A Glossary for Laminate Flooring

Acclimation – The 48-hour time period when unopened packages of laminate flooring should be placed in the center of the room in which they will be installed. The acclimation process allows the flooring to stabilize to the room’s temperature; failure to do so can result in the boards shrinking (creating gaps) or expanding (creating peaks).

Clic2Clic – Swiss Krono’s specially developed tongue-and-groove joints that make it possible to snap the individual laminate flooring planks together with a simple “click.” Once joined, the planks form a single, fixed unit.

Door-jam saw – Used to cut away a portion of the door casing, allowing laminate planks to slide underneath.

End molding – Used as a transition between floors of unequal heights. Examples: From laminate to carpet or vinyl.

Expansion – The floor’s reaction as it responds to the room’s temperature and humidity. As temperature or humidity rises throughout the day or year, laminate flooring planks expand outward, which is why the expansion gap – a 3/8 of an inch gap between the floor and perimeter walls — is a critical part of laminate flooring installation.

Floating floor – A floor that is not nailed or glued to the subfloor. Swiss Krono laminate floors maintain their structure and stability because of their expertly designed locking systems.

Laminate flooring – Extremely durable flooring comprised of four layers: a stabilizing under-layer, a dense fiberboard core, a decorative paper layer containing the wood grain or tile design, and a clear, protective wear layer.

Main light source – The main light source of a room often is sunshine coming through the main window in a room. Laminate flooring should be installed parallel to the main light source in a room to create the most flattering look.

Pull bar – Installation tool used for tightening the tongue-and-groove joints in laminate-flooring planks.

Quarter-round molding – Used to cover the gap between the floor and the baseboard and to accent the transition. Especially useful for retrofitted floors where the baseboard is typically not removed.

Reducer – Used to make a transition from a laminate floor to ceramic tile, thresholds and cabinets.

Spacers – Small, triangular plastic pieces used to maintain the required expansion gap around the laminate floor, allowing room for expansion.

Stagger – When installing laminate flooring planks, staggering helps joints disappear into the hue and grain of the surface; repeating the same joint line throughout can call attention by creating a floor-wide pattern. Staggering is accomplished by using a two-thirds-length plank to start the second row and a one-third-length plank to start the third row.

Stair nosing – Used to provide a finished look to stair risers.

Subfloor – The floor, generally wood or concrete, on which laminate planks are to be installed. See installation instructions for subfloor preparation.

T-molding – Used to transition two floors of the same height, typically between rooms or in an entryway. Also used as an expansion joint for floors installed in larger-sized rooms.

Tapping block – A hard-plastic block that is placed against the edge of a laminate floor plank and used to tap end joints together.

Tongue and groove – The edge profile found on laminate flooring that allows planks to fastening together without the use of glue or nails.

Underlayment – Pad installed above the subfloor before laminate planks are installed. The underlayment pad provides sound dampening and levels out minor imperfections in the subfloor.

Vapor barrier – A polyethylene film used to prevent moisture from concrete subfloors from seeping into the laminate-wood planks, creating damage.

Wall base – Also called a baseboard, it is used to make the transition from floor to wall in almost every installation.

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