Understanding Stone-Care Terminology

Abrasion -- Wearing away of a surface, coating or floor finish by friction and grit.
Acid -- A water soluble substance with pH less than 7 that reacts with and neutralizes an alkali.
Acid Cleaner -- A detergent solution containing one or more acids.
Acrylic -- A popular thermoplastic polymer used in floor finishes.
Acrylic Floor Finish -- A water-emulsion finish containing acrylic, that dries to a hard glossy finish.
Adhesion -- The ability of floor finish to bond or adhere to flooring, rather than peel, flake, or powder.
Alkali -- Any base, such as caustic soda, ammonia, etc. that neutralizes acid.
Alkaline Cleaner -- A detergent product make up of one or more alkalies and having a pH greater than 7. Floor strippers are usually highly alkaline.
All Purpose Cleaner -- A detergent solution for routine mopping and hard surface or general cleaning.
Ammonia -- An alkaline solution which enhances the cleaning power of degreasers, strippers, and cleaners. A common ingredient in floor finishes.
Application -- The act of applying; as in floor finish application.
Asphalt Tile -- Flooring consisting of a mixture of synthetic fibers, lime rock, mineral fillers, and coloring, with asphalt as a binder.
Autoscrubber -- Labor-saving, power driven floor cleaning machine that dispenses cleaning solution to floor, strips or scrubs it, and vacuums dirty solution into a recovery tank.
Binder -- That part of the composition of floor tile that holds or binds together the rest of the parts.
Biodegradable -- A product or organic substance readily decomposed by bacteria into harmless matter.
Bleeding -- The migration of colors from substrate through coating, often caused by overly strong stripping solutions.
Blooming -- A white mineral deposit--composed of soluble salt or magnesium chloride--sometimes found on the surface of new concrete or magnetite floors.
Buffability -- The degree of gloss in a floor finish resulting from burnishing or spray buffing.
Build-up -- Layers of floor finish usually found in low traffic areas, where there is not a normal wearing of the film. If not properly maintained a darkening of the finish may occur.
Burnish -- To buff a floor at very high speed (over 1000 RPM) to produce high gloss and a hard slip-resistant finish.
Burnisher -- A floor polishing machine using pads or brushes.
Caustic -- Extremely alkaline substance (caustic soda, sodium hydroxide), capable of neutralizing acids.
Caustic Cleaners -- Made up in whole or in part of caustic materials.
Ceramic Tile -- Fired clay tile with an impervious, glossy or satin surface.
Chemical Resistance -- The degree to which floor finish can resist penetration by cleaning solution and other chemical products.
Clarity -- Clearness.
Coating -- (See Finish.)
Compatible -- Able to exist or act together harmoniously. Compatible floor care products are used together with desirable results.
Concrete -- A mixture of cement, sand and crushed stone which when mixed with water and allowed to harden, forms a highly durable floor surface.
Concrete Seal -- A protective, penetrating seal that dries to form a transparent film and hardens the concrete surface.
Conductive Floors -- Special resilient tile--often used in computer room applications--designed to drain off or prevent static electricity.
Copolymer -- A polymer make up of one or more monomers.
Corrosion -- The process of being eaten away or dissolved by rust or chemical action. Coverage -- The number of square feet covered by a gallon of coating or sealer.
Curing -- A. The drying out of excess water in freshly laid concrete. B. The chemical process during which floor finish fully dries and bonds to flooring.
Damp Mopping -- The act of cleaning a floor using a moistened mop, water, and usually a pH-neutral cleaner. Degreaser -- A chemical that dissolves and removes grease and oils from hard surfaces.
Detergent -- A soap-like cleaner that dissolves dirt, lifts off oily contaminants, and aids in removing soils. Dilution -- A substance made less concentrated by mixing it with another substance, usually water. The dilution ratio is expressed as a number such as 1:4, referring to parts of chemical dissolved in parts of water.
Dirt Retention -- The degree to which floor finish will hold dirt or soil. Low dirt retention is preferable.
Discoloration -- Darkening or yellowing of finish.
Disinfectant -- Chemical product used to kill harmful bacteria and viruses (germs) on inanimate surfaces.
Double Bucket Procedure -- A mopping technique using two mop buckets--an applicator bucket for applying cleaning solution to the floor, and a rinse bucket for rinsing and wringing the mop before reinserting into the applicator bucket.
Dry Time -- The average time required for floor finish to dry.
Durability -- The wearing quality or longevity of floor finish.
Etching -- The use of acid or other potent chemicals to whiten and roughen stone and concrete surfaces in preparation for applying sealer of finish.
Fading -- Loss of color caused by sunlight, cleaning, or bleaching.
Film -- A thin layer or coating of floor finish.
Finish -- A protective, glossy floor coating applied over sealer or previous coatings.
Fish Eyes -- Circular blemishes in dry floor finish caused by trapped air bubbles or too heavy an application of finish.
Flash Point -- The lowest temperature at which vapors produces by a volatile substance ignite when exposed to flame.
Flexibility -- The ability of a floor finish to be pliable, resilient, or plastic in nature.
