Here's the last of our growing glossary of Laminate Floor terminology. Laminate Glossary A-B Laminate Glossary C Laminate Glossary D Laminate Glossary E-G Laminate Glossary H-I Laminate Glossary J-O Laminate Glossary P-R Laminate Glossary S Laminate Glossary T Laminate Glossary U-the end
Laminate Flooring Glossary of Terms: U-Z
(really 'W', there are no Xs through Zs)
Underlayment - See pad above, but basically this is anything designed to be lain under the laminate floor, a cushioning between it and the subfloor.
Unidirectional Bonding Strip – What Buzz Lightyear calls Scotch tape. This rarely comes up with laminate flooring.
V-Joint - See 'Beveled' above. We would use this as a description of what happens with beveling, but for some it's the term.
Vapor Barrier - Similar to Moisture Barrier above, and some think they're interchangeable, but they really aren't. A vapor barrier is for the walls, a part of a 'house wrap', and it's designed to breathe a little. For flooring we're looking for moisture barriers.
Wainscotting - This exceeds the description of a floor trim, though it may function as a baseboard, if a really, really tall one. This is usually going to be some kind of wood paneling that lines the lower part of the room. It's not just a few inches but usually more than a foot or two in height, capped with some kind of molding, sometimes even chair railing.
"Very stylized wainscotting decorates the lower few feet of these walls."
Wall clearance - This is almost just another way to refer to an Expansion Gap (see above), in that the same number will describe the measurement. It's the distance between the wall and the outer edge of your laminate floor. I suppose one could use both in a sentence, say, "You need at least 1/4'' of wall clearance for your expansion gap." But honestly, that's almost a tautology.
Warp - A detrimental, physical distortion. With laminates it would take the form of crowning, cupping or crooking, all of which are listed above. This will usually occur when a floor has been installed without enough space to expand (or worse – without any). The planks, having nowhere to slowly slide, push against each other and distort.
Waste Material - When you install a floor you will need to cut some boards to fit onto the ends of rows, or to go around corners, fireplaces, or any number of things. Boards cut from the ends of rows can usually be used at the starts of other rows, but there will still be some leftover pieces. Also, accidents happen – you may just lose a board or two. With any first quality floor we usually recommend adding 10% to your square footage purchased, and with any seconds we recommend 20%. This is pretty important because of the shipping. If you buy too much flooring because of these percentages, you may have some spare planks left over, and that can be handy if there is future damage. If you buy too little and need, say, one box? Sometimes the shipping is more expansive than the box. I'm not even close to kidding.
Waterproof - We have a full article on Four Important Waterproof Flooring Terms that covers this in detail. So far there is no such thing as a waterproof laminate floor, but if a plank of vinyl flooring is 100% waterproof, then water is not going to damage that plank. If a bunch of waterproof planks are on a floor, then a flood in that room is not going to hurt those planks. This does not mean that the planks are going to keep the flood from hurting the structure underneath them. It's a flood - they just do what they do. The planks are waterproof, they do not waterproof the house. The benefit is that after you clean up the flood just as you would anytime it happens, you don't need to buy a new floor – the waterproof one just goes right back down.
Water Resistant - Laminates can be called water resistant. Now, this does not mean that they are waterproof. It means that they are designed to keep water up on the surface of the floor as a whole. The top of an individual plank is basically impermeable, so the Achilles heel for laminate is the seams. If water gets between those it can soak into the core board. Water Resistant laminates do their best to keep water out of the seams, either through the design of the locking mechanisms, using wax at the seams or having a special chemical in place that repels liquid, like the Click Guard we get to send with certain products.
Wear Layer - It's the top layer of the laminate plank, the part you'll directly contact when walking. It's called the wear layer because it's designed to not wear, to resist abrasion. It includes the clear, protective, top covering layers as well as what you see as the image layer, because even that is engineered to resist wear.
Wear Resistance - This is the degree to which the wear layer is able to prevent wear from happening through to the decorative layer.
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David is has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with W. David Lichty
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