Glossary of Terms – Resilient – A Through Z

Above Grade A suspended floor, located above ground level, with a minimum if 18″  of well ventilated air space below.
A suspended floor is normally over a basement but may be over crawl space.
Air BubblesTrapped air under flooring.  Bubbles can be small or large in size.  When bubbles appear shortly after installation, placing the flooring into the adhesive too soon or rolling improperly is generally the cause.  When they appear at a later time, they may be caused by moisture in the subfloor or debonding of the adhesive.
Armafelt A moisture-resistant Armstrong felt backing which allows sheet flooring to be installed on all grade levels.  A felt compostion backing that allows installation of vinyl sheet flooring of all grade levels. The floor is bonded to the subfloor either by spreading adhesive under the entire floor, or by using adhesive only around the perimeter and at the seams (Armafelt Options).
Armafelt optionsAn Armstrong installation system for residential vinyl flooring with the Armafelt backing.  Armafelt Options provides the option of installing some residential Armafelt backed floors with adhesive under the entire area of the floor (full spread) or just around the perimeter (perimeter bond).  Due to the floors’ accommodating properties which allow for installation over wood, concrete and existing resilient substrates, less adhesive is needed for the installation of some Armafelt backed floors and therefore installers save time on installation.
AshlarA method of installation of brick, tile, or flooring tile where  the joints in one course (row) of the tile fall directly in the center of each tile in the rows of tile immediately adjacent.  A great many brick structures feature this type of staggered-joint rows or courses, and some flooring installations of resilient tile are laid in this way.
BackingThe bottom part of the flooring structure upon which other layers are built. This is the part of the flooring, which determines what adhesive will be used for installation.
Baseboard  The finished exposed board around the wall at the floor. Also known as sanitary base molding.
Below GradeBelow ground level; partially or completely below the surrounding ground level and in direct contact with the ground or with fill which is in direct contact with the ground.
Binder  The composition of a plastic which contains the resin, plasticizer and stabilizer; whatever is not binder is filler.
BlisterA raised spot on the surface of a floor similar in shape to a blister on human skin.  How soon after installation a blister develops can help determine the cause. Blisters which occur within a few hours are usually due to a concentration of trapped air.  Blisters which occur at a later time often indicate the presence of moisture in the substrate, or delamination of materials or adhesives.  
Bodythe consistency of an adhesive.
BondThe adherence of one material to another.
Bond Test A 72-hour test to determine if the flooring can be adhered to the substrate with the recommended adhesive.  Bond testing determines the compatibility of adhesives to sealers, curing agents, paint or other foreign matter and determines the necessity of its removal.  Bond testing is also used to determine the compatibility of the adhesive to the substrate after the removal of foreign materials.
Burred Seam  A seam with a jagged saw-toothed turn-up.
Burrs can occur with sheet vinyl flooring when a seam is cut with a dull knife. Also a result of recess scribing with a dull scriber needle.
CalenderingTaking the fused mass of vinyl from the mixer and placing it onto two, hot, large rotating rolls and allowing the mass to be squeezed into a thin sheet; similar to a dough roller.
Chalk LineUsually a cotton cord coated with chalk. The cord is pulled taunt and snapped to mark a straight line. The chalk line is used to align spots, screeds and tiles.
Chemical ResistanceResistance to softening, bleaching or discoloration from common chemicals that may be spilled on the floor. Chemical resistance is most dependent on the composition of product, the existence and chemistry of the surface coating and the susceptibility of the seams to failure in chemical spills.  
ChipboardSee particleboard. (Flakeboard)
CleanSweep WearLayerEnhanced patented wear layer offers best-in-class stain protection. CleanSweep guards against common household stains.
CleanSweep G WearLayerSuperior stain protection for fiberglass floors.  
CleanSweep G WearLayer with Antimicrobial ProtectionSuperior stain protection for fiberglass floors with added antimicrobial protection.
CleanSweep Plus WearLayer  The stain resistance of CleanSweep plus added protection against scratching  and scuffing. Polycarbonate-fused  aluminum oxide nano particles for premier scratch and scuff protection
Coated NailsNails which have been coated with a resin or other type of coating which gives the nails better staying power.  This helps prevent the nails from working back up from the underlayment and causing what are commonly called nail-pops.  Nail-pops cause bumps in the appearance of the finished flooring.  Some coated nails cause staining of resilient flooring.  A quick test should be run to determine the potential for staining.
