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All Glossary Terms

Sacrificial Coating

A coating applied on the surface of a floor, providing the sealer or topcoat with an extra layer of protection from being damaged by external contaminates or abrasive materials.


A strip of stone used as a threshold.

Salt Finish

See Rock Salt Finish

Sample/Sample Board

A small piece of flooring that acts as a representation of the final product.


Using a small piece of a product as a sample.

Sand Mix

A mixture of sand and cementious material applied not more than 2"" thick to patch or level mortar beds.

Sand Screen

A product used with a buffer to sand a wood floor before sealing or recoating it. It ranges from 40-240 grit which is very fine to very coarse.

Sand Screening

A process of using a buffer and a sand screen, which can be very coarse or very fine, to sand a wood floor before sealing or recoating.

Sand-Sawn Finish

A finish achieved with the use of a gang saw combined with sand as the abrasive agent. It is relatively smooth but may contain light texturing.

Sandblast Stenciling

A design technique wherein a stencil is applied over concrete or another surface, then sandblasted to create texture in exposed areas.


Propelling sand at a high speed onto a surface to clean or roughen it.


Term used when a fine top layer is removed from a bamboo floor, usually during the manufacturing process. This allows the bamboo flooring to be prepared for finishing. Sanding a bamboo floor again in the future may or may not be needed due to how much or how little wear and tear the floor has seen. If scratches, dents or other damages are evident, sanding and refinishing are likely necessary. See also Refinished or Screen and Coat.


Sandstone - Sandstone is one of the most durable, long-lasting types of stone available. It is composed of a sedimentary rock made of feldspar and quartz. It is available in shades of white, grey, yellow, and red.


A term used to describe the wood that is toward the outside of the tree and is usually lighter in color than the wood on the inside.


A finish that appears to have a soft sheen.

Saturated Surface Dry (SSD)

A term used to describe concrete where any holes or other voids are full of water but no water is resting on the surface.

Saw-Cut Refined Finish

A finishing method achieved by sanding a stone to remove some, but not all, of the marks left from the saw. This results in a matte appearance.


The act of sawing joints or scoring concrete using a concrete saw.

Sawed Edge

An edge that is cut cleanly with a saw or blade.

Sawed Face


A floor surface obtained by using a saw to cut the slab or tile. It can vary in texture from smooth to rough.


The method in which planks or strips are milled from wood.

Sawn Veneer

Refers to the surface of an engineered wood floor that has been sawn rather than peeled. These veneers are more stable and can often be refinished more times.


A style of plush carpet that is very soft and smooth to the touch. It is made from uniform twisted cut-pile tufts. It does tend to show footprints and is not recommended for high traffic areas.


A problem that occurs when concrete freezes and thaws and the surface chips or flakes off.


A device that uses rotary impact cutters to clean or even out concrete surfaces.

Scoring Concrete

The act of using a groover or other tool to create grooves or lines in concrete, often for decoration.


Indentations or breaks caused by abrasive friction.

Scratch Coat

A base coat applied to a surface, which creates a slightly textured coating that makes other coatings applied afterward bond more tightly.


Using a straightedge or other tool to level mortar in a mortar bed.

Screed Box

A walk-behind device often used to apply an epoxy coating, similar to a lawn fertilizer spreader.

Screen and Coat

A gentle scuff sanding of the existing floor finish (top layer), followed by an application of a new coat (or coats) of finish.

Screen Printing

The method of dying carpet which involves applying color through silk-screens.


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.

Scuff Mark

The scratch-like damage that occurs from walking without lifting your feet or sliding objects across the floor.

Sculptured Tile

Tile that has been sculpted or molded for decoration.

Sealant Coating

See Sealer


A coat that is applied to the surface of a floor before applying additional coats of finish, which prevents them from being absorbed into the flooring itself.

Sealer-Wax Finish

A finish that is made of a sealer, usually varnish, combined with a wax.

Seam Sealer

A product used to seal the crack where two pieces of flooring come together. In carpet this will help prevent unraveling at the seams.

