Acclimation: The adaptation of laminate flooring to its installation environment. 2 to 3 days is recommended for laminate floor to acclimate before installing.
Backing: The bottom layer of laminate flooring is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and helps guard against moisture from below.
Decorative Layer: A decorative layer or print film that is adhered to the top of the core board, giving the floor its realistic hardwood or stone appearance. Typically printed from a high-resolution photograph of wood grain, natural stone or laminate tile pattern.
Embossing: A process by which the surface of the panel is given a texture.
End Molding/Carpet Reducer: Used as a transition from a laminate floor to a different flooring surface such as with high-pile carpet or thick laminate tile.
Expansion Gap: A space necessary between fixed objects (i.e. walls of a room, pipes, and cabinets) and between the material itself to allow for the movement of the material.
Fiberboard: A core material comprised of wood chips or sawdust that have been saturated in resin to make the core tough and water resistant. Fiberboards are usually designated as low, medium, or high density (e.g., MDF or HDF).
Floating Floor System: Laminate floors are installed using this system in which a padded underlayment lies between the subfloor and the laminate planks. The planks “float” directly on the underlayment — anchored to the edges of other planks.
Glued Laminate Flooring: Original laminate floors that require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and groove areas of each plank. Once the glue dries, the planks are almost impossible to separate. Sold as both planks and squares.
Glueless Laminate Flooring: A no mess installation method where planks or squares easily interlock together.
High Density Fiberboard: (HDF): A fiberboard with density greater than 800 kg/m3 (50 lb/ft3).
Laminate: A multi-layer man made flooring product adhered together through a laminating process using heat, pressure, and adhesive. This type of flooring can accurately simulate wood and stone though it is more widely available in wood looks. Laminate’s realistic graphics are achieved through digital imaging and is typically packaged in a number of tongue and groove planks that can be clicked into one another for ease of installation.
Melamine Resin: A compound used to improve moisture resistance and durability of laminate flooring’s core board.
Moldings: Trim pieces covering the spaces where laminate flooring is permitted to expand and move naturally atop a subfloor. Also assist with the transition to an adjacent floor covering. Often slightly larger than their wood or laminate tile counterparts.
Overlapping Stair Nosing: Similar to a flush stair nosing except the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of the floor. Secured to the sub floor, not to the laminate floor, thus enabling the floor to move freely.
Peaking: Raised seams where laminate planks or tiles join.
Plank: A laminate floor panel; typically 5 or 6 times longer than wide.
Pre-Glued Laminate Flooring: A no mess method of installation because glue is previously applied to the tongue and grooves. A thin, plastic underlayment is required in order to seal out moisture and prevent glue from sticking to the subfloor.
Quarter Round Trim: Installed wherever laminate floor meets a baseboard or wall.
Reducer Strip: The transitional piece used to connect laminate with another type of flooring, such as vinyl, thin laminate tile or low-pile carpeting.
Screens: A laminate’s quality is partially dependent on the photography and number of photos used to achieve a “realistic” appearance. The more screens used, the more variation it can offer and the more “authentic” the laminate appears.
Seams: The junction where laminate panels connect.
Square Nosing/Universal Edge: Used where laminate flooring butts up to carpeting or vertical surfaces where the edge is exposed, such as along a fireplace.
Step Down Stair Nose: A coordinating molding piece that provides the proper transition for steps.
Tile: A square laminate panel emulating porcelain tile or stone.
T-Molding: Typically used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms. Also recommended when transitioning from a laminate floor to another floor that is about the same height.
Underlayment: A material used between laminate flooring and a subfloor that acts as a sound and moisture barrier and also allows the floor to expand and contract with temperature change.
Wear Layer: The durable top layer of laminate flooring that provides protection and stain resistance. Many contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, which results in outstanding durability.