Color Trials Material could be graded as regulars or irregulars, except color range is beyond acceptable limits for either grade. Color Trial material is sold “as is” with no warranty. Color Trails will be sold as single rolls.  This category will include Residential Rotogravure Sheet Flooring Products.
Commercial Flooring  Resilient floors designed for installation in commercial settings such as schools, hospitals, public buildings and institutions. Also referred to as contracted flooring.
Concrete CuringThe process of keeping concrete moist for an extended period of time. Curing is necessary to ensure proper hydration, and for strength and quality.
Concrete Curing CompoundCompounds which are applied to new concrete to seal water in for curing. This makes it possible to get onto the concrete quickly.  Traditionally, slabs were kept wet for curing by traditional means such as wet straw, burlap, plastic film, etc. This kept the concrete wet for the 28 day “wet cure” but did not allow for use of the slab during the curing period. Whenever curing agents have been used, a bond test should be run to determine the compatibility of the adhesive to the curing compounds. Curing compounds must be removed in areas where calcium chloride tests are being run. When moisture testing fails, curing agents need to be removed to allow the concrete to dry.
Concrete HardenerCompounds or other materials designed to strengthen the surface of new concrete and improve the quality of old concrete. These do not normally cause any bonding problems with resilient flooring installations, but a bond test should be run.
Concrete SealerSealers are normally a finish coat used to make the concrete suitable for traffic and should not be used when the slab is intended as a substrate for resilient flooring. Sealers are designed to prevent water and dirt from getting into the concrete from the surface and render the concrete nonporous. While they are more likely to interfere more with the bond of water-based adhesives than with solvent-based ones such as cutbacks, a bond test should always be run.
Construction Joint Joints in concrete which occur whenever concrete work is concluded for the day. They separate areas of concrete placed at different times. In slabs on grade, construction joints usually align with and function as control or isolation joints. May be filled with a Portland-based underlayment before the application of resilient flooring.
CONTINUUMA simple, organized tonal step color system that unites hue, value and chroma. This expanded and flexible range of color optimizes color selections across our entire portfolio of commercial flooring products.
Control JointsJoints in concrete which are grooved, formed or sawed into slabs so cracking will occur in these joints rather than in a random manner. They extend to 1/4 the depth of the concrete thickness. When the concrete is completely cured and dry, they may be filled with a Portland-based underlayment before the application of resilient flooring.
Cove Based Usually made of rubber or vinyl in a variety of sizes and shapes, cove base is designed to give a finished appearance between the floor and the wall.  The base meets requirements of ASTM F 1861, Standard Specification for Resilient Wall Base.
Cove Molding  A trim piece having one edge with a concave radius. A cove is used to form a junction between the bottom wall course and the floor.
Cove StickA stick made of wood, plastic or wax which is placed at the juncture of the floor and wall to support sheet flooring which is flash coved. If there is no support behind the cove, the flooring can be punctured or cracked.
Coverage  To overlay or spread with something usually measured in square feet or square yards.
EmbossingA permanent multilevel surface of flooring produced by mechanical or chemical means during manufacturing. Embossing provides a three-dimensional appearance and helps conceal subfloor irregularities. It also prolongs gloss retention because only the high points of the embossing receive surface abrasion.
End Stops                                     Edges of various types of permanent or resilient base used at the junctures of floors and walls, where the base material meets an exposed door frame, ends at a wall line, or in any case where the base material does not completely enclose the perimeter of any room area.
Expansion Joint Cover  Special covers designed to span expansion joints and move with the movement of the separate parts of concrete without breaking.
Face Wrinkling Wrinkle appearing on the surface of adhered flooring. This is normally caused by severe compression of the flooring. normally associated with hard set, firm bonding adhesives over shrinking substrates.
FillerThe composition of a plastic which contains the inert, unreactive material, which is usually inorganic in the case of vinyl flooring; whatever is not filler is binder.  Most fillers are mineral-based materials and are quarried out of the earth. Common fillers for flooring include: limestone, dolomite and clay.
