CARPET FLOORING GLOSSARY
The primary backing material of carpeting is usually made of woven polypropylene and its main value is to provide a base cloth to hold the yarn in place while the tufting happens.
A second dyeing method used in the manufacturing of carpet involves applying color to the yarn after the carpet has been tufted.
A loop style carpet is often referred to as a berber and can be either produced in a level loop or multi-level loop construction. Often times loop carpets are accented with color fleck to provide a contrast from the primary carpet color.
Bulked Continuous Filament
Continuous long strands of synthetic fiber that have been formed into bundles of yarn. Products made from a continuous filament yarn rarely display any shedding or pilling.
A style of carpet constructed of thicker (sometimes a combination of thicker and thinner), yarn characterized by a longer pile height.
Commonly called padding, this is the layer of material that lies between the carpet and floor. Carpet cushion helps provide comfort and support along with excellent noise reduction. Quality cushion is critical to the performance of carpet and is required by manufacturers warranties.
Carpet Dyeing (Continuous Dyeing)
Also called Continuous Dyeing, color is applied directly to the carpet face by spraying or printing. This process is also used to create multicolor or patterned effects in the carpet.
The loops of yarn are cut, creating a more level finish on the face of the carpet. Textures, saxonies and friezes are all considered cut pile carpets.
A measure of how tightly the yarn is stitched into the primary backing. Higher density carpet will typically wear better than lower density carpet.
Is determined by the actual amount of fiber per square yard, and is measured in ounces.
Fiber is the basic material that a carpet is made of. Over ninety percent of all of the carpet made today is made up of synthetic fiber. The rest is natural fiber, most commonly wool.
This is a cut pile style that has a very high twist level, meaning each strand of yarn is twisted so tightly that they actually curl over at the end. This creates a textured surface with a casual appearance, and a carpet of high durability and very good wear-ability.
Created by uncut yarns, loop pile carpet can be level loop or multi level. Loop pile products hold their appearance very well. Since there are no exposed yarn tips, only the sides of the yarn are exposed to wear and stress.
The application of weight (like a high traffic area) on an installed carpet produces the visual effect of carpet “laying down”.
(See Pile Height)
A synthetic fiber. Most quality residential carpets today are made of nylon. Nylon is the leader in: appearance retention, fade and heat resistance, soil and stain resistance, and color and styling.
Cut or uncut loops of yarn that create the surface of carpeting.
Also called the nap, pile height is the length of the tuft measured from the primary backing to the yarn tips.
A common synthetic material well accepted for its bulkiness, color clarity, and good stain and fade resistance. While not as resilient as nylon, Polyester fiber carpet constructed with today’s new technologies can be a good performer.
Another common synthetic material used in carpet manufacturing, sometimes referred to as olefin. Most commonly used in commercial carpeting polypropylene is not as resilient or resistant to abrasion as nylon, it is naturally stain and fade resistant.
Saxony has a smooth, soft, velvet plush look and a luxurious feel with a uniform twist and finish. Be aware that this style will show footprints and vacuum marks.
Another common method of carpet coloring, screen printing is where color is applied through anywhere from one to as many as eight silk-screens.
A change in carpet appearance caused by a combination of wear and carpet tuft distortion. Shading is not an actual change in color, but is a difference in the way the light source refracts off the face of the carpet.
One of the last stages in the manufacturing of carpet, shearing is the process of removing all of the little loose ends and projecting fibers that might have been created during the tufting process. It also helps achieve the yarn’s tip definition of the finished carpet.
Shedding is a natural part of a new carpet. Frequent vacuuming for the first few days should remove any loose fibers from the carpet’s surface.
Refers to small tufts or loops of carpet that become visible after the installation. Use a small pair of scissors to carefully trim the loose fibers flush with the surface of the carpet.
Staple fiber is made up of short strands of fiber (approximately 7 inches long) that are spun together to create strands of yarn. Staple fiber has more of a tendency to “shed” than continuous filament fiber.
The measure of how close the yarns are together. Stitch rate is measured in penetrations, or tufts, in a given length of carpet, usually an inch. The stitch rate is controlled by how fast the carpet is moved through the tufting machine.
Man-made, using chemical compounds versus natural materials. Over ninety percent of all of the carpet is made up of synthetic fiber – usually one of three materials: nylon, polypropylene or polyester. All three are created by similar chemical processes using oil and natural gas.