Floor Machine (burnisher) -- A power driven machine used to scrub and/or buff floors with pads or brushes.
Foam -- A mass of bubbles formed in liquids by agitation.
Freeze/Thaw -- A determination of the stability of a floor finish exposed to repeated cycles of freezing and thawing.
Germicidal Detergent -- A one-step detergent and germicide for cleaning and disinfecting.
Germicide -- Any agent which kills germs or microorganisms.
Gloss -- A floor's ability to reflect light and luster.
Gloss Meter -- A device used to measure gloss of a coating.
Grout -- Mortar material or other substance used between ceramic tiles.
Heeling -- Technique of applying pressure to one side of a floor machine to remove black heel marks and persistent soil.
High Speed Machine -- Buffing or burnishing machine with pad speed over 1000 RPM.
High Speed Floor Finish -- A finish designed for use with high speed floor machines.
Impact Resistance -- The degree to which a finish can withstand forceful blows.
James Machine -- An instrument for measuring the static coefficient of friction of a surface to determine its slip-resistance.
Leveling Agent -- A substance added to finish causing it to flow evenly when applied. Prevents ridging and "fish eyes" (see glossary).
Lifting -- (See Peeling).
Linoleum -- Flooring composed of a mixture of solidified linseed oil, gums, wood flour, ground cork, and pigments applied to a backing of felt, fabric or burlap.
Low Sudsing -- Cleans without forming a significant amount of foam.
Maintenance -- The care and upkeep of buildings.
Matrix -- An enveloping element within which something originates, takes form, or develops. Concrete is a matrix for marble in terrazzo flooring.
Mild Cleaner -- A cleaner which is mild or non-damaging.
MSDS -- Abbreviation for Material Safety Data Sheet required from manufacturers to inform end-users of product health hazards and precautionary measures.
Magnesite Floors -- Hard composition flooring with magnesium oxychloride as a binder. This binder is formed in laying the floor, when magnesium oxychloride is combined with a string solution of magnesium chloride. Fillers are cork, sand, wood flour, marble, dust, leather, etc. Magnesite floors are maintained like terrazzo floors.
Marble Floors -- Beautiful, durable polished limestone flooring consisting principally of crystalline calcium carbonate.
Metal Interlock -- Microscopic metal salts (often consisting of zinc and other metals) linked together in many floor finishes, to provide detergent and water resistance. Easily removed with ammonia strippers.
Monomer -- A single molecule that is chemically bound to other molecules to make up a polymer.
Mop Strip -- A stripping solution designed to remove floor finish without the need for machine scrubbing.
Neutral -- Neither acid or alkali. A neutral pH is 7.
Neutral Cleaner -- A pH-neutral, all-purpose cleaning liquid which will not harm floor finishes.
Neutralize -- To render a stripped floor surface pH neutral (7), so finish will adhere to it and film will form properly.
Non-Buff Finish -- A hard finish which dries to a high gloss without buffing; also called "dry-bright".
Non-Volatile Solids -- The amount of solid material which will remain in floor finish when volatile components have evaporated.
Odor -- The property of a substance stimulating the sense of smell. Many offensive odors are covered up with a perfume for customer appeal.
Paste Wax -- A buffable, solvent-based product, traditionally used on wood flooring.
Peeling -- The pulling away or curling of finish from the floor surface.
pH -- A measure of acidity or alkalinity on a scale from 0-14. From 0-3 is strongly acid; 4-6 is moderately acid; 7 is neutral; 8-10 is moderately alkaline; 11-14 is highly alkaline.
Phenolic Germicide -- A germicide that is phenolic in nature, or chemically related to phenol.
Phosphates -- Alkaline builders used in detergents for their anti-redisposition properties and water softening effects.
Pitting -- Tiny indentations or holes which form in concrete, terrazzo, or other flooring materials. Pitting can be prevented by proper sealing.
Plasticizer -- An ingredient in floor finish which enhances flexibility.
Polymer -- A substance composed of giant molecules that have been formed by the union (polymerization) of a number of simple molecules with one another. Common types of polymers are styrene, acrylic, urethane, vinyl epoxy, etc.
Polymer Emulsion -- Polymer materials chemically emulsified into a water base.
Porous -- Full of pores; permeable by liquids. Concrete is porous.
Powdering -- The disintegration of floor finish into fine powder, resulting in airborne dust when burnishing.
Power Scrubber -- (see Autoscrubber.)
Precoating -- Sealing the floor prior to applying finish.
Quaternary Ammonium -- The active ingredient in many disinfectants widely used because of its broad spectrum germ-killing power and gentleness to surfaces. Also called "Quat".
Recoatability -- The ability of a finish to accept repeated coats while maintaining acceptable appearance levels. Re-emulsification -- The process which occurs when a coat of finish is recoated before completely dry, causing it to reliquify and produce a steamed dull appearance when dry.
Removability -- The ability of a floor finish, once damaged, to be restored to its original appearance by recoating, burnishing, or other maintenance.
