Flooring Glossary

Axminster Carpet:  A machine-woven carpet where an enormous variety of colors are used to produce colorful patterns.

Berber Carpet:  The term Berber is applied to carpet that has theoff-white heathered look of clocks used by the Berber tribes of North Africa.Berber carpets use flecked yarns most often in loop styles. The size of the loops vary from large nubby ones to small, fauxiscal styles. Patterned Berbers are multi-level loop as well as cut and loop styles. Berber styles are also available in pastels and dark tones as well as naturals.

Binding:  A strip sewn over a carpet edge for protection against unraveling. Carpet is bound to form rugs.

Broadloom:  A term originally used to denote carpet produced in widths wider than six feet. Today carpet comes in 6-foot, 12-foot and 15-foot widths.

Carpet:  The general designation for the textiles used as floor coverings.

Carpet Backing:  Fabrics or yarns forming the back of the carpet as opposed to the carpet pile or face. In tufted carpets, there are two backings: a primary backing into which the pile yarn is inserted. Secondary backing is a fabric that is laminated to the back of the carpet for reinforcement and dimensional stability.

Carpet Cushion:  A variety of materials placed under carpet to provide softness and longer wear when it is walked on. In some cases, the carpet cushion is attached to the carpet when it is manufactured. Terms also used: lining, padding, or underlay.

Carpet Pile:  Fibers that form the upper surface of carpet.

Carpet Squares:  Loose laid or self-adhesive backed "tiles" of carpet.

Ceramic Tile:  Made from clay or a mixture of organic materials, ceramic tile is finished by kiln firing. The common types are mosaic and quarry. Made in many shapes and sizes, it is glazed or unglazed. For floors, it is set in a cement or mortar type mixture.

Cork Flooring:  One of the easiest of modern resilient floor coverings, the flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees, a renewable material. Cork flooring is available in tiles and sheet goods in natural unfinished cork, waxed cork, resin-reinforced waxed and vinyl impregnated cork in many colors including natural shades.

Cut and Loop Carpet:  A multilevel loop carpet, where the taller loops are sheared. The resulting uncut loops and sheared top loops create a sculptured pattern. The texture and often subtle, variegated colorings help hide soil and traffic wear.

Cut Pile:  The face of a carpet where the surface is composed of cut ends or yarn.

Dhurrie:  Dhurrie rugs and carpets flat woven items traditional to India, made of cotton or silk. They are noted for soft colorations and varied patterns.

Frieze:  (pronounced "free-zay") A tightly twisted yarn is used to give a rough, nubby appearance to carpet pile. Frieze carpets may be loop or cut styles. It is also carpet made from frieze yarns.

Glazed Tile:  Clay shaped into tiles, fire-hardened, then covered with a matte or glossy glaze or sealant to make the tiles more resilient to moisture.

High Low:  Multilevel carpets with high and low loop pile areas or high cut-pile and low loop areas. The latter is also called a cut and loop carpet.

Hooked Rug:  Rugs made by pulling yarns or fabric strips through a mesh backing. Many are designed in various colors to create a scene or design.

Indoor/Outdoor Carpet:  Carpet designed to be used outdoors.

Kilim or Kelim:  A flat woven rug - usually reversible.

Laminate Flooring:  Relatively new to North America, laminates have a dense fiberboard core with a paper pattern layer sealed under high pressure both top and bottom with a plastic-like substance. Sold as planks and panels in wood, stone, tile and other looks.

Level Loop:  A carpet style - woven or tufted - with a same height loop surface. See Berber.

Linoleum:  One of the first resilient floors, it was introduced in the 1800s. Made of linseed oil, gums, cork or wood dust and pigments, linoleum is no longer manufactured in the U.S. Often the term is used incorrectly to describe resilient floors made of vinyl.

Loop Pile Carpet:  Carpet style having a surface made up of uncut loops.

Marble:  Limestone flooring known for its elegant appearance created by polishing its very hard surface. Now available in tiles.

Mosaic Tile:  Small ceramic tile - hard porcelain or glass, glazed or unglazed - mounted on a backing for ease of installation. Often mosaic tiles are used to create designs for walls and floors.

Oriental Rug:  Handwoven or hand knotted rugs native to the Middle or Far East available in many patterns and known for their colorations. Many machine-made rugs, made using Oriental rug designs, are also referred to as Oriental rugs.

Outdoor Carpet:  Carpet designed to be used outdoors on patios, walks and decks. Usually made of polypropylene to withstand the weather and ultra-violet rays of the sun, most outdoor carpet is designed for glue-down installation.

Parquet Floors:  Flooring made up of wood that is laid or inlaid to create patterns, most often geometric ones.