A very popular cut pile carpet that has alternating twists of yarn creating a tonal appearance. This carpet creates a more casual atmosphere in the room and is available in a broad range of colors and densities.
When two different flooring products meet – say, carpeting and a hardwood floor – it’s called a transition. Professional installers try to match the surface heights of various flooring products to minimize transitions.
The first step in the manufacturing of carpet. Tufting begins with the process of weaving the synthetic or staple fiber into a primary backing material.
Carpet yarns are twisted around each other to produce both textural and performance characteristics. Typically the higher the twist the better the performance.
Yarn dyeing, also called pre-dyeing, is where the color is applied to the yarn prior to tufting. The advantages of all yarn dyeing methods include good side-by-side color consistency, large lot sizes, and uniformity.
CERAMIC TILE GLOSSARY
Most manufacturers will have a rating system that is based on or supported by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). Many times you can find these ratings on the tile sample or in the product catalog. The most common system rates ceramic tile abrasion resistance or the overall durability of the tile. Other ratings might include: scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.
Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Biocuttura Tiles are first fired after the green tile is dried and then fired again after the glaze is applied. Also call Double Fired.
When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see two layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze.
A ceramic floor tile trim that has one rounded finished edge on the tile to give a nice finishing touch. Sometimes it is also used as a substitute for cove base.
Ceramic tiles are created from natural products extracted from the earth that are shaped into tiles and then fired in kilns at extremely high temperatures.
Today, many ceramic tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thin set method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar. This backer board is called a CBU, or cement backer unit, which provides a supportive and water resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.
An industry rating system that indicates ceramic tile abrasion resistance or the overall durability of the tile. There are 5 classes you should be aware of.
Class 1: no foot traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications only and not for the floor.
Class 2: light traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications and for residential bathroom flooring only.
Class 3: light to moderate traffic. These tiles can be used for residential floor and wall applications including bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, dining rooms and family rooms. They’re a good all-around performer.
Class 4: moderate to heavy traffic. These tiles are recommended for residential, medium commercial and light industrial floor and wall applications including shopping malls, offices, restaurant dining rooms, showrooms and hallways.
Class 5: heavy/extra heavy traffic. These tiles can be installed anywhere. They will hold up in floor and wall applications at airports, supermarkets and subways.
Most manufacturers will have a rating system that is based on or supported by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). Many times you can find these ratings on the tile sample or in the product catalog. One rating system measures Slip Resistance, which is measured by its Coefficient of Friction (COF). The higher the COF the more slip resistant the tile. This is important when selecting a floor tile for areas that get wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor. Other ratings listed by the manufacturer might include: scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.
A ceramic floor tile trim that has two rounded finished edges on the tile to be used to complete a corner.
Extruded tiles are formed by forcing the clay material through a mold for the desired shape versus pressing the tile.
When creating a pattern with different ceramic tiles, the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest areas is called the “field tile”.
The fifth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The tiles are fired in the kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Part of the fourth step (glazing) in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The glaze liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes. The glaze is applied by either a high-pressure spray or is poured directly onto the tile.
Glazed ceramic tiles are coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains. Typically, they have a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. They can offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tile. When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see two layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze. Glazed tiles have a hard non-porous, impermeable surface after firing.
The fourth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles. Glazing liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes. The glaze is applied by either a high-pressure spray or is poured directly onto the tile.
The third step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. Here, clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape. These pressed tiles are called green tiles at this stage.
Grout is a type of cement that is used to fill the space and provide support in tile joints. There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Pigment is added to the cement at the job site when the grout is mixed.
Tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption. These tiles are frost proof and can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades. You can use these where winter is for real.
As the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Tiles that are fired once after the glaze is applied are called Monocuttura Tile or single fired.
In addition to ceramic tile styles, manufacturers also offer decorative inserts, medallions and mosaics that are used to create intricate patterns and beautiful borders. Tile size 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset. Some of these smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon.
Tile is usually referred to by its nominal size, not its actual size. During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink, on average, by about 10% in size. For example, a 12” by 12” floor tile may actually measure 11-1/2 inches square. Currently, the most popular ceramic floor tiles are the larger sized tiles such as 13” by 13”, 16” by 16” and 18” by 18” sizes.
Tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture. They are suited for indoor use only.
Porcelain tile is made up of 50% feldspar and is fired at a much higher temperature than regular ceramic tile. This makes porcelain tile much harder and denser than other tile products. Because of its highly durable make-up, porcelain is more resistant to scratches and can withstand temperature extremes. Also, because porcelain is non-porous, it’s very stain resistant, has very low water absorption ratings (Less than 0.5%) and thus can be used for interior and exterior applications as well as heavy-use and commercial areas. Finally, because porcelain’s color goes all the way through, small scratches or chips are less noticeable.
The third and most common step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape. These pressed tiles are called green tiles at this stage.
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Sanded grout is recommended for tile joints 1/8th of an inch and larger.
Sanitary Cove Base
A ceramic floor tile trim that has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile.
Tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They are applicable for indoor use only.
Shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots. Shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating.
Low (V1): consistent shade and texture.
Moderate (V2): moderate shade and texture variation.
High (V3): high shade and texture variation.
Random (V4): very high shade and texture variation.
The process for installing a ceramic floor begins with the preparation of the tile foundation, or what’s called the substrate. Common materials used as tile substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood, and drywall.
In the past, ceramic tile was installed using what is called the thickset or mud set method. In this method, a thick layer of mortar was applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate. This provided a strong, flat base onto which the tile was installed. The thickset method is the most effective for larger sized tile, but it’s an involved and labor-intensive process.
Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thinset method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar.
Unglazed tiles that are a solid color all the way through and do not have a top layer of glaze are often referred to as through-body construction. (See Unglazed.)
Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Moisture absorption means that, as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Unglazed tiles are a solid color all the way through and do not have a top layer of glaze. This is often referred to as through-body construction. They have no additional surface applications and are typically more dense and durable than glazed tile. Thus they are more suitable for interior and exterior applications. Unglazed tiles do have good slip resistance, however please note that they do require sealing to help prevent staining. They come in various surface treatments and textures.
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Unsanded grout is typically used in joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch.
Tiles that absorb less that 3% moisture. They are referred to as frost resistant tiles but cannot be used in exterior areas where freeze- thaw conditions could cause tile cracking.
HARDWOOD FLOORING GLOSSARY
Any floor that is above the level of the surrounding ground on which the structure is built.
Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.
A slightly different chemical make up than Polyurethane with the same benefits.
Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer, which is becoming extremely popular on the better grade wood floors.
A cement slab poured below the level of the surrounding terrain.
A quality of oak. Better Oak has some small knots and very little dark graining.
These products have a very distinctive groove in them. Beveled edge planks lend themselves to an informal and country decor. With the urethane finishes applied at the factory today, the beveled edges are sealed completely, making dirt and grit easy to be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.
In the summer months, when the humidity is higher, wood will expand and gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle.
Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
A quality of oak. Clear Oak has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive.
Engineered wood plies that are stacked on top of each other but in the opposite direction is called cross-ply construction. This creates a wood floor that is dimensionally stable and less affected by moisture than a 3/4” solid wood floor. Cross-ply construction allows the plies to counteract each other which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with the changes in humidity. The other advantage for you is versatility. You can install these floors over concrete slabs in your basement as well as anywhere else in your home.
A type of warping with a concave condition; the sides are higher than the center.
Each board is just slightly beveled. Some manufacturers add an eased edge to both the length of the planks as well as the end joints. Eased edges are used to help hide minor irregularities, such as uneven plank heights. Eased edge is also called micro-beveled edge.
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Solid and Longstrip Plank.) Engineered wood floors are generally manufactured with 2,3, or 5 thin sheets or plies of wood that are laminated together to form one plank. Most engineered floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or floated over a wide variety of subfloors, including some types of existing flooring.
Finish in Place
Finish in Place, or unfinished hardwood, is installed in the home and then sanded. The stain and 2-3 coats of urethane finish are then applied. The urethane finish, brushed or mopped on, is known as a “floor finish” not a “furniture finish”. Finish in Place floors may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.
Floating Floor Installation
With the floating installation method the floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. A thin pad is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. Then a recommended wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. The padding has its advantages: it protects against moisture, reduces noise transmission, is softer under foot, and provides for some additional “R” value. Some engineered floors and all Longstrip floors can be floated.
