Glossary of Flooring Terms


Above-grade Pertaining to the location of a finished floor where the floor is not in contact with the ground and which provides at least 18 inches of well ventilated space.

Acrylic Impregnation
Liquid acrylic (and stain) injected throughout the surface layer of wood to fortify the fibers for added durability.

ADEX Awards
ADEX is an acronym for Awards for Design Excellence. It is the largest and most prestigious award for product design of furniture, fixtures and finishes marketed to designers. Armstrong vinyl sheet and laminate products are ADEX award winners.

a substance that bonds the floor to the subfloor.


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.

Bruce Lock Installation
Installation method for Bruce Laminate flooring which features a unique tongue-and-groove profile that allows for easy installation of boards by just locking edges into place and requiring no glue. Offers the tightest fit and provides virtually seamless appearance.


Combination base
a finishing molding piece used along the outer most edges of the floor where it meets the wall.


Dimensional stability
The ability of flooring to retain its original dimensions during the service life of the product.

Distressed Visual
A design term that describes an aged, timeworn look.

DIY (Do it Yourself)
DIY is an acronym for do it yourself, referring to projects that can be installed without a professional. DIY levels are typically described as easy, to difficult, requiring varying ranges of tools and experience.

DPL (Direct Pressure Laminate)
Direct pressure laminate is the most typical fusing method used to manufacture residential laminate flooring. The surface, inner layers and backing layer are fused in a single press operation.


Edge Detail
A term that describes the way hardwood and laminate board edges and ends are cut. Edges and ends are typically described as square, eased, microbeveled and beveled.

A term describing hardwood construction. Engineered hardwood boards are manufactured from multiple layers, or plies, of solid wood assembled in a cross-ply construction. The top layer is the species and color you see when the boards are installed.

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, will not adversely affect indoor air quality, and have passed a third party certification process.

Full Bathroom
A bathroom with sink, toilet and bathing facilities including one or more of the following: shower, bathtub, Jacuzzi /whirlpool, spa, sauna.


The surface coating on pre-finished flooring. Usually either urethane or wax finish.

Installation method in which individual boards are glued only at edges and end joints, without direct attachment to the sublfoor.
Floating floor
A floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor and can be installed over most existing floors, including concrete, ceramic, vinyl, wood and even some indoor/outdoor carpet.

Floor protectors
Screw-on attachments for the bottom of chair and table legs to distribute the weight of furniture evenly to reduce indentations in resilient floors. Abrasions can be prevented with unique, replaceable felt pads on the floor protectors.


G3 Wear Layer
This durable wear layer protects against wear, stains and fading. It offers the best resistance to scratches, indentations, dents and dings for your home.

Gloss Level
Different sheens that describe levels of gloss on the floor. They range from high gloss, semi gloss, low gloss to ultra low gloss.

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.

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval
The Good Housekeeping Seal is an emblem of the magazine's Consumer Policy, which promises a refund or replacement for defective products within two-years of purchase. The seal has been awarded to Armstrong brand laminate flooring.


Half Bathroom
A bathroom with only a sink and toilet; no bath, shower or spa.

Hand Scrape
Also called hand sculpted. Hardwood planks are individually hand scraped to create distinctive, one-of-a-kind floors.

Hi-Definition Print Technology
Print technology used to create extremely realistic patterns. Colors are vibrant and natural with intensified depth and realism. The embossing technology infuses the look with depth and texture.

HPL (High Pressure Laminate)
High pressure laminate is an extra-hard fusing process used to manufacture laminate flooring. The surface, inner layers and backing layer are fused in a multiple step press operation. This process creates the most durable laminate construction.


Interlocking (Interlocking floating)
An installation method that connects engineered hardwood or laminate boards to each other without the need for glue on the edges or ends. The boards lock together via a tongue-and-groove system. Interlocking floors float over the subfloor (see Floating Floors.)

Installation level
Refers to grade levels of the installation site.




Laminate backing
A thermo-fused backing that provides additional strength and protection and ensures the floor stays flat, even when exposed to bottom-up moisture, which is particularly common with installations over concrete.

