Laminate Flooring Vocabulary


Laminate Flooring Vocabulary

For definitions of terms not listed here, please visit these sections: Laminate Construction, Before Buying Laminate, Laminate Choices, and Before Your Laminate Arrives.


The adaptation of the laminate flooring to its installation environment.


In laminate flooring, the bottom layer, which is also known as the backing, is a melamine plastic layer that lends dimensional stability to the planks or tiles and also helps guard the flooring against moisture from the sub-floor.

Decorative Layer

The laminate flooring decorative layer that leaves a hardwood like appearance

The laminate flooring decorative layer with a hardwood-like appearance

In laminate flooring, a decorative layer or print film is adhered to on top of the core board, giving the floor its hardwood or tile look. This decorative layer is typically a printed high-resolution photo-reproduction of natural stone, wood grain, or ceramic tile patterns.

End Molding/Carpet Reducer

Used as a transition from laminate floors to various flooring surfaces when the reducer does not allow enough height, such as on high-pile carpet or thick ceramic tile.

Floating Floor System

Laminate floors are installed using a “floating floor system” in which a padded underlayment sits sandwiched between the subfloor and the laminate planks or tiles. The planks or tiles sit directly on the underlayment and are not attached to the subfloor on the bottom but rather are anchored on the edges.

Glued Laminate Flooring

These are the original laminate floorings that do need a special formulated glue to be applied to the tongue and grooved areas for each plank. Once the glue is dried, the planks are practically impossible to pull apart. These floors are offered in both planks and tiles.

Locking Laminate Flooring

A no-mess installation technique where the planks or tiles simply interlock together.

Laminate Flooring

It is a manufactured product that simulates the look of ceramic tile, hardwood, natural stone, and many other types of flooring.

Melamine Resin

Used to help improve the durability and moisture resistance of the core board of laminate flooring.


Trim pieces that cover the space that is allowed for the floor to expand and move naturally on top of the subfloor. They also aid with the transition to an adjacent floor. Moldings for laminate floorings are slightly larger than their wood or ceramic tile counterparts.

Overlapping Stair Nosing

Similar to a flush stair nosing only that the nosing overlaps the exposed edge of your floor. The overlapping stair nosing is protected to the subfloor and not to the laminate floor, so the floor is free to move


Seams that have raised where the laminate planks or tiles join.


A laminate flooring panel that is typically 5 or 6 times longer than wide.

Pre-Glued Laminate Flooring

A no-mess technique of installation because the glue is already applied to the tongue and grooves. A thin, plastic underlayment is required to seal out moisture and prevent the glue from sticking to the substrate.

Quarter Round Trim

Installed wherever the laminate floor meets the wall or baseboard.

Reducer Strip

The transitional piece installers used to connect the laminate with another type of flooring covering such as thin ceramic tile, vinyl, or low-pile carpeting.


The imprinting of the photography if real natural wood onto laminate screen

The imprinting of the photography of real natural wood onto laminate screen

The quality of the laminate partially depends on the photography and the number of photographs per style, which is known as “screens.” The more screens a product has, the more variations it offers, and the more “authentic” the laminate looks.


The junction where the panels connect together.

Square Nosing / Universal Edge

Used where the laminate floor butts up to carpeting, or various vertical surfaces where the edge will be exposed, such as along a fireplace.

Step Down Stair Nose

A coordinating molding piece providing the appropriate transition for all the steps in a home.


A laminate panel in a geometric shape – square.


Commonly used in doorways to join two laminate floorings in adjoining rooms. It’s also recommended when making transitions from a laminate floor to another floor that is approximately at the same height.


A material used between the laminate flooring and the subfloor, acting as a sound and moisture barrier and also allows the floor to expand and contract with changes temperature.

Wear Layer

The durable, top layer of laminate flooring. It provides protection and stain resistance. Many wear layers also contain aluminum oxide, as well as melamine resin, and that creates exceptional durability.

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