Flooring Glossary

Abrasion Resistance

The ability of a coating to resist being worn away when rubbed, scraped or eroded. The method of rating this phenomena is customarily done by a Taber Abrasor using a CS-17or CS-10 wheel. Softer and less abrasive coatings are tested using a CS-10 wheel while more abrasive resistant coatings are tested using a CS-17 abrading wheel. The results are furnished in grams or milligrams lost or worn away. The amount of revolutions as well as the weight used in the determination must be considered in any comparison tests. Simply expressed, a specimen placed on a turntable rotates under a set of weighted abrading wheels that produce abrasion through side slip.


The ability of a coating to adhere to the substrate on which it has been applied. This is usually measured as the amount of force required to remove the coating from the substrate. We typically use an elcometer for this testing.


A variable speed, single or multiple rotating head walk behind or ride on machine that spins an abrasive pad, with or without bonded abrasives, at 1200 rpm or higher.*


The act of using a high speed burnisher affixed with an abrasive pad to further enhance the microscopic abrasion of the concrete surface to increase the finished gloss. *

Chemical Resistance

The characteristic of a coating that measures its ability withstand attack from specified chemicals. This testing can be conducted in several methods. We generally employ spot testing which requires a small amount of the chemical reagent to be placed on the surface of the product and subsequently covered with a watch glass to retard evaporation of the chemicals. Our chemical resistance chart is based normal ambient temperature conditions. Discolorations are not considered physical failures but are related to long term esthetic appeal. When more than one chemical is involved in any evaluation, testing should be performed to evaluate the effects that the blend of chemicals will produce. When in doubt about the chemicals at the job sight, it is always the safe bet to place a sample of the material in the location of the chemical source to determine the suitability of the product selected.

Compressive Strength

The compressive strength is the stress at the point on a stress strain diagram at which an increase in strain occurs without an increase in stress. The testing involves a pre cast sample of pre-determined dimensions placed between two hardened surfaces followed by compression and subsequent monitoring of the load applied. A suitable compressometer is used to determine the distance between the two hardened surfaces as they relate to the load applied. Compressive strength can be derived from yield point or as a maximum value.

Cure Schedule

The cure schedule is a list of time periods at specified conditions to which a reacting mixture or coating attains a specified property level. The stated conditions may be temperature or humidity as well as information with regards to volume. The most notable stages of cure are TACK FREE (freedom from tack after a suitable drying time), RECOAT (the period of time when sufficient time has passed to allow the coating to cure to a stage where a subsequent coat can be applied), LIGHT TRAFFIC ( the stage of cure when the coating can withstand light non-abusive traffic without affecting the appearance or durability) and FULL CURE (the time that is required for the material or coating to thoroughly reach a state where the full capabilities of the product are reached with regard to physical properties.

Diamond Tooling

Abrasive tools that contain industrial grade diamonds within a bonded matrix (such as metallic, resinous, ceramic, etc.) that are attached to rotating heads to refine the concrete substrate.*

Film Application Thickness - (1" = 1000 mils)

The thickness that a coating (when wet) is applied to a substrate.

Thickness in Mils Sq. Feet per Gallon
2 802
2.5 641.6
3 534.7
3.5 458.3
4 401.4
4.5 356.4
5 320.8
6 267.3
8 200.5
10 160.4
12 133.7
14 114.6
16 100.2

Finish Characteristics

Refers to the texture, color, smoothness, gloss or other attributes affecting appearance. More typically this section will supply information concerning gloss. Gloss is a subjective term used to describe the relative amount and nature of mirror like reflection. Gloss can range from flat (matte) which is less than 15 on a 85 degree meter, to eggshell which is usually classified as 20-35 on a 60 degree meter, through semi-gloss which is generally classified as 35 to 70 on a 60 degree meter, to full gloss (almost mirror like) usually above 70 on a 60 degree meter.

