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Laminate Vocabulary

For definitions of other terms not listed here, please go to these sections: How It’s Made, Styles, Before You Buy and Installation.

The adaptation of the laminate floor to its installation environment.

In laminate flooring, the bottom layer, or backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor.

Decorative Layer
In laminate flooring, a decorative layer or print film is adhered on top of the core board giving the floor its hardwood or tile look. This decorative layer is a printed, high-resolution photo-reproduction of wood grain, natural stone or ceramic tile pattern.

End Molding/Carpet Reducer
Used as a transition from laminate floors to different flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.

Floating Floor System
Laminate floors are installed using a “floating floor system” in which a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks. The planks sit directly on the underlayment and are not anchored to the sublfoor on the bottom but rather are anchored on the edges.

Glued Laminate Flooring
These are the original laminate floors that do require a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank. Once the glue is dried the planks are almost impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and squares.

Glueless Laminate Flooring
A no mess installation method where the planks or squares simply interlock together.

Is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.

Melamine Resin
Used to help improve the moisture resistance and durability of the core board of laminate flooring.

Trim pieces that cover the space that is allowed for the flooring to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor. They also help with the transition to an adjacent floor. Moldings for laminate floors are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.

Overlapping Stair Nosing
Similar to a flush stair nosing except the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of your floor. The overlapping stair nosing is secured to the sub floor and not to the laminate floor so the floor is free to move

Seams that have raised where the laminate planks or tiles join.

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

Pre-Glued Laminate Flooring
A no mess method of installation because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves. A thin, plastic underlayment is needed to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.

Quarter Round Trim
Installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.

Reducer Strip
The transitional piece installers use to connect the laminate with another type of floor covering such as vinyl, thin ceramic tile, or low-pile carpeting.

The quality of the laminate partially has to do with the photography and the number of photographs per style, which is known as "screens". The more screens a product has, the more variation it can offer. And the more “authentic” the laminate looks.

The junction where the panels connect together.

Square Nosing / Universal Edge
Used where the laminate flooring butts up to carpeting, or various vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.

Step Down Stair Nose
A coordinating molding piece providing the proper transition for all the steps in a home.

A laminate panel in a geometric shape – square.

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.

A material used between the laminate flooring and the subfloor that acts as a sound and moisture barrier and also allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in the temperature.

Wear Layer
The durable, top layer of laminate flooring. It provides protection and stain resistance. Many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability.