Resilient flooring terminology as used for resilient flooring products and installations. This category includes sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl, vinyl composition, linoleum, rubber and cork flooring. Within each of these categories there is a variety of products. Some of these products are similar though the a manufacturer chooses to identify them differently for their own marketing purposes.
Dictionary of Flooring Terms
Above-Grade: Pertaining to the location of a finished floor where the floor is not in contact with the ground. Generally considered to provide at least 18 inches of well ventilated space.
Abrasion: Wearing, grinding, or rubbing away by friction.
Across Machine Direction: The direction perpendicular to which a product moves through the manufacturing process.
Asphalt Tile: An obsolete floor surfacing unit composed of asphalt or hydrocarbon resins, or both, crysotile asbestos fibers, mineral fillers, and pigments.
Adhesive: A substance that bonds the floor to the subfloor.
Adhered: (See Perimeter Adhered)
Aluminum Oxide: Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
Backing: Vinyl is constructed of several different layers. Backing being the bottom layer. The wear layer, the printed or decorative layer, an inner core, vinyl layer, and backing. The type of backing determines how it can be installed.
Below-Grade: Pertaining to the location of a finished floor that is in direct contact with the ground or with less than 18 inches of well-ventilated space.
Concrete: A hard, strong material made by mixing a cementing material (commonly Portland cement) and a mineral aggregate (as washed sand and gravel or broken rock) with sufficient water to cause the cement to set and bind the entire mass.
Coefficient of Friction: The ration of the tangential force that is needed to start or maintain uniform relative motion between two contacting surfaces to the perpendicular force holding them in contact.
Cork: The bark of a tree commonly known as Cork Oak and native to the Mediterranean region. The bark naturally splits every 9 to 15 years. Barks can be safely harvested without harming the tree. Cork is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew.
Cork Tile: A floor surfacing unit made from natural cork shavings compressed and baked to be thoroughly and uniformly bonded together.
Cushioned Vinyl: Flooring Any vinyl sheet floor covering incorporating a foam layer as part of its construction.
Dimensional Stability: The ability of resilient flooring to retain its original dimensions during the service life of the product.
Decorative Layer: The rotogravure printing process offers a multitude of design possibilities. Decorative layer expresses designs such as patterns, geometrics, natural stone designs and more.
Distressed Visual: A design term that describes an aged, timeworn look.
Drying Room (linoleum “bloom”) A term describing the yellow-cast color linoleum has on the surface before it is exposed to ultraviolet light. The color is a natural effect produced by the floor’s composition. This film, or bloom, will disappear after the floor is exposed to light for a few hours.
Embossed in Register: A manufacturing process that intensifies the depth, texture and realistic look of the floor by aligning the embossing with the printed design.
Fiberglass: An encapsulated glass rotovinyl (printed) flooring designed to be installed using Glass-Tac tape as the adhesive.
Flexibility: The ability to be bent, turned, or twisted without cracking, breaking or showing other permanent damage. And with or without returning of itself to its former shape.
Floating Floor: A floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. And can be installed over most existing floors. This includes concrete, ceramic, vinyl, wood and even some indoor/outdoor carpet, except high pile carpet.
Floor Protectors: Screw-on attachments for the bottom of chair and table legs. Distributes the weight of furniture evenly to reduce indentations in resilient floors. Abrasions can be prevented with unique, replaceable felt pads on the floor protectors.
FloorScore®: Certification FloorScore is a registered trademark of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. Products with FloorScore certification are guaranteed to meet or exceed low emission standards. They will not adversely affect indoor air quality, and have passed a third party certification process.
Friction Resistance: To the relative motion of one body sliding, rolling, or flowing over another with which it is in contact.
Full Spread Adhesive: An installation system for linoleum, felt-backed vinyl sheet products, fiberglass vinyl sheet products, and luxury vinyl tile. The adhesive is spread across the entire underside of the floor before it is placed down for installation.
Gloss Level: Different sheens or levels of Gloss-Satin, Semi Gloss or Gloss.
Glueless Tile: Vinyl tiles that install with your choice of adhesive tabs or spray adhesive. These tiles are sold as a system including the tile, a roll-out underlayment that has a premarked grid pattern that assists with the installation, and the adhesive tabs or spray adhesive. Glueless tile is easy to place down and easy to pick up again.
Grade Level: Grade refers to the construction level relative to the ground around it. Below grade is below ground level, on grade is at ground level, and above grade is above ground level.
Gouge: A groove or cavity in the flooring surface accompanied by material removal and penetration below the immediate flooring surface.
Heat Welding: A process for sealing seams for linoleum floors and some vinyl sheet floors. Heat welding requires skilled professionals who use specialized tools.
Heterogeneous: Consisting of dissimilar ingredients, constituents or compositions.
Heterogeneous Resilient: Flooring A resilient floor surfacing material consisting of layers of dissimilar compositions or colors, or both.
