Glossary of flooring terms Vancouver, WA, Portland, ORIf you’ve started your search for new floors for your Vancouver or Portland home, you’ve probably heard some different terms used in various articles or by flooring experts. Understanding what these terms mean is key to making an informed decision about which floors you should invest in for your home. That’s why the experts at Floor Coverings International Vancouver/Portland have created a glossary of basic terms for the flooring beginner.

Above Grade: A floor that is above ground level.

Backing: The material that forms the underside or base of a carpet where the yarn is threaded and attached to.

Baseboard: A narrow wooden board running along the bottom of a wall, which is generally used to hide where the wall and floor meet.

Below Grade: A floor that is below ground level. Basements are often described as “below grade.”

Berber Carpet: A popular carpet style characterized by tight loops and a low pile, generally found in off-white colors.

Carpet Squares: Tiles of carpet easy to install as individual squares.

Corner Trim: The trim placed where two wall corners meet the floor.

Cut and Loop Carpet: A style of carpet construction with a combination of loops and loops that have been cut to create varied texture and pattern.

Finish: The urethane or other final coating used on flooring.

Floating Floor: A floor that is installed without being nailed or glued to the subfloor.

Frieze: A carpet style with tightly twisted fibers that curl over at the top.

Gloss Levels: The various amounts of sheen applied to tile (satin, semi-gloss, high gloss).

Grain: The pattern naturally occurring in wood that is exposed when lumber is cut.

Mosaic: A colorful pattern of small tiles commonly used on wall backsplashes.

Parquet Flooring: Wood floors installed in geometric patterns.

Pile: The face of a carpet composed of the yarn.

Plank: Wood boards that are three inches or wider.

Prefinished Hardwood Floor: Planks that arrive ready for installation.

Saxony Carpet: A traditional, dense, cut-pile style of carpeting.

Sisal: Rugs or mats made from a natural plant material.

Sub Floor: The structural layer on top of which flooring is installed.

Terrazzo: A floor made from multi-colored stone, marble, or glass chips embedded in cement.

Tongue and Groove: Flooring boards cut to fit together at the ends, often able to be installed as floating floors.

Underlay: A layer placed on top of the subfloor to create a surface more suitable for installation.

Wear Layer: The top layer of flooring that protects against daily wear and tear.

As your trusted local flooring provider, we are here to help you through the entire process. We offer free in-home estimates in the Vancouver WA, Portland OR areas. Call Floor Coverings International Vancouver/Portland today to schedule yours!


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