The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor. You should know that engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. Solid strip floors and plank floors can only be nailed or stapled.
Each wood species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Natural variations in the color and grain are normal and to be expected.
Janka Hardness Test
This wood hardness rating test measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood. The higher the number the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring.
On a piece of wood, the round, harder, usually darker in color, cross section of where the branch joined the trunk of the tree.
Laminate is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.
Long Strip Plank
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Engineered and Solid.) Long Strip Plank floors are similar to Engineered floors and have several wood plies that are glued together. The center core is generally a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of the core. The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is made up of many smaller individual pieces that are laid in three rows. This gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks long. Long Strip floors come in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species and when damaged they are easy to replace.
Moisture Cured Urethane
A similar chemical make up as solvent-based urethanes, but this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure.
Are used to cover expansion joints and to enhance the performance and appearance of the hardwood floor. In many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for hardwood installation.
This method is typically used with the 3/4″ solid products, however there are adapters available for thinner flooring sizes as well. 2″ nailing cleats are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the subfloor.
Number 1 Common
A quality of oak. Number 1 Common Oak has more knots and more dark graining.
Number 2 Common
A quality of oak. Number 2 Common Oak has more knots and more dark graining.
A cement slab that exists on the same plane as the surrounding terrain.
When shopping for a hardwood floor you will see boards in various sizes. The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks.” When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide. This is the classic strip wood floor, although it is possible to find a narrower width or a slightly thinner gage. The strips are generally in random lengths from 12″ – 84″.
A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.
Pre-Finished Wood Floor
Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes ready for installation in your home. The hardwood boards have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant. In many cases this can provide a harder, better- protected surface. Several coats of urethane are sprayed on the boards and then they are UV dried for a very durable finish. Pre-finished floors offer a wider variety of wood species and save hours of labor and cleanup. They also may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.
Each species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Rotary Cut is a cutting process that displays a larger and bolder graining pattern.
A quality of oak. Select Oak has some small knots and very little dark graining.
Each species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Sliced Cut is a cutting process that shows a more uniform pattern.
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Engineered and Longstrip Plank.) Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides. When we talk about solid wood floors, we tend to think of floors that are unfinished, but it’s important to know that there are also many pre-finished 3/4” solid wood floors. Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and because so they are used in nail down installations and are not recommended for installation below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab.
Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
The edges of all boards meet squarely creating a uniform, smooth surface that blends the floor together from board to board.
With this method 1-1/2 to 2 inch staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor. A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and subfloor.
When shopping for a hardwood floor you will see boards in various sizes. The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks.” When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide. This is the classic strip wood floor, although it is possible to find a narrower width or a slightly thinner gage. The strips are generally in random lengths from 12″ – 84″. The most common wood species used for solid strip floors are red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan.
Tongue and Groove
The joining of two boards, one board having a tongue on its edge that fits into a groove in the edge of the other.
Un-Finished Wood Floor
An Un-Finished wood floor allows you to have a custom job – you choose the wood species and it’s sanded and the stain is applied on site. With Un-Finished you also have the chance to level the surface of the entire floor after it has been installed.
Factory wood finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.
Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
LAMINATE HARDWOOD FLOORING GLOSSARY
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 or tiles and also helps guard against moisture from the sub-floor.
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 or tiles. The planks or tiles 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 tiles.
Glueless Laminate Flooring
A no mess installation method where the planks or tiles simply interlock together.
Is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.
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 times 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.
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.
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.
NATURAL STONE FLOORING GLOSSARY
An acid-washed finish is shiny with small etching marks (pits in the surface). This finish shows fewer scratches and is much more rustic in appearance than a honed finish. Most stones can be acid-washed but the most common are marble and limestone. Acid washing is also a way to soften the shine on granite.
Brushed features a worn-down look achieved by brushing the surface of the stone, simulating natural wear over time.
Bull Nose Edge
One of two types of edges for natural stone floor tile. A polished bull nose edge has a rounded or curved appearance.
During this stage, the stone slab’s surface is worked down to a relatively uniform thickness across the length of the material.
Wood subfloors usually require a CBU or cement backer unit for support and a moisture barrier.
An underlayment that provides a solid foundation for the tile, while still allowing for slight movement of the substrate without damage. Plus, in the event that water penetrates the grout, in a bathroom for example, it provides a protective waterproof barrier.