Homogenous Rubber Flooring: A rubber floor surfacing material, in sheet or tile form. It has a uniform structure and composition throughout. It usually consists of compounded natural or synthetic rubbers, or both, in combination with mineral fillers, pigments, and other additives.
Homogeneous Vinyl Flooring: A floor surfacing material in sheet or tile form that is of uniform structure and composition throughout. It usually consists of vinyl plastic resins, plasticizers, fillers, pigments and stabilizers.
Hydraulic Cement: A binder system used in concrete subfloor assemblies. It hardens by chemical reaction with water and is capable of doing so even under water.
Injection Molded Flooring: A floor surfacing material made by driving or forcing a polymeric compound into a mold.
Inlaid Sheet Flooring: A floor surfacing material in which the decorative pattern or design is formed by colored areas set into the surface. The design so formed may or may not extend through to a backing.
Inner Core: Consisting of a foam and vinyl wear layer, the inner core provides durability,
Installation Level: Refers to grade levels of the installation site.
Lightweight Concrete: Concrete with a density of less than 115 lb/ft³ (1840 kg/m³).
Linoleum: A floor surfacing material composed of oxidized linseed oil, mixed with cork or wood flour, mineral filler and pigments. And bonded to a jute or suitable backing. Can be produced with or without a high performance, permanently bonded coating. The coating improves the floor’s resistance to damage and makes cleaning easier.
Linoleum Cement: The binder in linoleum consisting of a mixture of linseed oil, pine rosin, fossil or other resins or rosins. Or an equivalent oxidized oleoresinous binder.
Loose Lay (and Modified Loose Lay): Tan installation method for fiberglass-backed vinyl sheet floors. No adhesive (loose lay) or adhesive used. Or just in strategic spots such as under appliances (modified loose lay) is used for installing the floor.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): A type of flexible, vinyl floor tile and/or plank that has printed designs. Surface protected by a durable urethane wear layer.
Machine Direction: The direction in which a product moves through the manufacturing process.
Mar: A mark made on the flooring surface by the deposition of material from friction. Or rubbing of traffic bodies against the surface.
Oleoresin: A plant product containing chiefly essential oil and resin.
On-Grade: Pertaining to the location of a finished floor with no portion below ground. Or the floor and the ground in contact or separated by less than 18 inches of well-ventilated space.
Patching Compound: Compound used to fill or smooth subfloor irregularities in preparation for installing a new vinyl floor.
Peel‘n Stick: A term used for self adhesive tile that does not require adhesive for installation. Tiles have a peel-off backing that, once removed, uncovers adhesive on the tile’s underside. These tiles are easy to stick to the floor, but once placed, can be difficult to remove.
Perimeter Spread Adhesive: An installation system for felt-backed vinyl sheet floors. The adhesive is spread around the perimeter, or outside edge, of the underside of the floor before it is placed down for installation.
Plywood: A structural material consisting of sheets of wood glued or cemented together and used as underlayment for vinyl flooring.
Plank: A form of resilient floor covering having an aspect ratio greater than 2:1.
Polymeric Poured (Seamless) Floors: A floor surfacing material composed of polymeric materials. Applied to the substrate in liquid form alone or in combination with mineral or plastic aggregates, desiccants, or fillers.
Post-Consumer: Recycled Content, often expressed as a percent by weight, of material. New products are manufactured using recycled material. Recovering materials diverts them from disposal.
Pre-Consumer: Recycle Content Material recovered or diverted from industrial waste streams. Used in the manufacture of a new product or a product made by a new process. Often expressed as a percent by weight. This excludes materials and by-products generated from and commonly reused or reworked within the original manufacturing process.
Printed Sheet Vinyl Flooring: A floor surfacing material which has a printed pattern protected with a wearlayer of transparent or translucent vinyl plastic. The wearlayer may also include a specialty performance top coating.
Printed Construction: A printing process that provides accurate reproductions of a wide variety of patterns and designs in intricate detail. Also known as the “rotogravure” process.
Recycled Content: The sum, normally expressed as a percent by weight, of post-industrial or pre-consumer recycled material plus post-consumer recycled material.
Resilient: These floors have some “give” or elasticity when you walk across them. Tending or able to recover from strain or deformation caused especially by compressive stress. This category includes linoleum, cork, rubber and specialty resilient.
Resilient Flooring: An organic floor surfacing material made in sheet or tile form. Or formed in place as a seamless material of which the wearing surface is non-textile. The resilient floor covering classification by common usage. Includes, but is not limited to asphalt, cork, linoleum, rubber, vinyl, vinyl composition, and polymeric poured seamless floors. The term resilient is a commonly accepted term, but does not necessarily define a physical property.
Resin: Any of various solid or semi-solid amorphous fusible natural organic substances. Usually transparent or translucent and yellowish to brown. And formed especially in plan secretions, are soluble in organic solvents but not in water. Any of a large class of synthetic products that have some of the properties of natural resins, but are different chemically.
