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Home / Common Questions / Flooring Glossary

Flooring Glossary

As you are exploring Twenty & Oak, you will come across plenty of terms which may be unique to the flooring industry.  We have cross-referenced these terms from our Education and Inspiration articles to our Glossary for added assistance during your selection process.

Glossary of Terms

This is the process of bringing the temperature of a product up or down to closely match that of the environment where it is being installed, before installation, and is typically 24-48 hours.  This is especially important for hardwood flooring since it is a natural product and movement is expected as seasonal temperatures fluctuate.  Other types of material may be brittle when exposed to long-term cold temperatures, and you may have an installation disaster if the material is not brought to room temperature.  These products have various acclimation time requirements, depending on the construction.  Regardless of the product, your installer should carefully follow manufacturers’ recommendations regarding acclimation time.

Ceramic Bead Overlay
Microscopic ceramic particles suspended in a clear liquid overlay for superior wear resistance. *

The natural visual interest in a hardwood floor.  This can include any or all of the following:  natural color variations, random grain patterns, and knots.

Cup or Crown
The natural result of expansion or contraction of hardwood material when exposed to uncontrolled climates.

Various methods, using hand tools or machinery, create chatter marks and other markings on hardwood to create a time-worn visual.  Distressing is created on laminate and vinyl floors using embossing technology.

Edge Treatments
Eased or beveled edges and/or ends help hide minor irregularities, such as slightly irregular subfloors.  Usually preferred over “square edges,” this treatment is present either as a 2-sided or 4-sided bevel on various plank and tile collections. However, square edges make seams less visible, and with hardwood can make a refinishing process a little easier.

Embossed in Register (or In-Register Embossing)
An embossing (stamping) process that produces texture which actually follows the pattern in the design image on a non-natural product, such as vinyl.  This technology adds ultimate realism to achieve the look and texture of a natural wood or stone material.  For example, Beauflor's waterproof flooring collection.

Dimensional stability is achieved with multiple layers of cross constructed wood veneers with the stained specie of choice on the top. The cross-layer construction of the veneers is designed to reduce expansion and contraction.

Referred to in “mils,” the gauge is the overall thickness of a product, such as sheet vinyl, vinyl planks and tiles, and rigid core products.  Not to be confused with a millimeter, a mil is equivalent to one thousandth of an inch, and is a manufacturing measurement term.

Gloss Level
The level of poly urethane coating as it relates to the amount of light that it will reflect.  Matte, low gloss, semi-gloss and high gloss are all relative terms to the gloss level of any type of hardwood or vinyl flooring.

Rigid Core
Providing many of the durability attributes of a true waterproof product, this material is in the format of a dense, solid polymer core (SPC) or a light-weight foam expanded polymer core (WPC).  Dent resistance, dimensional stability, warmth and softness are varied, according to the construction of this core and/or the presence of a pre-attached pad.*  Examples are Palmetto Road's Impact and Inspire collections, and Beauflor's Pure collection.
*Floor Covering Weekly, Lauren Moore, March 19, 2018

The top surface of each hardwood flooring plank is randomly scraped, by machine or by hand, to create a distressed design that adds visual interest.  Laminate or vinyl products are also available with this visual, mimicked with embossing technology.

Screen and Re-Coat
The protective urethane is removed from a hardwood finish and a new coat of urethane can replace scratched, worn surfaces for a fresh, renewed look.  This process can be achieved on any solid or engineered hardwood floor.

A solid plank of lumber that is milled to a uniform thickness and width.

Usually a plywood or particle board product, this is the layer of floor that sits on top of floor joists when a structure is built on a crawl space.  The quality of this product is often relative to the performance of the chosen floor covering.

Surface Treatment
Distressing, scraping, wire brushing, sawmarking, and antiquing are all examples of surface treatments.  These are achieved on hardwood either by hand or by machine, and by embossing technology on other types of flooring.  Any of these textural treatments add visual interest, can conceal wear or scratching, and add realism to the design.  A combination of these treatments are offered in several collections, which enhances these attributes.  Examples of combined treatment products are the Riviera collection and the River Ridge collection, both by Palmetto Road.

Tongue and Groove
The molded edges of hardwood or vinyl planks designed to create a locking system for concealing shrinkage and achieving a flush installation.

A product that is laid between the subfloor (or concrete) and the chosen floor covering to ensure certain performance attributes.  Moisture issues, subfloor imperfections and sound can all be improved with various types of underlayment manufactured for these purposes.

UV Cured Urethane with Aluminum Oxide
A poly urethane coating is applied over the stain on a hardwood plank, and cured with ultra violet lighting.  For increased durability and protection, Aluminum Oxide (a naturally derived mineral) is added.  The combination results in a hardwood floor that can carry a 25 to 50-year finish warranty.

Wire Brushing
Each hardwood plank is run through machinery that applies a wire brush to the surface, removing the softest grain of the hardwood.  This creates visual interest, increased durability and will also conceal scratches on hardwood.  Laminate and vinyl flooring are also available with this added visual, which is achieved with embossing technology.

Wear Layer
Usually the second layer from the top, in a vinyl or rigid core construction, this layer performs against wear, rips, tears, gouges and indentations.  The surface of this layer is covered with a finish that protects against scratches, scuffs and stains.
Wear Layer – Hardwood
Also referred to as the “face,” this engineered hardwood layer is the stained specie of choice, with cross layers of veneers underneath.  Ranging usually from 1 millimeter to a little over 4 millimeters, the thickness of the wear layer can determine price range and warranty longevity.  For example, Veranda's Charleston collection has a 4 mm wear layer, all of Somerset's engineered collections have a 3 mm wear layer and Hearthwood collections offer 1.5 and 2.5 mm options.

Photo Credits: iStock
Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts

Twenty & Oak Flooring Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.

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