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Glossary

 

A

 
Abraded Yarns-Continuous filament yarns in which filaments have been cut or abraded at intervals and given additional twist to produce a certain degree of hairiness, so as to stimulate the character of yarns spun from staple. Abraded yarns are usually plied or twisted with other yarns before using.

Absorption-The property of a fiber, yarn or fabric which enables it to attract and hold gasses or liquids within its pores.

Axminster-A traditional method of manufacturing cut pile carpet. The yarn and backing are woven at the same time to produce highly patterned designs of many colors.
 

B

 
Backing-Backing is the bottom-most layer of a floor. When used with vinyl flooring, it can be made of felt or fiberglass. Carpet backing refers to the underside of carpet. It helps to extend the life of carpet.

Back Layer-The back layer is the bottom layer or base of laminate flooring. It is typically made of a sturdy and moisture-resistant material, such as melamine.

Berber-Berber carpet is named for a type of woolen, textured carpet made by Berber tribes in Morocco and other parts of North Africa. The yarns on Berber carpet are in loops that connect directly to the backing. Berber carpet is known for being able to withstand a lot of foot traffic and for being easy to clean.

Binding Yarn-Synthetic or natural yarn running lengthwise of the woven fabric, used to "bind" the pile tufts firmly; often called crimp warp or binder warp.

Blend-A carpet containing a mixture of two or more fibers.

Boucle
-A heavily textured loop pile.

Broadloom/Wall-to-wall-Carpet manufactured in at least 12-foot widths.

Brocade-A carpet or rug in which a raised pattern or engraved effect is formed using heavy twisted yarns tufts on a ground of straight fibers.

Burling-An inspection process following carpet construction to correct loose tufts, etc.; also the process of replacing missing tufts with handheld tools.
 

C

 
Carpet Pile-Carpet pile refers to the fibers on the top layer of carpet. Pile can be low, medium or high. A low-pile carpet has fibers that are less than 1/4-inch high. Berber carpet is an example of a low-pile carpet. Medium-pile carpet has fibers that range in height from 1/4 to 1/2-inch. High-pile carpet has fibers that are more than 1/2-inch high. Usually, high-pile carpets feel very soft but can also be more difficult to clean than medium- or low-pile carpets.

Ceramic
-Ceramic is a type of clay that is often used to make tile floors. The clay is fired at temperatures usually under 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, making it relatively moisture- and heat-resistant. Ceramic tile is often glazed to improve its moisture-resistance and for aesthetic reasons.

Cork-Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is occasionally used on its own as a type of flooring or can be used as an underlayer for hardwood floors. It is also used as a backing for vinyl flooring and is softer than other vinyl flooring backing options.

Cut Pile-Cut pile carpet features fibers that are cut, rather than looped. Cut pile carpet types include plush and shag. They usually feel much softer than loop pile carpets such as Berber.

Carpet-Designation for a soft floor covering fabric. The word carpet has been used interchangeably to describe a wall-to-wall installed product or a rug, which is not fastened to the floor. Today, however, it is most often used to describe installed broadloom.

Chenille-A soft, silk cotton or worsted yarn fabric with a thick pile.

Cockling-A curliness or crimpiness appearing in the cut face pile as a result of yarn or machine condition. Depending on the style, may be an intentional effect.

Count-A heavily textured loop pile.

Cut Pile-Carpet in which the tops of loops are cut to a uniform length.
 

D

 
Decorative Layer-The decorative layer is the layer of laminate flooring that gives the flooring its appearance. The decorative layer can feature a photo image that imitates the look of wood grain or the swirl and textures of marble or ceramic.

Density-Density refers to how close together the fibers of the carpet are. Density is calculated by multiplying the weight of the pile by 36, then dividing that by the height of the pile. The higher the number, the denser the carpet. Higher density means a carpet will be better able to withstand a lot of foot traffic and wear-and-tear.

Dead Yarn-The pile yarn in a Wilton carpet that remains hidden in the backing structure when not forming a pile tuft.

Denier-Unit of weight for the size of a single filament. The higher the denier, the heavier the yarn.

Dirty Back-Excess face yarn showing on the back of carpet. The usual causes are poor timing, insufficient tension on the face yarn, excessively bulky face yarns, or insufficient stuffers.

Drop Match-When the design in a carpet is dropped in the next combining width of carpet to maintain the pattern.
 

E

 
Engineered Hardwood-Is a type of wood flooring made from multiple layers of wood that are pressed together. It is sometimes referred to as cross-ply or multi-ply construction. Compared to solid wood, engineered hardwood has a lower cost and tends to be better able to resist moisture damage.