Laminate flooring
Hard surface flooring utilizing a fiberboard core and Melamine wear layer, that is available in blocks, planks, and squares and can be installed as individual units.

Laminate flooring glue
Adhesive used to bond the tongue and groove edges of laminate flooring. Now in a "peelable" formulation for easy cleanup

Laminate image layer
The look of your laminate floor, in choices as varied as the entire North American woodland.

Laminate surface
A clear wear layer for super protection, even against the harsh punishment of sunlight, stains and burns.

Locking installation system
Method of installing laminate flooring with a unique tongue-and-groove profile that allows for easy installation of boards by just locking edges into place and requiring no glue. Allows for installation up to 50% faster than standard installation.


Magnum HDF Core
All Bruce Laminate floors have a Magnum HDF Core with thermofused backing that forms a moisture barrier. Theres no need to worry about spills soaking in or moisture wicking up from the subfloor. The Magnum HDF Core also eliminates the need to acclimate planks in the home environment so you can buy it and install it the same day.




Pertaining to the location of a finished floor with no portion below ground, and with the floor and the ground in contact or separated by less than 18 inches of well-ventilated space.


Inlaid woodwork in geometric forms, sometimes of contrasting woods, used in flooring. A common example is individual pickets of wood flooring, adhered together in groups of six pickets - then four picketed squares are alternately adhered to form a tile pattern.

A hardwood floor finish that contains a high level of aluminum oxide for superior resistance to surface wear-through.

Boards widths that are 3" in width or greater.

Ply (Plies)
Another word for a layer of wood, typically used to described engineered hardwood construction layers.

A type of finish used on hardwood to protect it from damage. Polyurethane finishes do not require waxing.

Hardwood floors that are stained with color and sealed with a protective finish by the manufacturer prior to installation.


Quarter-round molding
Detail piece that finishes the space where wood or laminate flooring meets the wall.


Reducer strip

Molding that finishes the space between wood or laminate flooring and other flooring surfaces, like vinyl or carpet.


Site Finished

Hardwood floors that are stained with color and sealed with a protective finish at the installation site by the installer.

Manufactured from a solid piece of wood.

The type of tree, such as oak, cherry or walnut. Different wood species have different hardnesss that affect durability; graining, which affects the boards look; and indigenous color, which can be kept natural or stained.

Stair nosing
A finishing piece applied to the forward edge of stairs, step-downs and landings, creating a rounded quality finish.

Board widths that are 3" in width or less.

Standard Engineered
The traditional construction for engineered hardwood boards and laminate products. These products require the pieces to be glued to each other prior to installing over the subfloor.

Structural Integrity
A term often used in a guarantee or warranty to assure the floors composition/construction will remain intact.

The structural layer intended to provide the home's floor support, which may receive floor coverings directly if the surface is appropriate, or indirectly via an underlayment if its surface is not suitable.


The term used to describe the surface look and feel of flooring. Textures can range from silky smooth to hand scraped and distressed.

Molding piece that finishes the space between two areas of wood or laminate flooring. For laminate, it also fills the gap at doorways.

Transition Strips
Installation accessory that bridges two floors of different heights to equalize the height differential. Transition strips are functional and decorative.

A finishing piece applied to the wood floor transition area where the wood transitions to another flooring level or another flooring type.


Ultraviolet Light
Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of the light spectrum. UV light wavelengths cannot be seen by the human eye.

Layer of material usually installed on or over a subfloor that provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering.


An Armstrong exclusive installation aid for sealing concrete that has excess moisture, prior to installing the floor.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
VOC is an acronym for volatile organic compounds, which are gases that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma and upper respiratory infections. All Armstrong floors have very low VOC levels (see Floor Score.)


The width of the individual wood boards that make up the floor. Strips are narrow boards measuring less than 3 inches wide. Planks are wider boards measuring more than 3 inches wide.

Wood species
The primary speciesfrom which the wood floor is made.

Wood Stain
A type of paint that is very "thin," or low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. Stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder.




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