Industry Terminology

Industry Terminology

1) Acetone: One of the most common solvents often used to clean residue off a surface or to thin other products. It is a flammable substance.

2) Acid etching: A process of applying phosphoric or muriatic acid to a concrete floor which cleans and etches the surface.

3) Acid Stains: An advanced method of colorizing concrete that involves applying an acidic, water-based solution mixed with inorganic salts to the floor’s surface for 1-6 hours. The solution is then neutralized with ammonia and water and cleaned up with a wet/dry vacuum. The appearance is generally earth toned and may appear marbleized.

4) Adhesive Stencils: Stencils with adhesive backing that are often applied to concrete or another surface and then used to create a pattern or picture by using a stain, dye, gel, or other method to apply color.

5) Aggregate: A material that is added to wet concrete to improve it’s structural durability. Common aggregate materials include gravel, sand, rock, and stone.

6) Antiquing: A method of giving a surface an aged, slightly worn appearance.

7) Bond: The adhesion of one material to another.

8) Broadcast: Tossing a material into the air and letting it fall onto wet concrete to add color or texture.

9) Broom Finish: A non-slip texture applied to the surface of wet concrete by pushing a broom across.

10) Calcium Chloride Vapor-Emission Test: A test created by the ASTM which is used to measure the amount of moisture vapor a concrete slab emits over a period of generally 24 hours. This test uses un-hydrated calcium chloride and is available at most flooring retailers.

11) Chemical Staining: The most creative method of staining concrete, which involves applying a formula that reacts with lime contained in the cement. It can be difficult to apply, but when done correctly can create rich colors, patterns, and textures that can mimic natural stones such as granite and marble.

12) Colored Concrete: Concrete that has been colored either by mixing in a coloring product during manufacturing or by applying a coloring product to the surface during or after installation.

13) Concrete Stamping: The act of imprinting patterns into wet concrete to mimic stone, tile, wood planks, and so on.

14) Control / Contraction Joint: A groove cut in a slab of concrete which helps to control cracking.

15) Crack: A split or separation in the surface of a floor. Often must extend to a specific depth to be considered a crack.

16) Cure: When properties of an adhesive or cement are changed by a chemical reaction which allows it to reach its maximum strength. This is generally done by condensation, heat, or another catalyst.

17) Curing Compound: A substance that is put on the surface of wet concrete, forming a layer, and preventing evaporation of water.

18) Decorative Aggregate: Various colored stones or other materials laid in the surface of wet concrete as a decorative layer.

19) Decorative Concrete: Concrete that has color, texture, or decorative aggregate to enhance its appearance.

20) Degreaser: A solution applied to a flooring surface which removes contaminates such as grease and oil.

21) Delamination: A term that refers to failure in the adhesive of laminate flooring, causing separation in the layers.

22) Diamond Grinding: A process of grinding cement or stone to a polished finish using a floor polisher with diamond embedded abrasives.

23) Dyes: Water or solvent based solutions used to apply a variety of different colors to a flooring surface.

24) Efflorescence: Salt deposits that form on the surface of concrete when sodium calcium hydroxide mixes with carbon dioxide.

25) Engraving: The act of cutting patterns or designs into concrete or other hard flooring surfaces, often to create the appearance of grout lines.

26) Etching Gel: A gel that is applied to a concrete surface which gently etches the surface. It is often used with stencils or painted on with a brush.

27) Exposed Aggregate: Colored rocks or other aggregate exposed on the surface of concrete, generally by using abrasive materials or a pressure washer to remove the surface mortar. It is also seen on the surface of natural stone flooring.

28) Fields: Large areas of flooring that may be inside a band or border.

29) Finish Coat: A coat applied to the top of a flooring surface which provides protection for the flooring beneath.

30) Grinding: A method of preparing a surface by using abrasive materials to grind away imperfections.

31) Grout: A creamy mixture of mortar, cement or other cementious material and water used to fill joints and grout lines. It often has sand, gravel or other similar material added and is available in a variety of colors.