Expansion Space-Expansion space refers to gaps left when wood or laminate flooring is installed. The space allows the flooring to expand as a result of exposure to humidity without pushing the floorboards out of position.

Embossed-In carpet, the type of pattern formed when heavy twisted tufts are used in a ground of straight yarns to create an engraved appearance. Both the straight and twisted yarns are often the same color.
 

F

 
Felt-Felt is a type of material often used as a backing for vinyl floors. It is installed using a permanent adhesive.

Fiberboard Core-Fiberboard core is the middle layer of laminate flooring. It is made from softwood fibers and is designed to provide stability and impact-resistance to the flooring.

Fiberglass-Fiberglass is a type of material used as vinyl floor backing. It is a loose-lay backing and is often installed with non-permanent adhesives.

Finish-The finish is the coating on the top of a hardwood, laminate, tile or vinyl floor. It is designed to protect the surface of the floor from scuffs and wear. It also provides a decorative touch.

Floating-A floating floor has boards or planks attached together but is not secured to the underlayment or subfloor beneath. It is often quicker and easier to install a floating floor than one that is attached.

Frieze-Is a cut pile type of carpet with a lot of texture. The high-pile fibers of the carpet are twisted multiple times to give it its distinct look and to help it withstand high traffic.

Finishing-A final process through which fabrics are put, such as shearing, steaming, application of secondary back or cushion, application of soil retardant, anti-static material, stain-resistance, etc.

Full Roll/ Shipping Roll-A length of carpet; roll goods usually approximately 100 feet long. Shipping roll standards vary and may be as short as 30 feet, depending upon carpet thickness and manufacturers.
 

G

 
Grain-Grain refers to the visible, vertical patterns on a piece of wood.

Grout-Grout is a mortar or paste that holds tiles in place. It is often made of cement, epoxy or urethane.

Gauge/Pitch-The number of ends of surface yarn counting across the width of carpet. In woven carpet, pitch is the number of ends of yarn in 27quote width, e.g. 216 divided by 28 = 8 end per inch. To convert gauge to pitch, multiply ends per inch by 27 e.g. 1/10 gauge is equivalent to 270 pitch, or 10 ends per inch x 27.

Greige Goods-Pronounced "gray goods." Undyed carpet or other textile materials.

Ground Color-The background color against which the top colors create the pattern or figure in the design.
 

H

 
Hardwood-Hardwood is a type of flooring made from the wood of deciduous trees that have broad leaves. Species of hardwood include cherry, maple, oak and poplar.

Hand-The tactile aesthetic qualities of carpet and textiles. Factors determining how carpet feels to the hand include pile weight, stiffness, lubricants, fiber type and denier, density, backing and latex.

Heather-A multicolor effect provided by blending fibers of different colors prior to spinning carpet yarn.
 

I

 
Impact Resistance-Refers to how well a type of material can withstand the force of items being dropped on it. A floor with a high impact resistance will continue to look good even if things are regularly dropped on it or dragged across it.
 

J

 
Jacquard-An apparatus for a carpet-weaving loom that produces patterns form colored yarns.

Jaspe-Irregular stripes of two or more hues, shades or values of the same color used to produce a particular effect on the pile yarn of plain or evenly designed fabrics. Various jaspe effects can be produced by varying the twist of the yarn.

Jute-Derived from a fibrous plant. It is shredded and spun into yarn. Used as the backing for woven carpets, or woven into a backing fabric for tufted carpets.
 

L

 
Lacquer-Lacquer describes a type of finish used on hardwood flooring. Usually, lacquered wood has a very shiny finish.

Laminate-Laminate flooring is often designed to imitate the look of wood or tile flooring but is made from synthetic materials. It is available in a wide range of colors, styles and thicknesses.

Linoleum-Linoleum, also called “lino” is a type of flooring made of linseed oil, ground-up wood and stone. Lino is made from 100% natural components and is fully recyclable. Because of its appearance, it is sometimes confused with vinyl flooring.

Loop Pile-Loop pile carpet has fibers that are not cut but are instead shaped into loops and attached to the backing. Berber is a popular style of loop pile carpet.

Level Loop-Carpet construction with face yarns tufted or woven into loops of same pile height.

Loop Pile-Carpet style having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops. May be woven or tufted. Also called "round wire" in woven carpet terminology.

Luster-Brightness or sheen of fibers, yarns, carpet or fabrics.
 

M

 
Marble-Marble is a type of stone sometimes used as a material for flooring. Marble has a distinct appearance and usually features swirls or veins of color. It does tend to be more high-maintenance and more expensive than other flooring options. Imitation marble is available for people looking for the look and elegance of the stone without the cost and upkeep requirements.

