2014 blogpost glossaries laminateflooring

Laminate Flooring Glossary A & B

Laminate Flooring Glossary A & B

I'm working on a full glossary of Laminate Floor terminology. We'll have this in a regular spot once it's done, but as I go along I thought I'd post sections. This page is the start of it, A & B, and here are links to the other pages:   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: A & B

AC Ratings - This is an almost universally used surface durability rating. It’s based on a set of 10 tests performed by a third party organization called the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring. Ratings go from 1 to 5, and the rating is the lowest number met in each and evry test. If a certain laminate passes nine tests at the level AC4, and one at level AC2, then it’s an AC2 rated floor. Our article Explaining AC Ratings goes over this rating in detail.

Laminate Acclimation

Acclimation - This is when you place your flooring in the room where it will be installed for a few days (your specific instructions will say how long) so the material can become accustomed to the exact conditions of the room, primarily the temperature and humidity.

Acoustical Properties - It means the same thing it does in general, referring to sound characteristics. These stats will usually convey whether sound bounces off your floor or is muffled by it, and whether when walked on it sounds hollow, squishy (‘squishy’?)… or quiet.

Adhesion - The process of sticking two things together. This can refer to other things besides flooring.

Adhesive - Something that does the above, usually a liquid, though tape counts too (what Buzz Lightyear calls “unidirectional bonding strip"). It is now very rarely used with laminate floors.

Aluminum Oxide - This is the most common top coating layer for laminates, and that is a good thing. It’s why laminates can handle wear that hardwood can’t. As a substance it is used as a substitute for industrial diamond in abrasives. It is non-flammable, insoluble in water and an electrical insulator. In 1988 aluminum oxide was removed from the EPA’s lists of potentially dangerous chemicals, and now is even used in hip replacements.

Angle to Angle - A style of installation in which the end joints are locked in first, then the long side is locked in, such that both sides are locked once the plank itself has been installed. That is the most obvious way that it differs from Drop & Lock installations. Four very helpful videos are below under Click Together.

Antistatic - Such a floor will limit the build-up of static electricity.

Backer - This is the bottom layer of a laminate floor, or the ‘back’ if the part you look at its top as the ‘front’. It is tightly bonded to the core of the laminate, which is the central, thickest part of it. This layer is resin-impregnated to give the whole plank both strength and flexibility, and to prevent moisture from rising up into the floor. This also prevents the plank from bowing, or ‘dishing’ as it’s sometimes called.


Balanced Construction - This is when the main structure of a thing, with laminate planks that’s the ‘core board’, has similar materials bonded to each side. This is done so the laminate planks will lay flat rather than tending to bow in either direction.

Base Boards – Since walls do not always perfectly meet floors, base boards are very common trimming pieces, resting directly on the subfloor, not over the laminate, and fasten to the walls. These are noted by being much taller than they are wide. They really border a room more than just trim it. Their connection with a laminate is that if this is in place, then your expansion gap must be between this piece and the edge of your laminate floor. That gap would then be hidden by another trim piece connected to the base board, under which the laminate may move, usually a quarter round or a base shoe.

A base board with a quarter-round used for a base shoe.

Base Shoe - This is one of the trims commonly used in a laminate floor installation. It’s a partner to the base board. The base board is installed all the way down to the subfloor, and your laminate is installed with a gap between it and the base board. This expansion gap is covered by the Base Shoe, which is attached to the base board and hovers over the gap and the edge of the laminate. In the picture above I show a quarter round in place of a base shoe. They are close to the same thing, but base shoes are taller than they are wide.

Beveled Edge (also called ‘eased’ or ‘chamfered’) - This is the opposite of 'square edged' planks. Here, the edges, sometimes two, sometimes all four, are cut with a slight angle so that where the planks meet each other there will be a small V shaped notch. This outlines the planks, and can add a more natural look to the flooring.

Bond - To join or stick things together. This is usually done with chemicals, pressure or heat. The word can also be a reference to that ‘sticking’, as in, “The bond is quite strong."

Board - You may hear this because it's such a generic term for rectangles used in construction, but in the flooring industry we try to only use this to refer to planks that are made out of single pieces of wood. Solid Hardwood planks would be boards, but planks of laminate flooring should usually just be called 'planks'. Please forgive your customer service person if they fall into the colloquial use of board. Some habits break hard.


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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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