Key Flooring Terms To Know

From abrasion rating to gloss levels, there’s a lot of lingo thrown about when you’re talking flooring. And given flooring can be a significant part of your building or renovation budget, we think it's a good idea to learn some of the key terms that can help you understand what you’re buying and ensure its the right flooring for you.

This list isn’t exhaustive - that would take too long - but here are some of the key flooring terms that can help you speak (and understand) flooring like a pro!

A

Abrasion Rating: a floors’ level of resistance to wear (damage from scruffs, friction etc). For example, laminate floors have an abrasion rating ranging from ACI (bedroom) to AC5 (public buildings).

Acclimation: how well a wood floor is able to adjust or “acclimate” to its environment in terms of moisture and humidity.

Acoustics: this refers to how much the floor absorbs or echoes noises from floor traffic.

B

Bamboo flooring: made out the bamboo plant, bamboo flooring is touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to timber flooring. It is tough, yet stylish, and is ecologically sustainable. It is constructed by fusing together strands or strips of bamboo using high pressure, heat, and adhesives.

Beautiful bamboo flooring

Beautiful bamboo flooring

C

Class Rating: this refers to the degree of performance of a floor when faced with fading, staining, denting, effects of furniture legs and castors, and other performance indicators.

E

Engineered Timber Flooring: consisting of three layers, engineered timber flooring is designed and manufactured specifically to be used for flooring, so it is a very stable alternative to solid timber floors. The three layers - top layer (hardwood), a core layer (hardwood, plywood or HDF) and a backing layer - are pressed together in opposing directions to create a single board.

Expansion: wood-based floors (timber, bamboo, laminate) can enlarge due to moisture or humidity, and this is what expansion refers to. That is why expansion gaps are such a critical part of flooring installation.

F

Floating floor: an installation method where individual flooring planks are glued or locked together without direct attachment to the subfloor.

Foot traffic: a term used to describe the amount and rate at which people (and pets) travel in a specific area.

G

Gloss level: this refers to the different surface finishes available (such as matte, satin or gloss) - the gloss level indicates how much shine and reflection the floor surface provides.

H

Hardwood: timber flooring made solely out of hard species of wood.

HDF: High-Density Fibreboard or hardboard - a type of fibreboard that is an engineered wood product.

Herringbone: a traditional European floor pattern that can be installed a number of different ways. The most popular pattern is the chevron or French herringbone.

Hybrid flooring: see Rigid plank flooring below.

J

Janka rating: this is the industry standard for measuring the hardness of timber or bamboo flooring and the ability of particular species of timber or bamboo to withstanding denting. The higher the Janka rating, the harder the floor.

L

Laminate flooring: a synthetic, engineered type of flooring made from 4 layers of material pressed together to create hard-wearing floors, available in limitless designs and colours.

  • Wear layer - the clear top layer that provides resistance to wear, fading and staining

  • Design layer - a high resolution printed paper layer that captures the look of the surface being imitated (timber, stone, tile)

  • Inner core - a layer of HDF, a pressed wood product that is dense and provides stability

  • Backing layer - a melamine layer providing stability and a moisture barrier

Hard-wearing laminate flooring in high foot traffic areas of the home

Hard-wearing laminate flooring in high foot traffic areas of the home

Lineal metre: the measurement for the width at which carpet is produced (usually 3.66 or 4m). Carpet is usually sold in lineal metres, but promoted in square metre pricing to make the shopping process easier.

Loop: A style of carpet that is created by the carpet pile forming a loop - it comes from the backing, to its full height, forms a loop and returns to the backing. There are so many different carpet styles available, including many different kinds of loops:

  • Cut & loop: where the carpet is made of loops and cut fibres of varying heights

  • Level loop: a carpet made of loops at the same height

  • Level-cut loop: a carpet style made of loops and cut fibres at the same height

  • High-low loop: or multi-level loop - this carpet style is made of loops at varying heights

  • Sisal: a carpet style with loops in straight rows

Luxury Vinyl: a synthetic flooring type that is generally manufactured to a higher quality compared to vinyl flooring. It is also called luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planking.

P

Parquetry: a geometric pattern in which certain hard flooring planks or tiles are laid.

PET: polyethylene terephthalate - a type of polyester commonly associated with recyclable drinking bottles. In reference to flooring, PET carpet fibres are made from PET chips, most of which are made from recyclable materials.

Plush/cut: a style of carpet whereby the loops are cut and the tips are sheared to give the carpet a velvety appearance

R

Rigid plank flooring:  or hybrid flooring, is the latest in flooring technology - a trouble-free flooring solution that combines the best attributes of laminate and vinyl to create the first rigid floating floor product that can be installed throughout the entire home.

S

Subfloor: the base flooring of your structure - the surface you wish to install flooring and underlay over. Usually wood or concrete.

U

Underlay: a layer of cushioning installed between the subfloor and the floorboards. It is used to enhance the comfort, insulation and longevity of carpet and engineered flooring, as well as level out minor imperfections in the subfloor.

V

Vinyl flooring: a synthetic flooring commonly available in stone or timber designs, generally coming in sheets, tiles or planks. Made of 5 layers of materials pressed together to create a hardwearing floor, vinyl flooring is durable, affordable and an easy DIY product for installation.

Polyfloor vinyl flooring at Mr Ink Tattoo Lounge

Polyfloor vinyl flooring at Mr Ink Tattoo Lounge

So now that you have a better understanding of some of the key terms surrounding flooring, you can enjoy exploring the many options available at Kawana Flooring Warehouse like a seasoned pro. And of course, if you come across another term we haven’t included in this “greatest hits compilation”, our team of experts is on standby to help you out!