At the fabricator’s facility the natural stone slabs are customized for specific installations.
A flamed finish is achieved by heating the surface of the stone to extreme temperatures, followed by rapid cooling. The surface of the stone pops and chips leaving a rough, unrefined texture. This process is usually done with granite. Flamed granite has a highly textured surface, making it ideal for areas where slip resistance might be a concern, like shower areas.
An igneous stone that is extremely hard, dense and resistant to scratches and acid etching. It is an ideal stone for use in flooring and in food preparation areas. Hundreds of varieties of granite exist.
A honed surface provides a flat, matte or satin finish creating a more informal and softer look. This finish is created by stopping short of the last stage of polishing. A honed finish shows fewer scratches, and requires very little maintenance.
Formed when molten rock (called lava or magma) cools and hardens. Granite is an example of an igneous rock.
Another sedimentary stone, it’s formed from calcite and sediment and comes in many earthen colors.
Manufactured Stone/Agglomerate Stone
This is a synthetic stone made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy resins or polyester. Some of the most popular types of manufactured stone products are those made mostly of quartz. The natural quartz gives the product depth and radiance while at the same time strength and consistency. Manufactured Stone is strong, it has four times the flexural strength of granite, so there’s less chance of chipping or cracking. It’s also called Agglomerate Stone. The most well known agglomerated stone is poured-in-place terrazzo, used in building for thousands of years.
A derivative of limestone. It is a metamorphic stone that can be polished. Marble is characteristically soft and easily scratched or etched by acids. There are countless types of marble from around the world.
Created when other kinds of rocks are changed by great heat and pressure inside the earth. Marble, slate and quartzite are examples of metamorphic rocks.
Polished Surface Finish
A polished surface creates a beautiful glossy shine from the natural reflection of the stone’s crystals. The mirror-like shine is accomplished by using progressively finer polishing heads during the polishing process, similar to the way that sandpaper smoothes hardwood furniture.
The amount and size of the pores in a stone. Travertine is very porous and granite is not.
For millions of years, a combination of heat and pressure created blocks of natural stone, including granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and slate. As the earth’s crust began to grow and erode, it pushed minerals up from its core, forming massive rock deposits, which we refer to as “quarries”.
A sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. A number of varieties are available.
Saw-Cut Refined Finish
Saw-cut refined offers a matte finish. After initial cutting, the stone is processed to remove the heaviest saw marks but not enough to achieve a honed finish. You can purchase granite, marble and limestone this way, typically on a special order basis.
Formed from biological deposits that have undergone consolidation and crystallization. Limestone and sandstone fall into this category.
Blocks of stone that have been extracted from the earth and cut.
A metamorphic stone that has a sheet-like structure. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale, and comes in a multitude of colors including reds and greens.
Split Faced Finish
Split-faced gives you a rough texture, but one not as abrasive as flamed. This finish is typically achieved by hand cutting and chiseling at the quarry, exposing the natural cleft of the stone. This finish is primarily done on slate.
The typical natural stone floor tile sizes are 12”x12”, 13”x13”, 16”x16” and 18”x18.
Straight 90-Degree Edge
One of two types of edges for natural stone floor tile. A polished straight 90- degree edge creates a more modern and clean look.
The surface on which the stone tile is laid.
A cement based adhesive that is applied to the surface with a notched or grooved trowel. The tile is then placed into the thinset and pressed firmly into place. Since stone tiles vary in thickness and size, the amount of thinset mortar applied is adjusted where needed.
A crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone which, because of its structure, can be filled and honed and is dense enough to be a type of marble.
Delivers a smooth or slightly pitted surface, and broken, rounded edges and corners. There are several methods used to achieve the tumbled look. 3/8” thick tiles can be tumbled in a machine to achieve the desired look, or 3cm tiles can be tumbled and then split, creating two tiles that are tumbled on one side. Marble and limestone are primary candidates for a tumbled finish.
A dry, Portland cement-based product that is mixed with water onsite. The grout mixture is spread over the tiled area with a grout float to fill in all the joints. A sponge is then used to remove excess grout from the surface of the tile while leaving the grout in the joints to cure. Un-sanded grout is most commonly used in natural stone installations because it is able to fill the small joints more easily and will not scratch soft stones like sanded grout.