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Floor laying Jargon

Don't fall for technical talk, our Floor laying jargon buster will help you know what the common technical terms are when your floor laying man is waffling on.

Bitumen-epoxy Cushion floor Felt underlay
Granolithic Gripper rods Latex self levelling
Lino Over boarding Screed
Terrazzo Thermoplastic  

BITUMEN-EPOXY
A waterproofing, self-leveling floor screed, approximately 2-5mm thick, used as a damp resistant layer for old floors. This will require a latex screed before the finishing layer is applied.
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CUSHION FLOOR
A vinyl floor finish with integral foam.
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FELT UNDERLAY
Traditional Axminster and Wilton style carpets do not tend to have a bonded foam underlay and the traditional way to smooth out base floor irregularities was to use a felt. This has largely been superceded by rubber foam although felt often has better sound absorption qualities. Felt will need paper as a first layer. Under layers are important and will prevent some wearing.
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GRANOLITHIC
See screed. Generally a hard cement / sand layer but only measuring about 15-25mm. This is laid wetter than screed and with strength throughout instead of just on the surface so that it can be used as a wearing surface, particularly in garages.
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GRIPPER RODS
Plywood battens around 25mm wide with small nails protruding 'hedgehog style'. These are laid spike up around the perimeter of a room to grip the edge of a carpet.
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LATEX SELF LEVELLING
A mixture of fine aggregate and liquid rubber poured onto a floor to run and find its own level, thereby filling any small holes or slightly off-level areas. Around 6mm is the maximum workable depth.
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LINO
A traditional mixture of cork dust or wood dust, flax, chalk and linseed oil which is highly compressed between rollers onto a jute backing and used as flooring. Lino is produced near Dundee in Scotland.
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OVER BOARDING
Floorboards are unsuitable for sheet flooring materials, as the joints will show through. This is prevented by over boarding with plywood or with pre-soaked or oiled hardboard. Pre-soaking with water is important to prevent expansion 'bubbling up' the boarding.
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SCREED
A coarse, washed sand, sometimes granite based and referred to as 'grano', which is mixed with cement when slightly damp and spread over a floor to about 65mm then steel trowelled smooth. The screed may be laid over a concrete floor a day or so after setting and monolithically bonded to the concrete by pouring liquid cement (grout) over as glue.
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TERRAZZO
A mixture of white cement and marble chippings/powder, laid wet then ground smooth. This is often seen in shop doorways but can also be used for work surfaces and basins.
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THERMOPLASTIC
A finishing floor tile of hard vinyl plastic that, in the past, was mixed with asbestos fibre. For this reason, 20-year-old marbled plastic tiles should be treated as suspect.
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