Seam Sealing

Sealing the seams or cracks of flooring, generally by applying adhesive or by heat welding with weld rods.


The cracks where tiles, planks, or strips of flooring come together.

Seasoning Bloom

See Drying Room Film

Secondary Backing

A second backing that is laminated onto the primary backing of carpet to increase dimensional stability. It could be a pad or cushion.

Sedimentary Rock

A common class of rock made from deposits that have been consolidated and crystallized, such as sandstone and limestone.


See Broadcast


Separating of components in a solution or mixture.


aka: glueless locking tongue and groove, locking tongue and groove

A grade of wood flooring that has a small amount of knots and mineral streaking, but may include sapwood.

Select Grade

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

Self-Leveling Overlay

An overlay which levels naturally by gravity rather than by using a trowel or other spreading tool.

Self-Spacing Tile

Tile that has built in spacers or lugs, making it self-spacing.

Semi-Rubbed Finish

A finish obtained by rubbing high areas of a surface down while leaving some lower areas with their natural texture.

Semi-Vitreous Tile

Semi glass-like tile with a water absorption rate between 3% and 7%.


aka: Compressed, strand, stranded

When two or more parts of a mixture are broken up into their individual parts.


The process of using heavy yarn to finish the edge of a rug by sewing in a close overcast stitch.


A rock forming mineral that often gives rocks a greenish color. Serpentine is a general term given to several minerals of a polymorphic group that generally are found in very hard stone.

Set / Setting

When a product has begun to harden, dry, or cure, it is in its initial setting. When a product is completely hardened, dried, or cured, it is called final setting.


When pigment or another solid ingredient separates from the film of a finish or other material and settles to the bottom.


Used to refer to the degree of darkness or lightness of a color. Often described as light, medium or dark shade.


A term used to describe what appears to be changes in the color of carpet but is actually different reflections of light due to the orientation of the carpet.


A condition which occurs between annual growth rings where the grain will separate.

Shaped Stone

Stone which has been cut, shaved, or shaped by any method.


Applying the stress of two forces acting in opposite directions on an object.


The process of removing any loose ends or fibers sticking out of the carpet after tufting.


A covering placed over the exterior studding or rafters in a structure.


See Fluffing


The amount of luster a surface has.


A finishing product made from resins excreted from the Lac Beetle. As a word of caution, it may become tacky in very humid area and lacks abrasion resistance, and may water spot.

Shot Blasting

A method used to clean or even out concrete surfaces, which involves shooting round iron at high speeds onto the surface.

Shot-Sawn Finish

A rough finish obtained by using a gang saw to saw random, textured markings with chilled steel shots.


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


A flat finishing piece often installed horizontally under windows and other openings.


A slightly elastic, fine grained, layered sedimentary rock composed mostly of quartz and silicate minerals.


A type of carpet made from natural plant fibers that has a woven rug look.

Skim Coat

See Microtopping


The film that rises to the surface when a finishing material dries.


A rectangular or square cut of stone from a quarry which has two parallel surfaces.


A type of sedimentary rock used in stone flooring that is made primarily from minerals of the mica group and also contains other minerals such as quartz, calcite, mica, and chlorite. It is formed when these sediments are put under pressure and heat by th


Small pieces of wood that are laid together in simple or intricate designs to form Parquet flooring.


Usually a 2"" x 4"" glued to a concrete subfloor which either a wooden subfloor or new flooring is nailed to.

Sliced Cut

One of several methods of cutting a piece of wood flooring, which tends to show a more uniform grain pattern. This method requires that the wood is presoaked, which can alter the natural color and also cause it to splinter.

Slip Resistance

A measurement of the frictional resistance of an object from moving across a surface.


A small strip inserted in a groove when the installer wants to reverse the direction of the wood they are installing. This results in two grooves butting up and this strip acts as a tongue for both grooves.


A measurement of how thick or thin wet concrete is by measuring how far it flows.

Small Knot

A knot less than ""- ¾"" in diameter.

