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Flooring Guide > 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 the off-white, heathered look of cloaks used by the Berber tribes of North Africa. Berber carpets use flecked yarns most often in loop styles. The size of the loops varies from large nubby ones to smaller 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.
Brocade
A carpet or rug in which a raised pattern or engraved effect is formed using heavy twisted yarn tufts on a ground of straight fibers.
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 and a secondary fabric backing 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. Made in many shapes and sizes, it is glazed or unglazed. For floors, tiles are set in a cement or mortar type mixture.
Cork Flooring
One of the earliest of modern resilient floor coverings, the flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees, a replenishable material. Cork flooring is available in tiles and sheets. Varieties of natural unfinished cork, waxed cork, resin-reinforced waxed and vinyl impregnated cork come in many colors including natural shades.
Cut-and-Loop Carpet
A multi-level 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 of yarn.
Flat Weave
Flat Weave rugs and carpets are 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.
Glazed Tile
Clay shaped into tiles, fire-hardened, and then covered with a matte or glossy glaze to make the tiles more resistant to moisture.
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
Laminates have a dense fiberboard core with a paper pattern layer sealed both top and bottom under high pressure with a plastic-like substance. Sold as planks and panels in wood, stone, tile, and other looks.
Level Loop Carpet
A carpet style - woven or tufted - with a same-height loop surface.
Linoleum
One of the first resilient floors, it was introduced in the 1800s. Made of linseed oil, gums, cork, or wood dust and pigments. Often the term is used incorrectly to describe resilient floors made of vinyl.
Loop Carpet
Carpet style having a surface made up of uncut loops.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury vinyl tile is exceptionally enduring and is available in a limitless selection of artistic designs and designs inspired by nature, such as stone, marble and wood. The durable construction of luxury vinyl tile includes a protective wear layer which resists scuffs, tears, gouges, rips and scratches. Additionally, luxury vinyl tile is affordable, durable, resilient, resistant to water, and can be installed virtually anywhere in your home. Suitable for both residential and commercial applications.
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
Hand-woven 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.
Patterned or Printed Carpet
Carpet having patterns applied by methods similar to printing paper. These include flatbed screen printing, rotary screen printing, Stalwart printing and modern computer programmed jet printing.
Pile
The upright ends of yarn, whether cut or looped, that form the wearing surface of carpets or rugs. 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.
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 hand-woven from cotton scraps.
Random-sheared Carpet
Textured pattern created by shearing some of the top or higher loops and leaving others looped.
Remnant
A short piece of carpet from a roll of carpet that usually measures less than nine feet long.
Resilient Floor
Smooth surfaced flooring (tiles, strips, or sheet goods) manufactured by first combining a plastic material with filler and pigments, and then processing them into sheets of different thickness. 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 are made from synthetic rubber. It comes in ribbed, studded, or 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 formed from high and low pile areas, such as high-low loop or cut-and-loop.
Shag Carpet
A deep-pile texture with long-cut surface yarns. Shag carpet was popular in the 1970s, and a new type of contemporary shag in more up-to-date colors is gaining in popularity today.
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 sea grass.
Slate
A naturally laminated rock that is often used in regular and irregular shapes, and is embedded in cement or mortar to create a hard-surface, patterned 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-surfaced 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 inhibits specific stains from adhering to or dyeing (staining) carpet fibers.
Stretch
A carpet installation term for the give in carpet when it is pulled over the pad onto tackless strips.
Strip Flooring
Strip flooring is made of narrow (typically2 1/4. 3-inches wide) tongue-and-groove boards that are end-matched. Strip flooring wider than 2 1/4 inches is called plank flooring.
Tackless Installation
Where carpet is laid over pad and stretched to fit over tack 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, and 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 that 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, hickory, beech, and birch as well as beautiful exotic species. There is solid wood flooring and laminated flooring, which combines wood layered in different directions for strength and to inhibit shrinkage or expansion. Most wood flooring today is prefinished at the factory for 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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