32) Hard-Troweled Finish: A flat, smooth, concrete surface finish that is made by using a steel bladed trowel.

33) Hydration: A chemical reaction where the compounds in cement bond with water molecules, causing the cementious materials to harden.

34) Integral Color: Color that is mixed into a product while it is being manufactured.

35) Integrally Colored Concrete: Color that is mixed into concrete before it is laid, producing uniform tinting.

36) Joint: A groove often found in concrete that is used to control cracking or allow expansion of the concrete.

37) Joint Filler: A filler used in joints that is compressed when the floor expands or contracts.

38) Marbleize: The process of giving a surface the appearance of marble by layering finishes.

39) Masking: The act of covering areas of a flooring surface with tape or a stencil and then applying a decorative treatment on uncovered areas.

40) Mil: A measurement often used to describe the thickness of a coat that is equal to 1/1,000 of an inch.

41) Mix Design: A recipe that determines the thickness, drying time, appearance, or other concrete variable. Can include water, aggregate, cement, or other admixture.

42) Moisture Vapor Transmission: The migration of moisture, often between the subfloor and flooring.

43) Mottling Effect: An appearance of lines that look like veins or of lighter or darker areas of color on a concrete floor.

44) Neutralize: The process of using water and ammonia or sodium carbonate to wash concrete and return it to a pH of 6.0 – 9.0 after acid etching.

45) Onyx Marble: A type of marble that is usually translucent and has a layered effect. It is composed of lime carbonate.

46) Overlay: A product built into the top layer of flooring which gives it protection and durability. It can be many different materials such as paper, plastic, film, metal foil, and so on.

47) Painting Concrete: The act of painting a layer of color on a hard concrete surface, often done to cover a repair.

48) Penetrating Sealer: A sealing product that penetrates the flooring surface, which helps protect it from water and contaminates.

49) Pigment: Very small solid particles of color used in products such as paint or enamel.

50) Polymer Stain: An acrylic-urethane based polymer solution that is used to finish flooring, available in a wide array of colors.

51) Polyurethane: Several units of urethane chemically joined together and able to solidify.

52) Pump-up Sprayer: A tool which uses a pump that builds pressure to expel a sealer or other product.

53) Sandblast Stenciling: A design technique wherein a stencil is applied over concrete or another surface, then sandblasted to create texture in exposed areas.

54) Sandblasting: Propelling sand at a high speed onto a surface to clean or roughen it.

55) Sawcutting: The act of sawing joints or scoring concrete using a concrete saw.

56) Sealer: A coat that is applied to the surface of a floor before applying additional coats of finish, which prevents them from being absorbed into the flooring itself.

57) Self-Leveling Overlay: An overlay which levels naturally by gravity rather than by using a trowel or other spreading tool.

58) Shot Blasting: A method used to clean or even out concrete surfaces, which involves shooting round iron at high speeds onto the surface.

59) Solvent: A substance that other substances are dissolved in.

60) Stained Concrete: Concrete that has been stained. Different areas can be separated by sawcutting grooves and then colored different colors.

61) Stamped Concrete: Concrete that is given a pattern of brick, cobblestone, tile, wood, or another surface by using a stamp.

62) Stenciled Concrete: A design technique where a stencil is applied over concrete, which may contain a pattern that is imprinted into the cement or may leave an exposed area that is then colored or etched.

63) Substrate: The surface that the flooring is installed on, generally the subfloor.

64) Surface Preparation: The act of preparing a subfloor by cleaning, drying, and texturizing it for proper adhesion before applying a coating material.

65) Tacky: A term used to describe a surface that is not yet able to be touched without leaving a residue on your fingers or an imprint in the surface.

66) Technical Data Sheet: A sheet that lists any safety precautions, recommendations, instructions, or other data about a product that you should know.

67) Tint: A shade of color that is produced by adding a color to white paint or enamel.

68) Translucent: A term used to describe a substance that allows light to pass through but is not completely see-through.

69) White Cement: A type of white Portland cement that is low in iron and is often used with integral pastels or other bright colors.

70) Xylene: A type of solvent used in solvent based sealers.

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