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All Glossary Terms

Back Butter

The act of applying a layer of glue or adhesive to the back of a tile before installation.


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


The area of wall behind a counter or sink.

Balanced Construction

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

Balanced Cuts

Tile that is cut to fit where full tiles will not.


Strips of decorative concrete that range from 6""-24"" wide which are used to provide a contrast to the concrete field.


Bark - The outermost layer of a tree trunk, branch, or twig. Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree.


A word used to describe tiles that are cut and placed where a baseboard would normally go.

Base Shoe

Also known as a shoe mold, these moldings are attached to the base molding to cover the expansion gap.

Bastard Sawn

See Rift Sawn


Area in a house that is used for toiletry and hygiene.


A floor trim similar to a baseboard.

Beating Block

A block of wood often used with a mallet to firmly embed tiles into an adhesive.


Area in the house often used for relaxing, sleeping, and dressing.

Below Grade

Any floor that is below the level of the ground is referred to as below grade.


A level or multilevel loop style carpet that has a very full, comfortable feel. It often has tiny specks of color contrasting a base color. It is made of nylon, olefin, or a mix of various fibers.


See Select

Beveled Edge

A wood flooring term describing the cut of an angle less than 90 on the top edge of the plank or strip. These angled edges form a very deep V-shaped groove when they come together with another beveled edge plank or strip on either side.


A strip that is used to protect or add strength that is sewn on the edge of carpet.

Bird's Eye

A character found in rare and expensive cuts of maple where the grain comes together in small circles.

Black Granite

Stone composed of interlocking crystals which has a dark gray or black color. It is actually not true granite as it contains little or no alkalic feldspar.

Bleached/White Washed Floors

Wood floors that are lightened in color using wood bleach, white stain, or a combination of both.

Bleed Back

A problem that occurs when stain or finish penetrates too deep, generally in spring wood, which causes it to cure slowly due to lack of air flow. When the environment becomes humid, the cells in the wood take in moisture and expand, forcing the uncured stain through the surface where it forms small droplets.

Bleed Water

A term that describes water rising to the surface of drying concrete, which may interfere with finishing procedures.


When the color of a coating material contaminates other coats.

Blind Nail

A process where a nail is hammered through the tongue of a piece of flooring down into the subfloor, which is then hidden by the groove of the next piece.


A condition that occurs when gas or vapor forms under the film of a finishing product causing bubbles or pimples. It is usually due to excessive heat, moisture, or contamination.


Linoleum flooring develops a slight yellowish film when there is a lack of light for an extended period of time. It returns to its natural color when light is brought back into contact with the flooring.


The appearance of white or grayish formations when using a spirit finish caused by excessive humidity or by use of an incompatible solvent.


Think of the volume of a piece of wood that is 12"" x 12"" x 1"" or 144 square inches. A board-foot equals that same volume regardless of its surface area. So, a board-foot of a piece of wood that is over 1"" thick will have a smaller surface area and you will need more board-feet than you would square feet to cover the same area. If the wood is less than 1"" thick it is counted as 1"" regardless. It is a little confusing which is why most flooring is sold by the square feet of the surface area and not by volume or board-feet.


A term that describes the fullness of a finishing material.


The adhesion of one material to another.

Bond Breaker

A substance that prevents adhesion of one material to another.

Bonding Agent

A substance that increases the adherence of a material.

Border Stone

A piece of stone that is used to create a border and is often a different color or shade than the other pieces.


A design inlaid in the floor which can be simple or intricate and visually frames the floor.


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


Tossing a material into the air and letting it fall onto wet concrete to add color or texture.


Carpet that comes in rolls wider than 6 feet. Usual widths are 12', 13'6"", and 15'.

Broom Finish

A non-slip texture applied to the surface of wet concrete by pushing a broom across.


A type of sandstone used for stone flooring that has large amounts of iron oxide which gives it a reddish-brown color.

Brush Marks

Marks left in the finish when it is brushed after it has begun to dry.


The ability to apply finish or other material with a brush without leaving brush marks on other uncured layers.

Brushed Finish

A finishing technique that involves brushing a flooring surface with an abrasive brush to replicate the appearance of natural wear.


Bubbles in the finish of a floor caused by air entering the finish before curing.


When flooring expands from high humidity to the point where it has nowhere to expand any further and buckles upward.


A machine used for fine sanding.


The thickness or fullness of a finished product.

Build Coat

When extra coats of a finishing material are applied over the sealer or color to build up the fullness of the finished look.


Areas of a floor which experience less foot traffic and are less worn but are coated with finish as often as other areas, leaving a buildup of product and often resulting in a darker appearance.

Building Stone

Natural rock as it is found in the Earth's crust that can be cut into different dimensions for different uses.

Bulked Continuous Filament (BCF)

Yarn bundles that are formed from continuous strands of fiber and then texturized to increase overall bulk.

Bull Float

A device that has a large rectangular plank on the end of a long handle. This floats over the concrete to smooth uneven spots or embed aggregate and dry-shake products.

Bull Nose Tiles

Tiles with built in bull nosing, also known as caps.

Bull Nosing

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


A natural characteristic of wood where the grain appears to swirl or twist but does not contain a knot.


Fine sanding with speeds in excess of 2000 RPM.

Bush Hammer

A mallet or hammer with pyramid-shaped points that is often used to roughen wet concrete.

Butt Joint

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


See Back Buttering