2014 blogpost glossaries laminateflooring

Laminate Flooring Glossary E-G

Laminate Flooring Glossary E-G

While working on a full glossary of Laminate Floor terminology I decided that as I go along I'll post sections.     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: E-G

    Here are links to the other pages:

E0, E1, E2 and E3 - These are Emission Classification ratings, or classes, established by the European Panel Federation. Concern for formaldehyde emissions led to a number of rating systems. The American rating system, known as CARB and described above, was issued in 2007, following ratings enacted by Europe in 2004 and Japan in 2000. These classes indicate how much formaldehyde is released from wood used in manufacturing. The lower the number, the lower the amount that was emitted in testing.

Emission Class Emission Limit (ppm)
E0 Less than or equal to 0.041
E1 Less than or equal to 0.08
E2 Less than or equal to 0.16
E3 Greater than 0.16

These European standards and testing methods are delineated on The Engineered Wood Association’s website ( EN 13986, EN 120 and EN 717 are particularly on point)

Eased edge – It’s another term for ‘Beveled’ up above.

Edge Design – The options range from beveled to straight, with some steps in between. Beveled floors have either two or all four sides of a plank cut so that a V shape forms where the planks meet, and straight edged floors are designed for a smooth surface to be continuous from plank to plank

Here's a 'Square Edged' floor.Here's a 'Square Edged' floor.

Electrostatic charge – It’s what zaps you when you touch things. With non-conductive surfaces, electricity has nowhere to go so it stays (static) in place until you, who are a conductor of electricity, make yourself available and get shocked. The build-up is of an electrostatic charge. This tends to happen with low humidity in a room, which our heaters in winter are very good at giving us. Since laminate flooring is not just a piece of wood, but a combination of materials with, most important, a special surface coating, laminates can bring about this effect. Some producers, Kronotex and Quick-Step for example, have their own, patented methods of rendering that coating anti-static.

Embossing used to texture a floor

Embossing used to texture a floor

Embossing - A process by which the surface of a thing, a floor panel in our case, the panel is given a specific texture. This process gives us laminates with distressed or hand-scrape styled surfaces.

Emission classification – (see E0, E1, E2 and E3 above)

End Joint - This is the place, usually a straight line, where the smaller sides, the ends, of two pieces of flooring have been connected.

Environmentally friendly - What this exactly means changes from year to year, but basically it refers to how little a product’s production, existence and use negatively impacts the natural environment or the place where it will be used – your home, in our case. Sometimes this is just referred to a ‘green’, and laminate flooring is a pretty green product.

Equilibrium Moisture Content - It’s a great term, but one we don’t use very much. This is the point when the humidity in the room is at the exact point where the material does not gains or lose and of its moisture. I suppose we don’t refer to it because it’s not practically maintainable in the home or in most places where our floors will wind up. If we wrote about it, it would be to say “Since our homes almost never remain at the point of Equilibrium Moisture Content…”

European Panel Federation - this is the group that sets Europe’s standards for wood materials used in construction. They are connected with the Emission Classifications described at E0-E3 above and also set standards for other qualities such as strength of the material and other things that concern those in construction.

Exotic Style Laminates - In flooring, specifically hardwood, ‘exotic’ refers to species of wood that are not domestic, not native to North America. They come from South America, China, Europe – anywhere but here (we’re in the US, we Floors To Your Home people). These tend to be rare, expensive and to have qualities domestic floors just don’t. The benefit with a laminate floor is that laminates matching an exotic hardwood are no more expensive than any others. The image makes no difference in cost.

Expansion - The way this term is relevant in flooring has to do with how all natural materials respond to temperature and humidity changes. Anything with wood, and laminate is made from wood, will expand and contract. Not much – we’re talking about maybe a quarter inch over an entire medium sized room, not feet or even inches – but it has to be accommodated.


Expansion Gap - This is how we accommodate expansion. When installing a floor that responds to the environment, rather than laying it all the way to and against the walls, or any other vertical surface, we leave a space. It’s a little space, anywhere from 1/8” to ½” – your directions will give the numbers – left between the edge of the flooring and the wall. A piece of trim hovers over this gap, and over time, very, very slowly, your floor slides under it as it expands and contracts.

Factory Warranty - We have a whole series explaining warranties, what they are, how they work, what to look for and everything we could think of. This detail? A factory warranty is a warranty given by the manufacturer of the floor itself. This differs from a store warranty, for instance, or an installer’s warranty. These designations just specify who is responsible for which things if you have multiple warranties.

Fade Resistant (also called ‘colorfastness’) - It’s what it sounds like, how resistant something is to losing color over time or due to direct sunlight. Most hardwood floors will respond to sunlight, fading or just changing colors. Most laminates do not at all. The aluminum oxide surface coating and developments in the photo paper are designed to prevent it.

Fiberboard - This is the broad term describing the standard core material in a laminate floor plank. It is a board, but not a single piece of wood. It is made up of any combination of wood fibers, cellulose fibers, possibly synthetic resins as well and then it is bonded via heat and pressure. Fiberboard usually comes in low density, medium density or high density (LDF, MDF & HDF).

Finish (vs. coating) - A finish is the final layer applied to the top of a floor, one which may be a coating of some sort of liquid, designed to create the wear layer. Coatings could be of a stain, being under the finish layer, or even a wax over it. The ‘finish’ of a laminate floor is a layer of melamine or aluminum oxide, applied more like a sheet of plastic than a layer of goo. That makes a laminate finish something other than a coating, and with a laminate floor you do not want to ever apply some other coating when maintaining it.

Fire Resistance - It’s the ability of any material to withstand contact with fire, or to protect against it.

Fire Retardant - This is a chemical designed to slow or stop the spread of an existing fire over a surface. It may also reduce the flammability of that surface.

Flakeboard - This is a specific type of particle board which is specifically made of flakes rather than just particles.

Floating Floor - Any floor which is not attached to the subfloor is a floating floor. The pieces of flooring might be connected to each other – they usually are, in fact. This type of flooring best handles the expansion and contractions many floors undergo due to environmental changes. Floating installations are part of what enabled some hardwoods to be installed over concrete and in basements. Almost all laminates are floating floors.

Floor ‘covering’ - (see ‘Covering’ above)

Footfall - This refers to the sound, or just the vibrations, caused by walking on a floor, and sometimes to the tendency of the floor to magnify, transmit or hinder the transmission of those.

Formaldehyde - This is the offensive chemical of the day in manufacturing, a volatile organic compound. It’s the primary chemical monitored in flooring plank production, with rating classifications formed in Japan, Europe and for America in California, all of which have affected production. Formaldehyde would primarily be found in the adhesives, both those used in installing the floors and those used in making them. Most laminates today are manufactured using no adhesives, but rather employ heat and pressure to be formed.

Glue - See ‘Adhesive’ above. These are rarely used with laminates, and when done tend to go where tongues and grooves are joined.

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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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