Glossary of flooring terms

These are some of the words and phrases commonly used in the industrial flooring industry. If you come across other terminology not found in this glossary and need an explanation, please do not hesitate to contact us.



In an industrial environment electrostatic build-up can cause sparks strong enough to ignite vapours of flammable gas, cause dust explosions, or disrupt sensitive electronic equipment. In these cases, an anti-static grade of Resin flooring should be selected. And in the most severe cases, a floor covering that is fully conductive will be necessary.


Describes the process of sticking one material to another. Adhesion is affected by the condition of the surface, which should allow a certain amount of penetration. It should also be chemically clean and not too smooth, hard or nonporous and dust free.

Bonding agent

A substance that is applied to a prepared substrate to create a bond between it and a succeeding layer.


As a general rule, the smoother and less porous a floor surface, the easier it is to keep clean. However, whilst resin-based flooring can be formulated to produce smooth, non-porous surfaces with excellent slip resistance under dry conditions, the surface may have to be textured if it is to have adequate slip resistance under contaminated conditions.

Chemical resistance

High quality resin and ceramic tile flooring systems installed expertly are an excellent way to protect concrete substrates sensitive to attack from aggressive spillages. Whilst no floor finish is completely resistant to prolonged contact with high concentrations of all possible chemical types and combinations, Kemtile-installed floor systems are resistant to many of the chemicals and products found in normal industrial service situations.

Clean-in-Place (CIP)

A designated area used for the automated cleaning and sanitization of process equipment, such as tanks, pipelines, and other machinery, without disassembly.
Perhaps the most challenging room in any food and beverage facility when it comes to installing and maintaining a safe and hygienic floor.
The floor needs to be able to resist a variety of different chemicals, be abrasion and impact resistant, slip resistant, tolerant of thermal shock.

Crack Bridging

If the existing tiles are sound then we can overlay them with a fabric reinforced “crack bridging” system first and then over lay this with a new Stonhard floor. The “crack bridging” system stops any cracks caused by movement in the base layer for coming through to the new Stonhard floor finish. This system isn’t just confined to being used over ceramic tiles it can also be used to go over badly cracked but sound concrete. We even have the same material in a “strip” form so individual cracks can be treated and sealed prior to installation of the new Stonhard floor.

Curing conditions

Tile or resin flooring should be allowed to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These cure times are dependent on the installation conditions. Generally polyurethane floors can be trafficked the next day, epoxy systems take a little longer. Tiling systems need a week’s cure time before loading. With all the systems full chemical cure won’t be achieved until after five to seven days at 20°C. Some resin flooring products can cure very much faster to achieve full performance in a matter of hours. This makes them suitable for fast-track projects or applications at freezing temperatures, for example in cold stores.

Cure time

The time period that a tile or resin installation setting material must be undisturbed and allowed to set for it to reach full strength. The cure time varies and is dependent on the type of compounding used and the thickness and material of the product, for example.

Drainage channels

Drainage channels are normally incorporated into the concrete and new flooring system to carry liquids such as spillages and washing water to suitable drains. Suitable falls should be installed to ensure this is the case. Channel design detail can take a variety of forms and in new installations should be designed in conjunction with the specialist contractor taking into account the nature of the flooring product to be used and anticipated spillage and volumes.



The term used to describe a floor’s ability to withstand certain conditions – such as footfall, vehicle movement, moisture change, temperature changes and chemical resistance, for example. In very general terms, the quality of flooring and installation will dictate durability. We’re often call upon to put right poor quality, poorly laid systems installed by other companies. However, many operational factors will directly affect the performance and must be considered at the outset. These include type of traffic, wheel type and loading, the frequency and efficiency of cleaning, and impact. There is always a flooring solution to suit.

Epoxy adhesive and grout

This is a two-part adhesive or grout system that comprises an epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. This type of adhesive is formulated to have impervious qualities and to offer stain and chemical resistance.

Expansion joint

An expansion joint extends through tile, mortar, and reinforcing wire from the substrate. It’s normally used when laying larger tiled floors and walls and is sometime referred to as a movement joint.


A hygienic floor covering, particularly one with a coarse surface texture, will not easily drain water or liquid effluent unless sufficient falls are introduced. A minimum slope of 1 in 80 should be specified to produce a free draining floor but this may need to be increased. Those greater than 1 in 60 may, however, lead to problems of slumping. This is why it’s so important to work with an expert who can advise on the most suitable system.


Represents the quantity of water vapour in the air. Environmental humidity should be another key consideration when specifying a hygienic flooring system as it will impact on its performance.


Describes the degree of vitrification evidenced by relatively high-water absorption. The term typically signifies more than 10%, except for wall and floor tiles which are considered non-vitreous when water absorption exceeds 7%.


Sub-floor describes the original floor on which the hygienic flooring system is installed.


Screed is a thin top layer of material – usually sand and cement – that is poured in situ on top of the structural concrete or insulation. The flooring systems is then applied on top of it.


Substrate describes the underlying support for the hygienic flooring system that’s installed, for example, concrete.

Temperature resistance

It’s important that hygienic flooring systems offer resistance to the temperatures necessary in manufacturing. It is commonly believed that ceramic tiled floors offer greater heat resistance than resin but there are many polyurethane systems that can match. Advice is available on both coverings and sometimes a combination of the two provides the best solution.


A tile that is vitrified has a moisture of moisture absorption rate of less than 0.5%.