Pickled Floors:  The result of rubbing white paint into previously stained and finished wood flooring for an informal or more casual look.

Pile:  The visible wear surface of carpet, consisting of yarn tufts in loop and/or cur configuration. Sometimes called the face or nap of the carpet.

Plank Flooring:  Wood flooring made of long boards more than 3 inches wide.

Plush Carpet:  A smooth, dense, cut pile carpet in which individual tufts are only minimally visible, and the overall visual effect is a single level of fiber ends.

Plus Carpet:  A smooth, dense, cut pile carpet in which individual tufts are only minimally visible, and the overall visual effect is a single level of fiber ends.

Printed Carpet:  Carpet with pattern applied by methods similar to printing flat textiles and paper.

Quarry Tile:  Glazed or unglazed ceramic tile made using an extrusion process. An example is the terra-cotta squares used in the Southwest.

Rag Rug:  A sturdy, colorful rug handwoven from cotton scraps.

Random Sheared Carpet:  Created by lightly shearing either level loop or high-low loop carpet so that only the higher loops are cut. Sheared areas are less reflective than uncut loops, which appear brighter and lighter in color. Random shearing high-low loop carpet produces a cut and loop style texture.

Remnant:  A short piece of carpet from a roll of carpet that usually measures less than nine feet long. Smooth surfaced flooring (tiles, strips or sheet goods) manufactured by combining a plastic material with filler and pigments, then processed into sheets of different thicknesses. If a backing material is used, the plastic sheet is joined to the backing. Types include solid vinyl, backed or cushioned vinyl, rubber, cork and linoleum.

Rubber Flooring:  Today rubber flooring - tiles and sheet goods - is made from synthetic rubber. It comes in ribbed, coin and other raised patterns.

Rug:  Carpet made or cut and bound into room dimensions and loose laid.

Saxony Carpet:  Cut-pile carpet in a relatively dense construction, with well-defined individual tuft tips. Smoother finished saxonies are called "plushes."

Sculptured Carpet:  Any carpet pattern form from high and low pile areas, such as high-low or cut-and-loop.

Sisal Flooring:  Rugs, mats and matting made from sisal, a natural plant material. Available woven and dyed in various colors, as well as machine and hand painted. Similar flooring is made of jute, coconut and seagrass.

Slate:  A naturally laminated rock that is often used in regular and irregular shapes embedded in cement or mortar to create a hard-surface, pattern floor.

Soil Retardant:  A chemical finish applied to carpet and fabric surfaces which inhibits attachment of soil to fiber. It is usually a topical treatment but may also be inherent in the fiber.

Solid Vinyl Flooring:  This smooth-surface plastic floor is a mixture of vinyl resins, plasticizer, fillers and stabilizers with color added throughout the product. Produced in either square tiles or sheet goods.

Stain Resistant:  A chemical finish applied to or inherent in carpet fibers which inhibit specific stains from adhering to or dying (staining) carpet and fabrics.

Stretch:  A carpet installation term for the give in carpet when it is pulled over pad onto tackless strips.

Strip Flooring:  The most popular wood flooring, it is made of long, narrow - about 3 inches wide - tongue - and - groove boards that are end-matched. Strip flooring wider than 3 inches is called plank flooring.

Tackless Installation:  Where carpet is laid over pad and stretched to fit over tack strips, which are specially made strips of wood with implanted tacks to hold the carpet snugly to the wall. Also called wall-to-wall installation.

Terrazzo:  A smooth multicolored floor made of marble or stone chips embedded in a cement binder, then highly polished. Traditionally terrazzo floors are poured and set on site, but manufactured terrazzo tiles are also available.

Tufted Carpet:  Carpet manufactured by tufting machines, which insert pile tufts with needles which penetrate a primary backing fabric, thus forming tufts. About 90% of all North American carpet is tufted.

Vinyl Composition Tile:  These floor tiles are made from vinyl resins and filler materials to create resilient flooring in assorted colors and patterns.

Wilton Carpet:  Woven carpet made in a variety of patterns and textures but with a limited number of colors per pattern.

Wood Flooring:  Most wood flooring is made of hardwoods, such as oak, maple, pecan, beech and birch. There is solid wood flooring and laminated, which combines wood layered in different directions for strength and to inhibit warping. Most wood flooring today is prefinished at the factory to ease of installation and uniformity of finish.

Woven Carpet:  Looms interlace warp (lengthwise) and filling (widthwise) yarns to create a sturdy textile for the floor. Much woven carpet is produced in intricate, colorful patterns. Types of woven carpet include Axminster and Wilton.

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