Finished Gloss

Processing a concrete floor surface to achieve a specified level of finished gloss prior to application of any protective treatment; Flat [ground], satin [honed], semi polished, and highly polished are measured in reflective clarity (DOI), and reflective sheen (specular gloss). Finished Gloss is classified as levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 with varying degrees of reflective clarity, and sheen. (See Finished Gloss Chart)*

Finished Gloss Chart

Level Name Reflective Clarity Reflective Sheen Suggested Grit Range Suggested Minimum Number of Abrasive Passes
1 Flat
Flat appearance with no to very slight diffused reflection 10


None to very low 15


Below 100 4
2 Satin
Matte appearance with or without slight diffused reflection Low to medium 100 to 400 5
3 Semi-Polished Objects being reflected are not quite sharp and crisp but can be easily identified Medium to high 800 and higher 6
4 Highly Polished objects being reflected are sharp and crisp as would be seen in a mirror-like reflection High to highest 7

Gloss Measurement

A determination of specular gloss that incorporates distinction of image, haze and Rspec.*


The ability of a coating, after cure, to be able to conform to movement or deformation of the substrate without the coating cracking or flaking. Typically, this performance is measured from a mandrel bend with a specified diameter. The smaller the diameter a coating can pass, the more flexible the coating.

Flexural Strength

The modulus of rupture, flexural strength is equal to the maximum stress in the outer edges or fibers at the moment of breakage. A pre-conditioned sample of the desired dimensions is placed across a support span and a loading nose exerts a downward force at a constant rate of speed while monitoring load deflection values by either a gauge under the specimen in contact with it at the center of the support span or by measurement of the loading nose relative to the loading supports.


A thin mortar used for filling spaces; also: any of various other materials (as a mixture of cement and water or chemicals that solidify) used for a similar purpose.*


The act of using a grout that is forced into the pore structure of the concrete substrate to fill surface imperfections.*


The ability of a coating film, with no relationship to the substrate, to resist cutting, indentation or penetration by a hard object. The shape of the indentor and the force applied to the coating surface influence the results obtained. Therefore, there is no simple relationship between the results obtained with one durometer and the results obtained with either another type of durometer or another instrument for measuring hardness. This test method is an empirical test intended primarily for control purposes. The type A durometer is used for measuring softer materials such as CM829 while the type D durometer is used to measure harder surfaces such as CM321. The actual test uses an indentor formed from a hardened steel rod with a diameter between 1.15mm and 1.4mm that has a specified curvature radius and angle.

Heat Deflection Temperature

The temperature at which deformation occurs when the specimen is subjected to pre-determined testing conditions. A pre-conditioned specimen is placed across metal supports and a load is placed vertically against the supports while at every 5 minute interval, the temperature shall rise ten degrees (+/- one degree). Record the stress at 0.25 millimeters.

Impact resistance

The ability of a coating to withstand a sudden blow in conjunction with resisting deformation from the impact. Many types of impact testers are commercially used in the market place today. All serve the same function in representing a force applied to the coating to determine if cracking, deformation, delamination or other surface defects occur during specified impact conditions. Impacts are done both directly to the coating and to the reverse side of a coated substrate, such as a metal plate, to determine performance characteristics.

Joint Filler

Compressible material used to fill a joint to prevent the infiltration of debris and provide support for sealants applied to the exposed surface.*

Liquid Densifier

An Aqueous solution of SiO2 dissolved in the respective Hydroxide (see below) that penetrates into the concrete surface and reacts with the Calcium Hydroxide to provide a permanent chemical reaction that hardens and densifies the wear surface of the cementitious portion of the concrete. *

  • Sodium Silicate
  • Potassium Silicate
  • Lithium Silicate
  • Alkalis solution of Colloidal Silicates or Silica

All the above is the same chemistry varying only by the alkali used for solubility of the SiO2. NOTE:

The following products do not harden or densify concrete

  1. Siliconate is a synonym for Sodium Silicate that is a solid without any water and therefore non-reactive in the reactions described above.
  2. Colloidal Silica SiO2 that is suspended only in H2O is non-reactive as a densifier.
  3. Siliconates are sometimes a truncated descriptions for a Alkyl (organic) Alkali Metal Silicate which are water repellents and react in the acid form of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and H2O (Carbonic Acid). These might be used as an additive in Silicate Solutions for early water repelling of the densifiers

Mix Ratio

The ratio that any multiple component product must be combined in order to achieve maximum performance and complete chemical crosslinking. This mix ratio can be expressed by volume, such as one gallon part A mixed with one gallon part B, or expressed as a weight ratio.