Flash Coving  An extension of the sheet flooring up the wall a few inches to form a wall based integral with the flooring.
FlexibilityThe degree of a floor covering material’s ability to be bent, turned or twisted without cracking, breaking or showing other permanent damage. Flexibility will vary with temperature.
Full Spread InstallationSpreading the adhesive over the entire substrate befiore placing the flooring.
GaugeThe nominal thickness of a flooring material or of a layer within the material. With resilient flooring, wear layer and backing gauge are often listed separately.
Gouge  A groove or cavity in the flooring surface accompanied by material removal and penetration below the immediate flooring surface.
Heat-Welded SeamsA seam produced by grooving abutting edges of resilient flooring and filling the groove with heated, fused or melted material (usually from a weld rod) to provide a bond and seal. Excess welding material is trimmed flush with the finished flooring after cooling.
Herringbone WorkA fairly common method of brick or tile installation where the rows of courses are arranged diagonally instead of perpendicular to or at right angles to the surrounding walls of the room. Often used for the installation of  3″ x 9″ or 6″ x 12″ rectangular pieces of resilient floors.
Heterogeneous Sheet FlooringFloor surfacing in sheet form consisting of a wear layer and other layers which differ in composition and/or design and may contain a reinforcement. (Sometimes called layered composite or backed vinyl sheet flooring.) The flooring meets requirements of ASTM F 1303, Standard Specification for Sheet Vinyl Floor Covering with Backing.
Homogeneous StructureFloor surfacing in sheet form that is of uniform structure and composition throughout, usually consisting of vinyl plastic resins, plasticizers, fillers, pigments and stabilizers. (Sometimes called unbacked vinyl sheet flooring). The flooring meets requirements of ASTM F 1913, Standard Specification for Sheet Vinyl Floor Covering without Backing.
Hot-Melt CalenderingNew technology used by Holmsund  to melt a vinyl  wearlayer into the calender and immediately place it onto a calendered backing material for a composite structure.
Inlaid Sheet FlooringFloor surfacing material in which the decorative pattern or design is formed by color areas set into the surface. The design may or may not extend through to a backing.
Inset  The cutting and placement of a design or motif, usually of contrasting colors, into the overall floor covering.
Intensive MixingWherein vinyl resin, plasticizer, stabilizer and filler are blended together like damp sand and placed in special mixers that run at high speed and sheer forces. The mixture becomes heated due to friction and added heat, then it “fuses” into a dough-like mass which needs further operations to become useable.
Irregulars One piece of Armstrong resilient flooring material that is down-graded from regulars to irregulars because of one or more defects of material workmanship. The defects are primarily visual and may not be of such a degree as to make the goods unusable material. This material is not covered under the Armstrong material warranty and is sold “as is”.
Joints  The junction of precut surfaces butted together, such as tile or underlayment boards.
Layout LinesLines chalked on a substrate to guide in accurately setting tile.
Linoleum A surfacing material composed of a solidified mixture of linseed oil, pine rosin, fossil or other resins or rosins, or an equivalent oxidized oleoresinous binder, ground cork, wood flour, mineral fillers, and pigments bonded to a burlap, jute or other suitable backing.
MasterWorks  Award-winning printing technolopgy creates remarbly realistic-looking designs that replicate woods, stones and more.
MasterWorks 3D with VTx  Same features of MasterWorks Technology with unsurpassed color and print clarity for a high-definition appearance.  
Net SeamA net seam results from the proper setting of an underscriber and angle of the knife blade. If the blade is held at a true 90 degree angle to the floor, a net seam will result. Tilting the blade away from the edge will result in an open seam, while tilting toward the edge produces a too-tight seam.
Nosing The rounded and projecting edges of the treads of a stair or the edge of a landing.  Usually where these edges are right-angled, in resilient floor installations, they are protected by a slightly rounded metal edging, also called “nosings”
On GradeAt ground level or in direct contact with the ground, over fill which is in direct contact with the ground, or with less then 18″ of well-ventilated space between the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member and any point of the ground. This is normally a floor which is on ground level with no basement or crawlspace beneath.
OSB Oriented strand board panels are constructed of strand-like wood particles arranged in layers (usually 3-5) oriented at right angles to each other. No longer used as an underlayment board although it is still available as STURD-I-FLOOR.
