2014 blogpost glossaries laminateflooring

Laminate Flooring Glossary C

Laminate Flooring Glossary C

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.   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: C

CARB (the California Air Regulatory Board) – Concern for formaldehyde emissions led to an American rating system issued in 2007 by CARB, and often referred to as CARB, or as levels of CARB compliance. The requirements are that formaldehyde emissions from various materials fall at or below a certain number of parts per million air molecules (PPM).
Hardwood plywood (HWPW): 0.05 Medium density fibreboard (MDF): 0.11
Particleboard (PB): 0.09 MDF less than or equal to 8 mm. thick: 0.13

Adhesives: 0.05

The adhesive levels are lower than the OSHA standards, lower than Europe’s standards (including E0 – see below), and even lower than most of the fish we eat.

Most laminate flooring contains so little in the way of contaminants that they are tend to be listed as contaminant free. If you see older materials, the markings may indicate which part of the initial phases of the law are met by that product. If they say they are Phase 1 compliant, then the adhesive formaldehyde emissions would have to measure equal to or under 0.08 ppm (parts per million), the standard in effect as of January 1, 2009. Phase 2, set as the standard a year later, represents the current standards.

Chatter Marks - These appear as a subtle rippling across the surface of real hardwood caused during the sanding of the board. These can usually only be seen in reflected light on the surface. They are also rarely found on a laminate plank, since these are not sanded.

Chemical Resistance - With flooring this refers to how well the surface can handle cleaning chemicals without degrading, either structurally or visually.
Cigarette Burn Resistance – This describes how a laminate floor resists cigarette burns on its surface. Due to the high temperature resistance of a pore-free aluminum oxide surface coating there should be no visible damage from fallen cigarette ash and even the putting out of cigarette butts. There are better uses of a laminate floor than for putting out cigarettes, just as there are better uses of lungs than smoking them, but should it pop up (or drop down) a laminate floor making this claim should handle it. We even made a video on this.

Class (specifically ‘Utility Class’ or ‘Load Class’) - This is less universal than AC Ratings, but also measures a floor’s durability. There are seven numbers in two groups. 21-23 are for residential uses and 31-34 are for commercial, with higher numbers reflecting greater durabilities. This article explains both systems in detail.

Click-Laminate - Click Laminate is just a broad term for any laminate floor that uses a glue-free connection. Angle to Angle and Drop & Lock are currently the main kinds available, though Tap N Go is still around. The ends of the boards are cut into special shapes, usually tongues and grooves, which fit together snugly and hold the planks together without need for an adhesive. Here are some videos on the various styles:

Coating - This is the broad category of any chemical deliberately put onto the top layer of a floor to protect it. It can include anything from the aluminum oxide layer which is basically part of most laminate floors to any of the painted on finishes for hardwood to one’s ‘waxing’ a floor as regular maintenance (which we do not do with laminates, by the way, not ever).

Colorfastness (also called ‘light resistance’) - This describes a material’s ability to retain its original color levels after exposure to light. In flooring the term comes up most frequently when discussing carpet, as it was first popularized to describe dyes in yarns and fabric. With laminated, this feature is usually described as ‘fade resistance’.

Compact Laminate - This term is generic about the laminate construction process, beyond just flooring. In fact it doesn’t even come up much with floors, but since you may hear it we will explain. This refers to any laminated product, including commercial counter tops, furniture, wall surfaces – anything, which is made using the High Pressure Laminate method. It results in a laminated product 2mm thick or more. There are plenty of laminate floors produced with the HPL method, and I can’t think of a laminate floor under 2mm thick, so the word may just be out of use in our industry (mostly, of course) because it describes all of them. Like saying they’re in a solid, not gaseous form.

Continuous Press Laminate (CPL) - This is another generic lamination term not usually associated with flooring. It’s a process of producing laminated paper one might use on another surface. The benefit of the method is that the resulting paper comes in a roll, able to be cut to length for a customer. Often a glue is involved in this process, and most, if not all, of our laminate floors are made with pressure and heat, no adhesives.

Core - This is what you might think of as ‘the board’ part of a complete laminate plank. It’s the main structure of a laminate plank to which a backing is attached for the bottom and an image with a protective coating for the top. Whether made of high or medium density fiberboard, the fibers are usually recycled wood, and occasionally resins, not plastic, a word often associated with laminates for reasons we cannot fathom here.


Covering - This means exactly what it says, but you may hear your laminate called a ‘floor covering’ especially by those who speak technically about flooring such as installers, manufacturers and some sales people. It sounds like that should refer to an area rug or a big sheet of plastic you use when painting the ceiling, not the laminate flooring itself. That’s just your floor, right? Yes, it’s certainly not wrong to call it that. This term comes in because technically the laminate is not what’s keeping you from falling through to the next level of your house. Your joists do, the subfloor does, and if you lived in a Little House on the Prairie in the 1800’s your hardwood might have done this as well, going in perpendicular to the joists and actually keeping you and your bed in place. Since laminates are not structurally essential, they can be called a ‘floor covering’.


- This word applies more to hardwood, but those often crossover. It’s a word that describes a plank that has a bow rather than lying flat. You might think of the plank as warped, but it isn’t, as this video covers. Locked into place these planks settle. It is an issue with hardwood because you can have much shorter planks, even 12" pieces, where such a curve can make installation difficult.

Crowning - When there is no (longer) room for a laminate floor to expand into expansion gaps, the planks will push against each other and individual planks will raise up in the middle, forming a curve, like a hill. Crowning results from expansion being cramped, cupping from excess humidity or moisture.

Cupping - This is the opposite of crowning. Because of excess moisture the edges of the planks rise in relation to their centers, forming ‘cups’. Water would gather there if poured. Cupping results from moisture and humidity. Crowning happens due to expansion cramping. [use image Laminate Cupping in LP images]

Cure - It’s a term of chemistry in manufacturing, when a substance is subjected to a chemical process in order to prepare, preserve, harden, strengthen or finish it. With laminate floors it can refer to the use of heat, pressure or both to strengthen the final laminate material.

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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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