Rosin: A translucent amber to almost black brittle friable resin. Obtained by chemical means from the oleoresin or dead wood of pine trees or from tall oil.
Rotogravure: The most commonly used method for making residential vinyl floors. This process involves a print cylinder that spins around while the vinyl’s core layer (called the gel coat) passes underneath. The cylinder systematically prints various colored ink dyes to create the pattern.
Rubber: Rubber flooring is extremely durable, virtually indestructible, quiet and warm to walk on. It also resists dents and stains and its waterproof surface has an anti-slip finish. However, rubber is relatively expensive and must be installed by an experienced installer for maximum performance.
Seams: Since vinyl comes in 6’ and 12’ widths, seaming may be necessary depending on the area to be covered. Certain patterns will hide seams better. For example, tile patterns with grout lines are better able to mask seams.
Seam Sealer: A thin liquid adhesive applied to sheet vinyl joints. The sealer locks or welds the edges together. Seam sealers may be visible in contrast with different vinyl textures and finishes.
Sheet Resilient Flooring: Flexible resilient flooring, packaged in roll form, in which the length substantially exceeds the width.
Slip Resistance: The ability to counteract loss of traction.
Solid Vinyl Tile: A resilient tile flooring composed of binder, fillers and pigments compounded with suitable stabilizers and processing aids. The tile meets requirements of ASTM Specification F 1700. The binder consists of polymers and/or copolymers of vinyl chloride, other modifying resins, and plasticizers which comprise at least 34% by weight of the finished tile. The polymers and copolymers of vinyl chloride comprise at least 60% of the weight of the binder.
Static Coefficient of Friction: The ration of the tangential force that is needed to start uniform relative motion between two contacting surfaces to the perpendicular force holding them in contact.
Straight-Edge: Any strong, straight piece of metal. Used for cutting straight lines for installing vinyl sheet and tile.
Subflooring: A rough floor on top of which the vinyl flooring is applied. That structural layer intended to provide support for design loadings which may receive resilient floor coverings directly if the surface is appropriate or indirectly via an underlayment if its surface is not suitable.
Substrate: The surface on which the vinyl flooring will be laid. If installing over a wood substrate, an underlayment will generally be necessary. A concrete substrate will not require an underlayment but will require some floor preparation.
Tangential Force: A force that acts on a moving body in the direction of a tangent to the curved path of the body.
Terrazzo: A form of mosaic flooring. Made by embedding marble, onyx, granite, or glass chips in Portland cement, polyacrylate modified Portland cement, or resinous matrices. The terrazzo is poured in place, cured, ground, and then polished. Rustic terrazzo is a variation where, in lieu of the grinding and polishing, the surface is washed with water otherwise treated to expose the chips. Quartz, quartzite, and river bed aggregate can also be used.
Texture: The term used to describe the surface look and feel of flooring. Textures can range from silky smooth to hand-scraped and distressed.
Tile: Resilient Flooring Resilient flooring which is packaged in flat pieces which can be installed as individual units.
Traction: The adhesive friction of a body on a surface on which it moves.
Transition Strips: Installation accessory that bridges two floors of different heights to equalize the height differential. Transition strips are functional and decorative.
Underlayment: A material placed under resilient flooring, or other finished flooring, to provide a suitable installation surface.
Ultraviolet Light: Ultraviolet(UV) light is part of the light spectrum. UV light wavelengths cannot be seen by the human eye.
Underlayment: Layer of material usually installed on or over a subfloor. Provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering.
VCT Vinyl Composition: Tiles A resilient floor covering composed of binder, fillers, and pigments. The binder shall consist of one or more resins of poly (vinyl chloride), or vinyl chloride copolymers. Or both, compounded with suitable plasticizers and stabilizers. Other polymeric resins may be incorporated as part of the binder.
Vinyl: Made from a mixture of polyvinyl chloride and plasticizer, it is usually flexible and non-porous. Pigments are added for color.
No-Wax Vinyl: A surface that protects that color and pattern of the floor. Needs a no-wax vinyl floor polish to maintain a high gloss.
Sheet Vinyl Flooring: Resilient flooring, available in roll form, providing an installation with few seams.
Vinyl Tile: Resilient flooring available in flat pieces usually measuring 12” x 12” which can be installed as individual units.
VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds): VOC is an acronym for volatile organic compounds which are gases that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma and upper respiratory infections.
Wear: The accumulative and integrative action of all the deleterious mechanical influences encountered in use which tend to impair a material’s serviceability. Such influences include, but are not limited to abrasion, scratching, gouging and scuffing.
Wear Layer: A layer of material applied to the top surface of vinyl flooring. The thickness of the wearlayer varies with each vinyl product collection, or series, and is generally measured in mils. The thickness of a mil is about the same as a page in a phone book. Premium wearlayers offer superior resistance to stains, scuffs and scratches. How long a vinyl floor will look new and fresh is based on the wearlayer’s performance.
The Weinheimer Group, Flooring Inspectors and Consultants.