Particleboard. Boards manufactured from reconstituted wood particles as opposed to wafers or strands. Commonly referred to as flakeboard or chipboard, these panels are comprised of small particles usually arranged in layers by size.
PlasticizerSpecial oils developed to impact flexibility and special properties like stain resistance) to plastics, like PVC; they are added in the compounding step to the vinyl resin.  The most common plasticizer used in vinyl is called DOP for short, dioctyl phthalate for long (pronounced “die-octil-thal-ate”)
Plywood A fabricated wood board made of three or more separate plies or panels of wood veneer laid with grain of adjoining plies at right angles. The most dimensionally stable of wood underlayment boards, underlayment grade plywood is recommended for all applications of resilient flooring. Standards for acceptable underlayments for resilient floors are set by APA – The Engineered Wood Association.
Printed Sheet Vinyl Flooring  A floor surfacing material which has a pattern printed on a backing and is protected with a wear layer of transparent or translucent vinyl plastic.  Also called rotogravure sheet vinyl flooring.
Quarter Round  A molding, small in size, with the profile of a quarter circle. Frequently used as base molding for resilient flooring.
Reagent Stain ResistanceResistance to color change/residue by common chemicals that floors are exposed to in specific end-use areas, like Betadine in hospital operating rooms, tempera paint in schools, or coffee in other areas.  Reagent stain resistance is primarily a surface characteristic.  It is most dependent upon the existence of surface coatings and the chemistry of the coatings.
Reducer StripSee beveled edging.
RegularsOne piece of Armstrong resilient flooring material that is free from manufacturing defect in material and workmanship.  This material is covered under Armstrong’s material warranty.
Remnants Armstrong resilient flooring material classified as remnants may be no more than three short pieces of regular or irregular material containing defects to same degree and severity as found in irregulars. This material is not covered under the Armstrong material warranty and is sold  “as is”. Minimum size is 15′; maximum size is less than minimum roll size.
Residential Floor  Flooring designed for use in home setting.
Resiliency  The ability of a material to resume it’s former shape after mechanical deformation.
Resilient Floor A nontextile floor surfacing material made in sheet or tile form or formed in place. Materials include but are not limited to asphalt, cork, linoleum, rubber, vinyl, vinyl composition, and poured polymeric systems.
RFCIResilient Floor Covering Institute.
RollingWhen recommended, roll in one direction and then roll in the cross direction. Rolling should be done immediately after placing the flooring into the adhesive. Start at the center of the sheet flooring and work outward to move trapped air to the edges. Rolling flattens adhesive ridges and pushes the flooring into the adhesive for a better bond.
Rotogravure PrintingPrinting process used to print magazines and resilient flooring and other higher fidelity printed color products.
Saddle SeamA permanent and professional repair that is made to Commercial Felt-Backed Corlon by replacing 4″ of material (2″ on both sides) at the seam.
Selvage Edge  Excess material manufactured on the edge of the flooring. It is cut off before the flooring is seamed or matched at the edges.
Scuffing of Resilient Flooring  A wearing away of the surface through abrasion or a thermo-mechanical displacement of the upper surface of the floor covering by friction from traffic bodies.  
SeamThe line along which two pieces of sheet flooring are joined.
Seam CoatingA clear coating used to coat the surface area of seams in resilient flooring. The seam coating protects the seam from dirt and also helps hold seams together.
Securebond Installation System
(Discontinued 1/2006)
Used for commercial flooring with felt composition backings.  S-235 Adhesive is used in the field and S-200 Adhesive, which chemically bonds the seam, is used at all seams and field cuts.
Sheet Resilient Flooring  A form of resilient flooring that is usually thin in comparison to its length and breadth. In addition, the length usually substantially exceeds its width.
Sleeper-Constructed SubfloorA wood subfloor installed over or on an existing concrete subfloor on or below grade without 18″ of well-ventilated air space.
Solid Vinyl Tile A resilient tile flooring composed of binder, fillers, and pigments compounded with suitable stabilizers and processing aids. The binder consists of polymers and/or copolymers of vinyl chloride, other modifying resins, and plasticizers which comprise at least 34% by weight of the finished tile. The polymers and copolymers of vinyl chloride comprise at least 60% of the weight of the binder. The tile meets requirements of ASTMF 1700, Standard Specification for Solid Vinyl Floor Tile.
