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Laminate Flooring Glossary

A B C D E F G H L M P R S T U V W

A

ABOVE GRADE

A term used to describe laminate flooring installed above ground level.

Abrasion

Wearing away of the finish of laminate flooring. Severe abrasion can result in damage to the top coat layer.

Adhesive

A bonding material used to hold the layers of laminate flooring together.

Aluminum Oxide

Material used as a top coat finish for laminate flooring. Aluminum oxide is a strong protective coating on laminate and other flooring, resistant to scratching, fading, moisture and daily wear and tear. Reduces damage to the layers below to provide a long lasting laminate flooring product.

AC Rating /Abrasion Classification

Used to characterize the durability and abrasion resistance level in laminate floors. For more information, see our AC Rating page

B

Below Grade

Used to describe flooring installed below ground level, e.g. in a basement.

Bottom Layer

A moisture resistant final layer between the laminate flooring and the subfloor, generally made of melamine, which helps support and stabilize the structure of the laminate flooring.

Board Width

The measurement of the laminate board from side to side.

C

Core Layer

Largest layer of laminate flooring, constructed using High Density Fiberboard or HDF to add stability and strength.

D

Durability

How a flooring product will hold up to everyday wear and tear.

E

Embossed Finish

The process of creating a raised impression to the top layer, helping the grain mimic the look and feel of solid hardwood. For more information, see our laminate finishes page.

F

Fade-resistance

Describes laminate flooring’s ability to resist most fading from UV rays in sunny rooms.

Finish

Applied to the top coat layer of the laminate flooring, and can be high-gloss, hand scraped or embossed to provide different visual effects. For more information, see our laminate finishes page.

Floating Floor

Flooring – like laminate flooring – that is not secured or attached to the subfloor, as it “floats” above the subfloor using a click and lock system.

Foot Traffic

The average amount of walking or use that will be done on the floor – for example, family rooms generally have high foot traffic, while basements used for storage tend to have lower foot traffic.

G

Gloss

The sheen of the top coat finish.

Grains

The unique pattern that shows through in the visual layer of laminate flooring, meant to simulate solid wood, represented by lines and knots.

H

Hand-Scraped Finish

Created by scraping the laminate planks to create an aged and worn look, which mimics a technique used to give solid hardwood flooring a “rustic” look. Laminate planks are scraped using a press, making hand scraped finishes a type of embossing.

HDF

High Density Fiberboard, made of compressed wood particles, resins, polymers and plastics which help with water resistance in laminate. Uses both hard and soft wood from manufacturing scraps.

High-Gloss Finish

Provides a smooth, clean look that is highly durable and resistant to most scratches. Often referred to as a “piano finish” for the sheen and smoothness resembling piano keys.

M

Mold-Resistance

The ability to resist the growth of mold.

Mildew-Resistance

The ability to resist the growth of mildew.

P

Plank

A section of laminate flooring, made to resemble the typical planks found in hardwood flooring. There may be a number of impressions of real wood boards on one plank, giving the appearance of multiple pieces of flooring, but in reality, it is a single piece.

R

Repairs

May be necessary to sections of laminate flooring when flooding or damage occurs. A flooring professional can replace the damaged portion to help restore the look of a new laminate floor. This includes minor damage like scratches or dents on a single laminate plank to major damage like flooding on a large portion of the floor.

S

Scratch-Resistance

Laminate flooring is tested for its durability and how it will perform under a variety of circumstances. When scratched by a variety of objects, laminate does not easily succumb or appear damaged.

Stains

Although laminate flooring is extremely durable and resistant to most stains, certain liquids and substances can stain the top coat layer. A stain is a change or discoloration of the top coat finish layer that has a different coloring than the rest of the floor. Stains are typically caused by substances and liquids not being cleaned up quickly.

Stain-resistance

Laminate floors are tested for their ability to avoid most cases of staining or discoloration using a variety of substances. In general, laminate flooring does not stain easily.

Subfloor

The layer of the floor installed during construction. The basement or commercial buildings will usually have concrete subfloors, but most other rooms will have a plywood subfloor. A dry, level subfloor is required for installing laminate floors. The underlayment on laminate flooring can help even the subfloor when there are minor imperfections.

T

Tongue and Groove

The edge of the laminate flooring that is used in the click-and-lock system.

Top Coat

Uppermost layer of laminate flooring, made using a translucent, clear finish. The top coat protects the layers below from damage and increases the overall durability of the laminate floor.

U

Underlayment

Sometimes referred to as padding or cushion; the material used beneath the bottom layer and the subfloor. Underlayment used with laminate flooring is made of composite filaments and fibers with a vapor barrier top layer to absorb moisture to keep the laminate floor dry.

V

Visual Layer

A high resolution 3D photograph of real, natural wood grain. The highly detailed and realistic images provide the look and texture closely resembling real wood.

W

Wear and Tear

Describes the effect that everyday living has on laminate flooring. Walking, cleaning, family, pets, furniture moving are all examples of what can cause wear and tear on flooring.
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