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Laminate Flooring Glossary

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AC Rating/Abrasion figure/Abrasion classification

The abrasion figure is the figure which describes the abrasion of laminated flooring. The so-called Taber-test produces these figures, which are attached to abrasion classifications according to the new Euro-standard EN 13329. This is an important part of the performance classification of a laminate floor. The resistance to abrasion is one of many factors to determine the quality of laminate flooring.



Balancing foil

This is the layer under the substrate protecting the same from moisture and contributing to form stability.

Bleaching resistance

This describes how a laminate floor will react when exposed to light. “No. 6 on the blue scale” means that a floor will keep its coloration even when exposed to extensive sunlight.

Build-up of laminate flooring

Laminate flooring has a three-layered build up: 1. decor paper + overlay, 2. substrate, 3. balancing foil. The decor paper, overlay and the balancing foil are impregnated with special thermosetting resins, which are pressed onto the substrate using high pressure.



Castor chair effect

This is a special feature of floorings. It is tested by dragging loaded, soft chair rollers over the surface, measuring any damages after a set time of several thousand movements.

Cleaning and maintenance

The pore-free closed surface of laminate flooring allows for problem-free cleaning. Simply vacuum, sweep or wipe – finished. If you wipe, sweep only using a damp cloth.

Cigarettes burns resistance

Describes the behavior of a laminate flooring towards cigarette burns, insuring the high temperature resistance of the totally cured resin-impregnated, pore-free surface. There will be no visible damages through cigarette ash and stubbing out of cigarette butts.




All laying leftovers of laminate flooring can be disposed off together with the normal household garbage. Complete decommissioned floors however should be brought directly to a waste disposal site where they will rot, because they mainly consist of wood.

Decor/Decor layer

This is the name for the visual appearance of the surface of a laminate flooring. The motif is produced via photo-technical reproduction and printed via rotary printing on so called decor-paper. The spectrum of decors encompasses through the photo-realistic wood-grain re-productions, rock formations, to ceramic and fantasy decors. Once the finished and impregnated decor paper is pressed onto the substrate together with the overlay, decor-paper plus overlay are called decor layer.


Abbreviation for Direct Pressure Laminate, which characterizes a technique in which decor layer and balancing foil are directly pressed onto the substrate.



Edge gaps

Distance to the wall, which has to be observed when laying laminate flooring. The so-called elasticity joint ensures that the floor can contract or extract when climatic changes occur. The distance to the wall should be minimum 8 mm which should also be observed when heating pipes, door frames, or pillars etc. are involved.

Emission classification

A term, which is very often used in product information. E1 means that the formaldehyde emission limit decreed by law of 0.1 ppm (= 0.12 mg/m3 air) is observed.

Environmentally friendliness

Laminate flooring is made 80% of timber. It contains formaldehyde. The emissions however are minor and well under the legally allowed limit of 0.1 ppm (= 1.2 mg/m3 air), the so-called E1-limit. Laminate flooring can be used without any problems even in children’s rooms.


The European standard of laminate flooring lists all criteria of high quality laminate flooring and all relevant tests in a systematic and comprehensive order for the first time. A very important part is the performance classifications, enabling the consumer to assess a quality product and to define his or her own requirements.



Floor heating

Laminate flooring can, according to the manufacturers’ information, be used on subfloors containing hot water underfloor heating. The relatively small forward resistance enhances the efficiency of the heating.




Abbreviation for High Density Fiberboard, which is very often used as substrate for laminate flooring, because of its high material density, giving it a high durability.


Abbreviation for High Pressure Laminate. This is a procedure in which decor paper and overlay are pressed together with especially strong papers (= kraft papers). Only in the second step this high-pressure layer sheet will be pressed onto the substrate. These additional kraft papers within the layer make the laminate flooring extremely durable.



Impact resistance

Information how the laminate flooring will react when knocked by any hard subject. When tested, an iron ball is dropped onto the surface.

Impact Sound/Foot Step Sound

Impact sound is the sound that is generated by stepping on to the laminate flooring. Impact sound is different from footstep sound, which is the sound created in space underneath a laminate flooring. The strength of the impact sound is indicated according to the EPLF® Standard of impact sound and is measured in sound values. These sound values are absolute and linear, comparable with each other and can be represented on an objective scale of values.

Inflammability classification

Classification of the inflammability of a laminate flooring. The manufacturer has to produce these classifications. There is often the classification DIN 4102-B1 published in product information, meaning, “low inflammable”.


Laminate flooring is mostly laid in a “floating” manner, meaning that it is not like a wall-to-wall carpet glued onto the sub-floor. Single panels are integrated with the help of tongue and groove profiles. Please observe the laying instructions of the chosen manufacturer.




Short for laminate flooring (look at “build-up”).




Abbreviation for Medium Density Fiberboard, which is often used for laminate flooring and which is lighter than the High Density Fiber-board (HDF).




Describing the top layer of a laminate flooring (also called wear layer) containing corundum-particles, giving a high degree of durability to the floor, protecting the underlying decor.



Performance classification

Quality category according to the new Euro-standard EN 13329, which defines the area of usage of a laminate flooring. This is divided in the categories “domestic” and “commercial”, which are each split in moderate, general, and heavy usage. These classifications are declared using special symbols on the package of the products. Which products are placed into which classification depends on the following criteria: abrasion resistance, impact resistance, resistance to staining, resistance to cigarette burns, effect of a furniture leg, effect of a castor chair, and thickness swelling.

Pressure resistance

Information how a laminate flooring will behave when furniture, high heels etc. are applied to it, which is a quality criteria for some manufacturers.




Strongly damaged laminate flooring elements can be exchanged by experts in such a way that there will be no visible differences to the rest of the flooring. For repairing small damaged areas repair sets are available.

Resistance to staining

Explanations how laminate flooring will react when substances of the daily life are applied like food, beverages etc. Laminate floorings’ pore-free surfaces can be wiped clean at any time and without any problem.



Scratch resistance

Allows an insight how the laminate flooring will behave, when scratched. This is a very important quality criterion, which is derived from scratching the flooring with a diamond tipped instrument.

Skirting board

Skirting boards are the finish of laminate flooring towards the wall. The trade offers a great variety of products fitting to the decors of the flooring, amongst them different colored skirting boards, which enable the consumer to achieve stunning visual effects.


The middle layer of a laminate flooring made from HDF, MDF or particleboard. Decor layer together with the overlay (top side) and balancing foil (bottom) are pressed on this substrate.




Classical test method to check the abrasion resistance of laminate flooring, rotating a test piece underneath two wheels covered with abrasive paper. Revolutions, type and changing of the abrasive paper are clearly regulated and defined. The number of revolutions until a certain point, the initial point (IP), results in the abrasion figure. The different figures are assigned to clearly defined abrasion classifications.

Thickness swelling

With some exemptions laminate flooring should not be applied in any wet rooms, saunas, or outdoor facilities, because its wooden ingredients can swell under strong influence of water and moisture.

Tongue and Groove

That is the profile construction milled to the panels’ sides allowing the panels to be pushed together. The connection of tongue and groove is responsible for stable floor construction and protects the floor from moisture.



Walking-noise insulation

Underlay like polyethylene foam, PU-foam, corrugated boards, or foam felt are reducing walking noises especially on ‘floating’ laminate flooring.

(8) Comments

  1. I have 2 staircases in my home and am curious if you have products for that application. I`am also
    planing to install approx 1000 sq’ in my home

  2. I have a guestion , more than a comment. We have laminated flooring and now some places are buckling. Can you answear me on my e-mail address. Thank you Don Novak

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