Smooth Finish / Smooth Planer Finish

A finish obtained using a planer machine with all tool marks removed after use.


A type of stone composed mainly of talc, chlorite, magnesite, and dolomite. It has a soft feel almost like a bar of soap and is often used for bathtubs, hearths, flooring, and so on.


The visible underside of an arch, portico, or other piece generally installed over a door way.


Softwoods are coniferous trees that are considered gymnosperms and they produce seeds that do not have a covering and keep their leaves year round, such as pine trees. The term does not relate to the hardness of the wood, although they do tend to be softer than hardwoods.

Soil Retardant

A substance applied to carpet that makes it less likely to hold dirt and debris.

Solid Board Group 1

Solid Board Group 1 A group of wood species known to be very strong and stiff.

Solid Floors

A solid floor is defined as flooring made using one solid section of a single hardwood species. Bamboo flooring is often considered a solid floor to differ itself for the traditional engineered floor; however, solid bamboo is engineered because it is made from many layers of strips of bamboo.


A substance that other substances are dissolved in.

Sound Knot

When wood is parallel to the long axis of a knot, elongating it.

Sound Stone

Stone free of physical defects.


Small device in a cross, T, or Y shape that is used to evenly space tiles during installation.


Describes concrete that has cracked and broken away at its joints.


Generally smaller sized stones used to fill holes or voids in flooring that consist of larger pieces arranged together.

Special Purpose Tile

Tile that has been specially made to fit a certain requirement. This can range from a specific color, size, shape, decoration, strength, or other physical property.


Refers to a variety of wood. For example, red oak, maple, and ash are species.

Spiked Kneeboards

Kneeboards that have spikes attached on the underside to elevate the user off the surface of the floor.

Spiked Roller

A device that looks like a paint roller but has spikes built in that release trapped gas when rolled across concrete.

Splatter Coat

A finishing coat that is splattered unto the floor to create a unique appearance.


A condition in which wood fiber separates parallel to the grain.

Split Faced Finish / Split Face Stone

Taking stone from the quarry, cutting it to a specific height in large chunks, and breaking those chunks in slices to expose the natural cleft. This finish has a slightly rough texture.

Spray-Down System

An overlay that is splattered or sprayed onto a flooring surface, usually about 1/8"" deep.


Small tufts or loops that protrude above the pile surface and can be easily clipped with scissors.

Square Edge

A square-shaped edge that does not contain a tongue or groove.

Square Joint

aka: micro-beveled, microbeveled, micro bevel

Flooring that does not have a beveled or eased edge.

Square Nosing / Universal Edge

A trim used when a hard surface floor meets up to another surface where the edge will be exposed, such as carpet or a fireplace.


A term generally used in parquet flooring, meaning a unit of smaller pieces of wood bonded together.

Squaring Up

Making sure the first row of flooring is parallel and perpendicular to the walls to ensure that the rest of the flooring is as well.


The ability of an object to not have a reaction to forces or other variations applied to it.


A transparent or semitransparent product that changes the color of wood but does not affect the texture or markings.

Stained Concrete

Concrete that has been stained. Different areas can be separated by sawcutting grooves and then colored different colors.


The act of applying a transparent or semitransparent product that changes the color of wood but does not affect texture or markings.

Stair Landing

The flat surface that breaks up a set of stairs.

Stair Riser

A stair riser closes the space between individual stair treads along the vertical face of a step on a flight of stairs.

Stair Tread

A stair tread is a horizontal piece of material used in a staircase where one's foot is placed.


This curved trim goes on the edge of each stair tread, allowing you to install bamboo flooring as stairs.

Stamped Concrete

Concrete that is given a pattern of brick, cobblestone, tile, wood, or another surface by using a stamp.

Stamped Overlay

A concrete overlay "" ¾"" thick that can be laid over an existing concrete floor. The overlay is stamped with a pattern to appear as brick, stone, wood, or many other textured surfaces.