Packaging Information

This information is provided to familiarize the customer with the standard packaging kits available as well as information concerning weights when appropriate.

Polished Concrete

The act of changing a concrete floor surface, with or without aggregate exposure, to achieve a specified level of gloss using one of the listed classifications; Bonded Abrasive Polished Concrete, Burnished Polished Concrete, or Hybrid Polished Concrete.*

Polishing Process

The steps required by a polishing technician to transform the concrete substrate into a specified finished gloss. These steps may include a sequence of grits of bonded abrasives spanning the grinding, honing and polishing stages (i.e. 70 grit metal bond, 120 grit metal bond, 50 grit hybrid bond, 100 grit hybrid bond, 200 grit resin bond, 400 grit resin bond, 800 grit resin bond, 1500 grit resin bond, 3000 grit resin bond).*

Pot Life

The length of time that a coating material is useful and suitable for use after the package is opened or after the catalyst (hardener) or other ingredients are added. This time, in many cases, is dependent on the total mass of the material (most two component products are exothermic) and the temperature of the material during application. More specifically, the larger the volume of material in one container or the higher the working temperature, the shorter the pot life.

Repair Material

A product that is designed to repair cracks and surface imperfections. The specified material must have sufficient bonding capabilities to adhere after the polishing to the concrete surface and provide abrasion resistance equal to or greater than the surrounding concrete substrate.*

Self Life

The period of time in which a material may normally be stored and still be in usable condition with minimal property changes occurring.

Solids by Volume

The non-volatile portion in a coating composition (by volume) which, after drying, is left behind and constitutes the dry film. This is calculated by combining the non-volatile components of the formulation (by volume) and dividing by the total volume of the coating. Solids by volume are expressed as a percent.

Solids by Weight

The non-volatile portion in a coating composition (by weight) which after drying is left behind and constitutes the dry film. This is calculated by combining the non-volatile components of the formulation (by weight) and dividing by the total weight of the coating. Solids by weight are expressed as a percent.

Stain Resistant

As defined in ASTM D 1308 - Standard Test Method for Effect of Household Chemicals on Clear and Pigmented Organic Finishes. *

Tensile Strength

The strength shown by a specimen subject to tension or the maximum tensile stress expressed in units of force per cross sectional area. More plainly stated, it is the ability of a material to resist deformation by the application of a force or load. A dog bone shaped specimen is placed in grips on each lengthwise edge and stretched at a constant rate of speed. The maximum stress occurs at the yield point and is a function of the stress strain curve at which an increase in strain occurs without an increase in stress.

Ultimate Elongation

The increase in a pre-cast samples' length when the material is exposed to tension. The elongation is usually expressed as a percentage of the original length. The pre-shaped specimen is mounted between two holding supports and stretched at a uniform rate of speed. The starting gage length divided by the expanded gauge length times one hundred is the percent of elongation.

Volatile Organic Content (VOC)

The easily evaporated organic components (any chemical compound containing carbon) of any coating composition in contrast to the non-volatile components.


Behavior of a paint film or other material when exposed to natural weather is characterized by changes in color, texture, strength, or other similar properties. The test can either be run using an accelerated weathering cabinet or by exposing coated panels at a 45 degree angle to the south from the northern hemisphere.

*Works Cited

Concrete Polishing Association of America. (n.d.). http://www.concretepolishingassociation.com. Retrieved March 1, 2016, from Concrete Polishing Association: http://concretepolishingassociation.com/glossary.php