Melamine-Melamine is a type of resin often used in laminate flooring. It can form part of the back layer, where it provides support and reinforcement. It is also often used as part of the wear layer, providing a tough and durable finish to the floor.

Matting/Pile Crush-Severe pile crush combined with entanglement of fibers and tufts.

Moresque-Single strands of different colors of yarn twisted, or plied, together to form one multi-colored yarn. Moresque yarns thus have a "barber pole" appearance.

Multi-Level Loop Pile-Carpets with loops of yarn at different heights creating a sculptured effect.
 

N

 
Nap-Carpet or rug pile surface.
 

O

 
Overlap Reducer-Sometimes simply called a reducer, an overlap reducer is meant to provide a transition between different types of flooring, often between flooring of different heights.

Overlap Stair Nose-An overlap stair nose is a piece of molding fitted onto the edge of the top stair. It is meant to help transition from the material used on the stairs to the material used on the floor.
 

P

 
Parquet-Parquet is a type of hardwood floor made of small pieces of wood that are arranged into patterns. It was very popular in the U.S. in the 1960s and has since enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Porcelain-Like ceramic, porcelain is made from clay and is often used to create a tile floor. It is harder than ceramic and has better moisture resistance, but is also more brittle and fragile. The material is stain-resistance and very easy to keep clean. It can be slippery, especially if it gets wet.

Pile-The upright ends of yarn, whether cut or looped, that form the wearing surface of carpets or rugs.

Pile Density-Number of tufts both across (needles per inch or gauge for tufted carpet) and lengthwise (stitches per inch) of the carpet.

Pile Height-The height of pile measured from the surface of the back to the top of the pile, not including the thickness of the back.

Pile Reversal/ Pooling-An irreversible, localized change in the orientation of the pile of a carpet.

Pile Weight-The weight of pile yarn per square yard of carpet.

Pilling-A condition in certain fibers in which strands of the fiber separate and become knotted with other strands, causing a rough, spotty appearance. Pilled tufts should never be pulled from carpet, but may be cut off with sharp scissors at the pile surface.

Plied Yarns-Two or more strands, ends or plies either twisted or otherwise cohesively entwined, intermingled or entangled into a heavier yarn.

Plush-A cut pile carpet in which the tuft ends all blend together.

Point-One tuft of pile.

Printed Carpet-Carpet having colored patterns applied by methods analogous to those for printing flat textiles and paper.
 

R

 
Refinish-Refinish means to add a new coat of finish to the top of a hardwood floor. The goal of refinishing is to minimize the appearance of scratches, scuff marks and other signs of damage.

Remnant-A carpet remnant is often the end of a roll of carpet. Usually, remnants are too small to be used to cover an entire floor. You might buy a remnant to use as a throw rug or to carpet a portion of a room.

Repeat-The distance from a point in a pattern figure to the same point where it occurs again, measuring lengthwise of the fabric.

Resilience-The ability of a carpet fabric or padding to spring back to its original shape of thickness after being crushed or walked upon.

Riser-The upright part of a step between two stair treads.

Rows/Wires-Rows of tufts counting lengthwise in one inch of carpet. In axminster carpets, these are called rows; in wilton and velvet, wires.
 

S

 
Solid Wood-Solid wood is a type of hardwood flooring made from whole pieces of wood from a hardwood species, such as oak, cherry or maple. It is one of the most durable types of flooring, but also tends to be among the most expensive. Compared to engineered or multi-ply hardwood, solid wood tends to be more susceptible to moisture damage.

Subfloor-The subfloor is the structure that provides support to the top layer of flooring, such as hardwood or laminate. Often, a subfloor is laid over the joists and is made of plywood or cement. Older homes sometimes have subfloors made of pine planks.

Substrate-Substrate is a general term used to describe the materials that are beneath the top layer of flooring. It is sometimes used in place of subfloor or underlayment.

Saxony-A cut-pile carpet texture consisting of heat-set plied yarns in a relatively dense, erect configuration, with well defined individual tuft tips. Tip definition is more pronounced than in singles plush.

Sculptured-A multi-level texture pattern.

Self-tone-A pattern of two or more shades of the same color. When two shades are used in a pattern or design, it is called two-tone.

Selvage-The edge of a carpet so finished that it will not ravel or require binding or hemming.

Serging-A method of finishing edges of area rugs cut from roll goods by use of heavy, colored yarn sewn around the edges in a close, overcast stitch.

Shading-The apparent change of color in an area of a cut pile carpet caused by light reflecting on pile laying in different directions. It is not a manufacturing defect. Also called pile switch, pile reversal, and watermarking.

Shag-A deep-pile texture with long, cut surface yarns. Currently defined as having a pile height greater than 3/4" with density not exceeding 1800.

