for their durability, water resistance, and wide variety of styles.


Sustainable and naturally water-resistant flooring material offering comfort and sound absorption.

Engineered Hardwood:

Wood flooring with a real wood veneer top layer and a plywood core, offering stability and moisture resistance compared to solid hardwood.


Natural wood flooring planks, known for beauty, durability, and value retention.


Synthetic flooring planks with a photographic image layer topped by a wear layer, offering a wood-like aesthetic at a lower cost.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP):

Durable and waterproof vinyl planks mimicking the look of wood or stone, ideal for high-traffic areas and moisture-prone environments.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT):

Similar to LVP but in tile form, offering various design options.

Porcelain Tile:

A denser and more water-resistant type of ceramic tile, ideal for high-traffic areas and outdoor applications.

Stone Tile:

Natural stone tiles like granite or slate, offering a luxurious look but requiring special care and maintenance.

Vinyl Sheet:

Affordable and water-resistant flooring material available in various colors and patterns, commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms.



Click Lock:

A modern installation method where planks simply click together for a fast and easy installation process.

Direct Glue Down:

Installation method where flooring material is adhered directly to the subfloor with adhesive.

Floating Floor:

Installation method where flooring planks are connected but not glued down, allowing for natural expansion and contraction.


A material used to fill the spaces between tiles, providing stability and a finished look.

Tongue and Groove:

A joining system where one plank has a protruding "tongue" that fits into the groove of the next plank, creating a seamless connection.



Cashmere Backing:

A soft, felt-like backing on carpets for added comfort and sound absorption.

Janka Hardness Test:

Measures the resistance of wood to indentation and wear.

Lead Time:

The time it takes for a flooring order to be manufactured and delivered. 


Unit of measurement used to measure the thickness of flooring materials (1 mil = 1/1000 of an inch).

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ):

Minimum amount of flooring material that must be purchased from a supplier.


Decorative trim used to conceal expansion gaps and create a finished look along walls and baseboards.

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC):

Indicates a material's ability to absorb sound.

Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) Rating:

Industry standard for ceramic tile's wear resistance in different traffic areas.


Measures a material's thermal resistance, indicating its ability to insulate against heat loss.

Transition Strip:

Connects different flooring types at doorways or between rooms, providing a smooth and even surface.

Wear Layer Thickness:

Thickness of the protective layer in laminate, LVP, and LVT flooring, impacting durability.


Arko Flooring is a locally owned Pennsylvania flooring store. We offer a wide range of products from the top flooring manufacturers, at wholesale prices. 

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