Stamping Mats

Mats usually made from polyurethane that are used to imprint shallow patterns that resemble brick, stone, wood, or another textured surface.

Staple Fiber

Small pieces of fiber that can be converted into yarn using a yarn spinning process.


An installation method typically known as "stapled down" that attaches a wooden subfloor to a wooden subfloor. Stapling is done with an air powered nail gun that can be found in many equipment rental stores. This installation method is similar to the nail down process.

Stapled Down

A flooring installation method that used staples to affix the flooring to the subfloor.

Static Cracks

Small hairline cracks in the surface of a finishing material or concrete.

Static Loads

Weight from a heavy object that remains stationary on your floor for an extended period of time.

Stenciled Concrete

A design technique where a stencil is applied over concrete, which may contain a pattern that is imprinted into the cement or may leave an exposed area that is then colored or etched.


The binding together of chunks or pieces of stone with a cementious material.


The act of making a tuft in carpeting.

Stitch Rate

A measurement of how many tufts of yarn are in a certain amount of carpet. It is usually measured in tufts per inch. 7-8 tufts per inch is ideal while 3-4 is low quality.


Refers to a block, slab, or fragment of rock that is used commercially.

Stone Tile

Stone flooring available typically in uniform, square dimensions such as 12""x12"" or 16""x16"".

Stop Mark

A mark left on the floor as a result of a drum or belt sander being left too long without moving.

Straight 90° Edge

An edge of a tile that forms a right angle, creating a clean look.

Straight Joint

Joints installed in alignment with each other.


A tool with a straight edge that is used to strike off wet concrete to the correct elevation, to draw a straight line, or for many other purposes.

Strand Woven

A manufactured process of compressing long strips of bamboo together. Strand woven flooring is a durable and dense floor which is considered twice as hard as red oak and traditional bamboo flooring.


A rock structure that has been naturally formed in layers, wedges, or other units.


See Mineral Streaks


A method of installing carpet that involves stretching it over a tack-less strip which catches and holds the carpet in place.


The act of leveling wet concrete to the correct elevation.


Strip refers to flooring with a board width of 3 ¾"" or less.

Strip Flooring

Flooring sold in various thickness and widths, which is usually less than 3"" wide.

Strip Rubble

Rock generally removed from a ledge which is then split into strips by machine, making uniform stone slabs.


Strips are referred to the amount of individual bamboo slats making up the entire width of a bamboo floor board.

Structural Defect

A defect in the body of flooring which diminishes the overall appearance or structural integrity.

Structural Placement

Structural placement is defined as the different grades of a building or individual home where a floor is able of to be installed. An example of this would be ""below grade"" which is the basement level, ""on grade"" is known as the first floor, and ""above grade"" is the second floor or higher.


A piece of wood used as a support.


A waxy material which is the key component in the makeup of the cells in cork and is responsible for the moisture resistance of cork flooring. Suberin is also what makes cork insect resistant and adds a level of fire resistance.


A subfloor is described as the base floor of a given structure. Typically subfloors are made up of concrete or wood products such as plywood, OSB board, etc. Bamboo floors are then installed over the subfloor.


The surface that the flooring is installed on, generally the subfloor.


The exterior layer of flooring, and the area that you see and walk on.

Surface Drying

When a coating dries on top but may still be soft inside.

Surface Preparation

The act of preparing a subfloor by cleaning, drying, and texturizing it for proper adhesion before applying a coating material.

Surface Retarder

A chemical that slows the drying of lacquers and other materials, which is often applied to concrete to allow the cement paste to be washed away, exposing aggregate.

Surface Tension

A property of the surface of a liquid that causes it to behave as an elastic membrane.


Sustainability is a process that allows a resource to be used no more than it can be replaced in a reasonable period of time. Bamboo plants are sustainable as they regenerate in a relatively short period for future harvests.

Swedish Finish

A finish usually applied after installation that contains an acid curing conversion varnish. This type of finish is very stain, water and spot resistant.


Made of chemical, man-made products instead of natural materials.