Shearing-The process in manufacture in which carpet is drawn under revolving cutting blades, in order to produce a smooth face on the fabric.

Shedding-The process of losing loose fiber from the pile yarn of a new carpet. It is not harmful to the carpet. Also called fluffing.

Splush-Semi-dense cut-pile carpet, about half-way in appearance between shag and plush, whose tufts lie less irregularly than shag, but not as regularly as plush.

Sprouting-Protrusion of individual tuft or yarn ends above pile surface. May be clipped with scissors.

Static-The build up of electric charge when a person walks over a carpet, which is subsequently discharged. It occurs on natural and synthetic fibers, and is dictated by humidity.

Step Return-A term for that part of a staircase tread that extends over the riser. Also known as a bullnose or extended nosing.

Stitch-The number of lengthwise yarn tufts in one inch of tufted carpet.

Stretch-A carpet installation term for the amount of elongation of carpet when it is stretched over cushion onto tackless strip. Generally 1 to 2 percent.

Stria/Striped-A striped effect obtained by loosely twisting two strands of one shade of yarn with one strand of a lighter or darker shade. The single yarn appears like irregular stripes.
 

T

 
Tile-Tile flooring consists of pieces of manufactured material, such as ceramic or porcelain. While ceramic and porcelain are among the two most commonly used types of tile, other options exist, such as marble, quartz and metal. Tile can often be treated to make it moisture, stain and slip-resistant.

Tongue-and-Groove-Tongue-and-groove refers to the way certain pieces of flooring fit together. Often, laminate boards or hardwood planks have one edge that protrudes. The other edge has an opening or groove cut into it to receive the protrusion or tongue from another piece. Tongue-and-groove allows the pieces of a floor to be joined together while allowing for flexibility and movement.

Tensile Strength-Breaking strain of yarns or fabrics. High tensile strength means strong yarns or fabrics.

Tip Shearing-A textured loop pattern produced by shearing the tips of some of the loops in a multi-height loop pile.

Tone-on-tone-A carpet pattern made by using two or more shades of the same hue.

Top colors-Colors of the yarn used to form the design, as distinguished from ground color.

Tufted Carpet-Hundreds of needles thread the yarn through a lightweight backing, forming loops or tufts of the required length. An adhesive coating is then applied to the reverse side, anchoring tufts in position and a second backing is applied for extra strength.
 

U

 
Underlayment-Underlayment is often a thin layer between the flooring and subflooring. It is meant to add cushioning and to minimize sound transfer.
 

V

 
Veneer-A veneer is a very thin material applied on top of another material. A veneer of an expensive wood might be applied on top of a less-expensive wood to make a floor more cost-effective, without sacrificing looks or quality.

Velvet Weave/Velvet Finish-A simple loom first used to produce carpet with a single-level plush or velvet texture. May be used for cut or looped pile, or modified for other texture variations.

Vinyl-Vinyl is a type of flooring made up of synthetic materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Often, it consists of multiple layers, which helps to make it more resilient and better able to resist scratches, stains and other marks.

Vinyl Plank-Vinyl plank is a type of vinyl flooring that often imitates wood flooring. The vinyl is cut into planks, or long boards, that fit together.

Vinyl Sheet-Vinyl sheet is sold as large pieces that cover a wide area of floor all at once. Vinyl sheets can be solid colors, patterned or designed to imitate wood, stone or other types of flooring material.

Vinyl Tile-Vinyl tile is cut into tile shapes and is often designed to imitate the look of a tile floor, without the high price tag or more-involved maintenance.
 

W

 
Waterproof-A waterproof floor is one with very good moisture resistance. In some cases, flooring can be treated or sealed to make it waterproof.

Wear Layer-The wear layer is the top layer of a laminate floor. It is a clear finish designed to protect the floor from marks and stains. It can also make the floor waterproof and can the design on the decorative layer from fading.

Wall-to-wall/Broadloom-Carpet manufactured in at least 12-foot widths.

Warp-In woven carpet, yarns running lengthwise.

Weft-In woven carpet, yarns running crosswise between warp yarns.

Wilton-A woven carpet. Textures can be in a cut pile, loop pile and a combination of cut and loop pile. A carved appearance can also be achieved. Normally Wilton carpets come in one to three colors, but can include up to five colors.

Wires-Component of a carpet-weaving loom on which the pile tufts are formed. Round wires produce loop pile carpet, and flat wires with sharp blades produce cut pile (plush) textures.

Worsted-Smooth, firmly twisted yarn made from long strands of wool.

Woven Carpet-Carpet produced on a loom through a weaving process by which the lengthwise (warp) yarns and widthwise (weft or filling) yarns are interlaced to form the fabric.