Flooring Glossary for Homeowners, Contractors & Retailers

| Tiffany Stevens

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

GENERAL FLOORING TERMS

Abrasion Resistance:

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

Acclimation:

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.

Plank:

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.

Subfloor:

The structural base beneath the underlayment and flooring material.

Tile:

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

Underlayment:

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.

 

FLOORING MATERIAL TYPES

Carpet:

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.

Cork:

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.

Hardwood:

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

Laminate:

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.

 

FLOORING INSTALLATION TERMS

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.

Grout:

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.

 

ADDITIONAL FLOORING TERMS

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. 

Mil:

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.

Molding:

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.

R-Value:

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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