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laminate glossary

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The process of leaving flooring where it will be installed for a length of time before installation, allowing it to adapt to the temperature and humidity of the area.

Acrylic Impregnated

A term used to describe wood flooring that is impregnated with acrylic monomers and then polymerized.


Dried by air without the use of special equipment.

Aluminum oxide

A type of finish used on hardwood and laminate floors that is considered to be the most durable and scratch resistant

Backing (Laminate)

A backing is the bottom layer of the flooring. It sits on the subfloor or underlayment.

Balanced Construction

A construction that has similar materials bonded to both sides of the panel, plank, or strip.

Base Shoe

A Base Shoe, also known as a shoe mold, is a molding that is attached to the base molding to cover the expansion gap.

Beveled Edge

A Beveled Edge describes the cut of an angle less than 90º on the top edge of the plank or strip, forming a very deep V shaped groove where it meets with another plank or strip on either side.


When a piece of flooring either dips down or up, making it uneven with the rest of the flooring.


Chipboard is a type of paperboard used for subfloors. It has a low density and is not usually recommended for glue-down installations.


Colorfastness is the ability of a material to resist fading or darkening from exposure to light.

Compact Laminate

A type of laminate made under extremely high pressure that has a thickness greater than or equal to 2mm.

Continuous Laminate Flooring

A type of laminate flooring in a continuous sheet that is adhered to a core.


The center of a panel which often provides its structural durability.


A condition where individual strips or planks of flooring will appear convex where the center is raised higher than the edges.


A condition where individual strips or planks of flooring will appear concave with the edges raised above the center.


A term that is used when properties of an adhesive are changed by a chemical reaction which allows it to reach its maximum strength. This is generally done by condensation, heat, or another catalyst.

Decorative Layer

A term used in floors with printed designs like laminate and vinyl. It refers to the decorative layer or high-resolution image printed on the surface of the floor that gives it its appearance.


A term that refers to failure in the adhesive of laminate flooring, causing separation in the layers.


The weight of a piece of flooring measured in lb/ft3 or kg/m3.


An indentation in the surface of your flooring.

Dimensional Stability

Refers to the structural integrity of flooring and its ability to maintain its original dimensions.

Direct Laminating Flooring

A type of laminate flooring that has resin impregnated into the surface layer.

Do it Yourself

A term used when someone chooses to self-install their flooring.

Door Jam Saw

A tool used to cut a portion of a door casing off, allowing the flooring to fit underneath.

Eased Edge

An eased edge has a 45º angle cut on the top edge of the plank or strip, forming a V shaped groove when it comes together with another plank or strip on either side. An eased edge has a slightly smaller groove than a beveled edge.


The process of texturing the surface of a panel, plank, or strip.

End cap

A transitional trim which may also be called a threshold or baby threshold, used to transition to surfaces such as carpet, fireplaces, sliding doors, and so on.

End Matched

A tongue and groove system used on the ends of strips and planks so that when butted together, the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the next piece.

End Molding/Carpet Reducer

An accessory used to transition from hard flooring surfaces to other flooring surfaces where a reducer is not high enough.


The end of a plank or strip where it joins together with the end of another plank or strip.


A term used to describe wood floors that are made from multiple layers of wood. These layers are pressed together in a "cross-grain" formation under high pressure, helping each plank resist expansion and contraction due to moisture and temperature change

Equilibrium Moisture Content

The ideal moisture content at which wood will not intake or expel moisture.


A term used to describe woods that are rare, difficult to find, and often imported from around the world. They are often very dense species of wood.


The ability of a floor to intake moisture which causes it to expand.

Expansion Gap

A space left around the perimeter of the room and other obtrusions such as pipes and built in cabinets which allows for the movement and expansion of the flooring.

Fiber Saturation Point

When drying or wetting wood, the stage in which the cell walls are full of water and the cell cavities are free of water.


A broad term used to describe a material made from wood and other vegetable fibers glued together with heat and pressure. There are different levels of density and strength known as low, medium, or high density.

Fire Resistance

A term used to describe the ability of flooring to withstand fire.

Fire Retardant

A chemical used to make a floor more fire resistant.

Floating Floor Installation

A common flooring installation method where the floor floats on an underlayment and planks are hooked together in a tongue and groove mechanism. Glue is sometimes used in the seams of the tongue and groove but the flooring is not attached to the subfloor

Glue-less Locking Tongue and Groove

A type of floating installation that does not require any glue. The boards are locked together with tongue and groove mechanism.

Glued Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring that requires the use of glue in its installation.

