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Laminate | Glossary

AC rating
Laminate flooring’s durability rating indicates its resistance to normal wear and tear, and abrasion.  The flooring is tested and awarded a durability rating based on its intended usage – an “AC rating”.  From Moderate Residential with an AC1 rating up to Heavy Commercial with an AC5 rating.  Generally, the higher the AC rating, the higher the price.

Acclimation
The adaptation of the laminate floor to its installation environment.

Backing
The bottom layer, or backing, is typically made of a melamine-type product, and gives dimensional stability to the planks and helps guard against moisture reaching the subfloor.

Connectivity
A tight fit, or connection, between the laminate flooring boards is important in determining how well the floor will hold up over time.  A tight fit prevents the boards from shifting, and the seams from allowing moisture to seep through. Generally, the thicker the tongues, the tighter the fit.

Core
The inner core of laminate flooring is made up of a composite material, quite often high-density fiberboard reinforced with resin to increase durability and enhance resistance to moisture.

Decorative Layer
A print film that is adhered on top of the core board is called the decorative or décor layer. These high-quality photo reproductions give the laminate flooring its visual look - natural stone, wood grain, tile patterns and many more options to choose from.

Durability
How a floor withstands abrasion plus wear and tear over time.

DPL | Direct Pressed Laminate
One of the most commonly used processes to create laminate flooring.  The resin impregnated material layers are bonded to the core through heat and direct pressure. The layers: the wear resistant top layer, decorative layer, foundation layer or core, and the backing layer that provides the moisture resistance.  This type of flooring comes in two connective types – tongue and groove or the click or lock system.

Dimensional Stability
The ability of a flooring product to resist changes caused by moisture, temperature and environmental factors.

End Moulding
When laminate meets many styles of carpeting, there is often a more extreme height difference, and an end moulding is used to smooth out the transition.

Floating Floor System
The system in which a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks, and the flooring “floats”.  There is no direct gluing or attachment to the subfloor.

Grade Level
Based on construction levels – below grade is below the ground level, on grade is at the ground level and above grade is above the ground level.

Interlocking
Used to describe systems used without glue or adhesive to join flooring together by a tongue and groove or “click” system.

Plank
A laminate flooring panel that is typically 5 or 6 inches longer than wide.

Reducer strip
A transitional piece used to connect the laminate to other flooring products that have a slight difference in thickness such as wood, vinyl, ceramic and low pile carpet.

Seams
The junction where laminate panels connect.

Specifications
A detailed selection of all materials, methods of application and labour to be used on a project.

Structural Integrity
When properly maintained, the ability of a flooring product or its components to withstand normal wear and tear without breaking down.

Subfloor
A structural layer providing floor support.  Used directly or with an underlay if the surface is not suitable.

T-Moulding
Commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floors in adjoining rooms.  It’s also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately the same height.

Texture
The look or feel of a flooring product. 

Underlay/Underlayment
Materials used between a floor, subfloor and a finished flooring product.  Used to smooth out surfaces, provide a cushion and act as a water-resistant or waterproof barrier in some flooring products.

Wear layer
The durable top layer of laminate flooring.  It provides protection and stain resistance and is made of various substances such as aluminum oxide and melamine resins, creating exceptional durability.