Resilient Floors -- Flooring which has a measure of elasticity and will withstand mild shock or blows without permanent damage; for example, vinyl, linoleum, rubber, cork, asphalt, vinyl asbestos, etc.
Resistant to Soil -- A finish that is resistant to one or all of the following; grease, oil acids, alkalies, bleaches, solvents, boiling water and soap.
Restorer -- Solution used in high speed maintenance programs to clean, restore slip-resistance, and gloss to flooring.
Rubber Burn -- A black rubber heel mark on the floor.
Rubber Floors -- Flooring consisting of synthetic rubber, fillers, and mineral pigments.
Scrubbing -- The use of a scrub brush or floor cleaning pad with cleaning solution to remove soil while leaving the floor finish primarily intact.
Scuff -- A mark made on floor finish by a shoe or other object. Some finishes are scuff-resistant. Scuffs can normally be removed by burnishing.
Sealer -- A base coat that protects flooring, by filling pores, and preparing the floor for application of finish.
Semi-Buffable Finish -- A floor finish designed for good initial gloss. Responds to low-speed buffing or spray buffing.
Shelf Life -- The length of time a product will retain full potency or usefulness when stored at room temperature.
Slip Coefficient -- A number--as measured by the James Machine--denoting the angle of a person's foot when slippage begins on flooring. ASTM considers 0.5 or greater according to the ASTM test method is considered to be slip-resistant.
Soil Resistance -- The ability of a floor to resist penetration by dirt or soil. Finished floors have much higher soil resistance than bare floors.
Solids -- All materials in a product that do not evaporate or become volatile at 105° C. Solids are expressed as a percentage; for example 18% solids, 22% solids, etc.
Solvent Finish -- Finish in which the solids are dispersed in a petroleum-solvent base rather than in a water emulsion.
Solvent -- A liquid substance capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more other substances.
Specular Gloss -- Measured, reflected light from finished flooring.
Spray Buffing -- A floor care procedure which involves spraying a restoration product onto the floor and immediately buffing the area until glossy. The process cleans, removes marks, and shines traffic areas of a floor.
Spread and Leveling -- The ability of a finish to be applied to a floor without streaking or drying unevenly.
Streaking -- Lines or marks of different color or texture in a floor finish caused by improper application.
Stripper -- Chemical product formulated to totally remove finish and sealer from floors.
Stripping -- Removing or lifting of floor finish and soil using a stripper, floor machine, and stripping pad.
Suds -- Foam or lather generated on or in a detergent solution.
System -- Compatible chemicals, machines, pads and procedures used together to produce maximum results.
Tackiness -- Sticky floor finish usually characteristic of insufficient drying time; may also be caused by improper use of cleaning chemicals.
Terrazzo -- Hard floor surface consisting of granite or marble chips suspended in Portland cement.
Thermoplastic -- Synthetic and natural resins used in ultra-high speed floor finishes which respond to the heat and pressure of burnishing to produce a brilliant gloss.
Tile -- Clay mixed with water and burned or "fired" in kilns. Surface is either unglazed or glazed. Tiles are set in cement with grout to form a floor.
Topaka Floor Slip Tester -- An instrument used to measure the slip resistance of a floor by determining the dynamic coefficient of friction.
Traffic Lane -- High traffic areas of a floor which are the first to show wear.
Ultra High Speed Finish -- Floor finish with a polymer composition which is thermally reactive and responds best to ultra high speed burnishing (2000 RPM and higher).
Ultra High Speed Machine -- A floor burnishing machine with pad speed of 2000 RPM or higher.
Urethane -- A polymer used in resilient and hard floor finishes for greater durability and higher gloss.
Use Dilution -- The final concentration at which a product is used.
Vinyl Asbestos Tile -- Also known as V.A.T., flooring composed of vinyl resin, plasticizers, asbestos fibers, mineral fillers, and pigment.
Vinyl Composition Tile -- Flooring similar to V.A.T., but without asbestos.
Vinyl Cork Tile -- Flooring of natural cork fused with plastic, having the appearance and durability of vinyl.
Vinyl Flooring -- Composed of tough, flexible, chemically inert vinyl resins that are odorless and thermoplastic.
Viscosity -- A measure of the thickness of a floor finish and the ease with which it flows. High viscosity finishes flow with more difficulty than low viscosity finishes.
Volatile -- The matter that changes to vapor easily or readily at normal temperatures and pressures. Washing -- Cleaning in an aqueous medium.
Water Resistance -- The ability of a surface to be unaffected by water.
Wax Applicator -- A device used to apply floor finish.
Wear -- Floor finish abrasion from foot or other traffic.
Wet Mopping -- Cleaning a floor using a mop and water with or without chemical cleaners.
Wetting Agent -- An ingredient that increases the spreading of a liquid. Used in coatings to aid in spreading and leveling.
Wood Floors -- Flooring consisting of soft or hard woods in a variety of designs.
Wrinkling -- Floor surface irregularity.
Yellowing -- Discoloration of floor finish due to aging, finish build-up or improper use of cleaning or restoration products.