Specialty Floors Any type of construction is found in these materials, because they exist to provide functions to the floor. Some functions include: slip-retardancy, acoustical properties, sports activities and static-control for industrial situations.
StabilizerChemicals developed to impact light and heat stability to plastics, so they don’t start to turn color when exposed to normal lighting and heat ranges expected in end-use areas.
Stair RisersThe vertical board under the tread in a set of stairs.
StandardsArmstrong resilient flooring material classified as standards may include regular and irregular sheet flooring in a single piece. Used primarily with promotional rotogravure and promotional Commercial Corlon products.  This material is sold “as is”.
Static-Dissipative Flooring  Static-control flooring used extensively in the electronics industry to prevent damage to sensitive components.  
STUD-I-FLOORPerformance rated panels specially designed as combination subfloor/underlayment. Those commonly encountered are plywood or OSB.
Subfloor  A floor laid as a base for underlayment, resilient floor covering or other finished flooring.
Subfloor/Underlayment CombinationA floor substrate which must meet structural requirements as well as have a smooth surface suitable for floor covering.
SubstrateA smooth surface used  beneath floor covering – such as concrete, underlayment, or existing resilient flooring.
Suspended (Grade Levels)A suspended floor is one with a minmum of 18″ of well-ventilated air space below the subfloor.
Telegraphing  When the irregularities, imperfections, or patterns of the substrate are visibly transmitted through the flooring.
Tile Resilient Flooring A flat, thin piece of resilient material (such as cork, linoleum, rubber, solid vinyl, or vinyl composition) that is used to cover floors and can be installed as individual units.  Tiles are usually square with sides of 9 to 24 inches. Most common are 12 inch by 12 inch tiles. They can also be rectangular with sides of 3  to 36 inches.
Traffic Staining/YellowingYellowing caused by a chemical interaction of the anti-oxidants put in rubber shoe soles and plasticizers in vinyl. The more plasticizer, usually the higher the staining, except with the use of very expensive non-staining plasticizer. This is also caused by a tracking-in of asphalt driveway resins and asphalt driveway sealers.
Transition Strip  Normally a plastic, wood or metal strip which smoothly transitions a higher piece of flooring to a lower piece such as carpet to vinyl.
TunnelingWhen incomplete bonding causes releasing from the substrate and long areas of the flooring form tunnel-like deformities usually over underlayment joints. Tunnels are normally caused by movement of the underlayment joints from moisture growth and are sometimes combined with product growth.
Two and Three Piece RegularsShort pieces of regular flooring material, below the minimum size acceptable as a one-piece regular but not less than 22′ 6″.  This material is equivalent in quality to regulars and is covered under Armstrong’s material warranty.
Underlayment  A material placed under resilient flooring to provide a suitable installation surface.
Urethane WearLayerExceptional protection. Easy-to-clean.  
Vinyl Asbestos Tile  An obsolete form of resilient tile composed of vinyl plastic binders, chrysotile asbestos fibers, mineral fillers and pigments.
Vinyl Composition TileA resilient tile floor covering composed of binder, fillers and pigments compounded with suitable stabilizers and processing aids. The binder consists of polymers and/or copolymers of vinyl chloride, other modifying resins, and plasticizers. The tile meets requirements of ASTMF 1066, Standard Specification for Vinyl Composition Floor Tile
Vinyl no-wax WearLayerEasy-to-clean and care for.
Vinyl ResinPolyvinyl chloride (PVC) which has been polymerized from vinyl chloride monomer into a powdery form for mixing with other ingredients to form rigid vinyl (as found in house siding, PVC pipe, credit cards, etc.) or plasticized vinyl (as found in shower curtains, pool liners, and of course, floors etc.).
WearDeterioration caused from use. A diminishing from the accumulation of abrasion, gouging, scratching, and scuffing of the thickness of the flooring.
Wear LayerThe portion of a resilient floor covering that contains or protects the pattern and design exclusive of temporary finishes or maintenance coatings.
Updated on May 12, 2023