Hand-scraped or Hand-carved

Flooring that gets its appearance by hand scraping the surface, giving each plank a naturally time worn appearance.


The term actually does not correlate to the hardness of the wood, though hardwoods do tend to be denser and therefore sturdier than softwoods. The distinction involves how the plant reproduces. Hardwood trees are considered angiosperms, and produce seed

High Pressure Laminate Flooring

Laminate surface that is permanently bonded with high pressure to its core.

High-Density Fiberboard (HDF)

A high-strength material made of very compact wood fibers and resins that is used in the cores of flooring. Its pressure is greater than 50 lbs. per cubic feet.

Impact Resistance

The amount of resistance a floor has against damage from falling objects.


A design method that involves inserting flooring with different colors, patterns, grains, or textures to create a border, feature strip, or design.

Installation Methods

Refers to the way in which the flooring is installed in your home. There are various methods such as nail or staple down, glue down and floating installation methods.


Parallel beams below the subfloor used to support floors and ceilings.


A hollow chamber for drying wood with controlled air flow, temperature, and humidity.

Kiln Dried

Wood that is dried in a kiln with artificial heat.


A type of high density flooring that gives the appearance of hardwood, ceramic tile, stone or even brick. It generally consists of a moisture barrier, a layer of high density fiberboard, a very high resolution image, and a durable, clear layer of resin-c

Laminated Wood

A type of high density flooring that gives the appearance of hardwood. It is made similar to regular laminate but uses a thin piece of real wood instead of a high resolution image in its top layer.

Main Light Source

Refers to the main source of light in a room, generally a window or a glass door. Flooring should be installed parallel to the source so that the light shines down the length of the boards.

Manufacturing Defects

Defects that occur during production, not natural blemishes. For example, incorrectly sized boards, improperly squared edges, high moisture content upon arrival, chipped grain, machine burn, and so on.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

A type of material similar to particleboard that is used to make the core of some flooring products. It is made of wood waste fibers that are compressed and glued together under high heat and pressure.

Melamine Infused

A process where plastic is incorporated into the core board of a piece of flooring, increasing its moisture resistance and durability.

Melamine Resin

A plastic that is infused into the core of some flooring materials to increase its moisture resistance and durability.


A wood flooring term which describes the cut of an angle at approximately 45º on the top edge of a plank or strip which forms a shallow V shaped groove when it comes together with another plank or strip on either side. It is rounded on both edges a

Moisture Content

A measuring of the amount of moisture in wood or other flooring. It is calculated as a percentage of the weight of the dry wood.

Moisture Meter

A device used to measure the moisture level in flooring.


Trims which are used to cover the expansion gap or to transition to another flooring surface.

Neo-Prene Rubber

A very sound-resistant type of rubber used in underlayments.


A molding applied to the front of stairs and landings, creating a rounded finish.


A condition caused by an uneven subfloor where one plank is higher than another.

Overlapping Stair Nosing

A molding applied around the front of stairs and landings that over laps the edge of the floor itself, but is attached to the subfloor to allow the floor to expand and contract.


A product built into the top layer of flooring which gives it protection and durability. It can be many different materials such as paper, plastic, film, metal foil, and so on.


Sections of flooring.


A generic term for a material composed of wood and other vegetable material that is bound together with glue.

Pattern End Matched

When the pattern on flooring panels match up with the next panel end to end to create a continuous pattern.


When raised seams meet and form a peak.


Flooring boards that are usually 3" to 8" wide and are installed in parallel rows.


Layers of wood glued together in a cross-grain pattern, making them more resistant to expansion and contraction. They are used in engineered wood floors.

Pre-Glued Flooring

An easy to install type of flooring that has adhesive pre-applied to the back or to the tongue and groove of each piece of flooring.


The process of combining materials together using pressure.

Pull Bar

A device used to tighten tongue and groove joints.

Quarter Round

A trim placed in front of the baseboard to cover the expansion gap between the baseboard and the floor.

Radiant Heat

Also known as in-floor heating, the term refers to a heating system which uses hot water run through tubes under the subfloor, giving the floor a warm feel when walked on.

Random Length Planks

Different lengths of planks found in the same box, allowing the installer to stagger the flooring.

Relative Humidity

A measuring of the ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air to the amount it would have if it were completely saturated at the same temperature.


A material used for impregnating and bonding flooring.


The photographic material in different types of flooring that gives it its appearance. The more screens used, the more authentic the product tends to look.

Select Grade

Refers to a grade of wood flooring that has a minimum amount of knots and mineral streak.