Abrasion Resistance
The ability to resist removal or damage from mechanical action.

The ability of a material to take up moisture.

Acid and alkalis
Adjust pH. Acidity is useful in removing mineral buildup; alkalinity helps remove acidic, fatty and oily soils. Examples: acids: acetic acid, phosphoric acid, citric acid; alkalis: ammonium hydroxide, ethanolamines.

Acid Hardness
Chemicals, generally metal fluorosilicates, applied to concrete or terrazzo, which react with the free lime and calcium carbonates present to form silica quartz, a very hard substance. The result is concrete or terrazzo with a harder surface than that obtained without acid hardening.

Specific types of building blocks (monomers) used in creating polymers and resins. Acrylics add toughness, durability, and removal properties to the polymer or resin.

Active Ingredients
Ingredients, which promote claimed results. Usually, this term is associated with products registered with the E P A, in which case the active ingredients are those constituents which are recognized as providing the claimed pesticidal properties, e.g., insecticide, rodenticide, bactericide, etc.

Acute Toxicity
Is categorized under WHMIS as:

  • Oral - Very Toxic Below 50 mg/kg; Essentially non-toxic above 500 mg/kg.
  • Skin - Very Toxic below 200 mg/kg; Essentially non-toxic above 1000 mg/kg. A LC50 is used to describe acute inhalation toxicity. It is also used to measure toxicity of chemicals to fish or other aquatic organisms.

The ability of a floor finish to adhere to the substrate by physical or chemical means.

Alkali Soluble Polymer
A polymer, which can form a clear solution when, dissolved in a sufficient amount of base such as ammonia and water.

An organic chemical characterized by the presence of nitrogen and an alkaline pH. Unlike ammonia type strippers, amine type strippers are pleas ant to work with, as they are free at strong ammonia odor and do not irritate the nose and eyes.

Anionic Detergent
A material which carries a negative charge. Most soaps are anionic, as they combine fatty ads and an alkali. Oleate Soap, Amine Soap, Sodium Soap and combinations of the three are frequently used in cleaners.

Any material added to a floor polish to control foam. Most commonly used substances are silicone emulsions.

Antimicrobial Agents
Can destroy bacteria and viruses by interfering with their metabolism or destroying their cell walls. Different chemical structures can service this purpose, including alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, iodine, pine oil, phenolic and quaternary ammonium compounds.

Additive used in floor finishes to prevent film degradation caused by increased oxidation during high speed buffing.

Antiredeposition agents
Prevent soil from resettling during cleaning. Normally, used in laundry detergents. Examples: carboxyl methyl cellulose, polycarboxylates, polyethylene glycol, sodium silicate.

Any chemical agent that is usually applied to living tissue and which renders micro-organisms harmless either by killing them or by preventing their growth and reproduction.

Aquatic Toxicity
LC50 expresses the toxicity of chemicals to fish or other aquatic organisms. In these aquatic studies, LC refers to lethal concentration of a chemical dissolved in water. LC means lethal concentration and its units are milligrams of a chemical per cubic liter of water. Basically what we are measuring is the impact that chemicals have on fish and bottom of the food chain species like daphnia and the impact on algae growth.

Asphalt Pavers
Black composite flooring most often found in postal facilities. Usually long and narrow, 12x24 inches. Requires adequate seal and finish coats to prevent dirt entrapment.

Asphalt Tile
A flooring material made of asbestos fibers, pigments and inert fillers bound together with an asphalt or resin binder. Ingredients are mixed, heated, then rolled out in sheets and cut to size. Asphalt tile is also furnished in a grade designated as grease proof. Oils and solvents should be avoided on all types. One possible way to distinguish asphalt file from vinyl asbestos, which is also hard and brittle at nor mal temperatures, is to rub the file in an inconspicuous spot with a rag dampened with petroleum naphtha. Any color transfer from the file to the cloth indicates that the tile is asphalt instead of vinyl asbestos. Rubber tile will also show some color transfer, but rubber tile can be indented with a fingernail.


A natural process by which organic or carbon-containing material is decomposed by microorganisms. A biodegradable surfactant is rapidly broken down by naturally occurring bacteria. Generally refers to detergents and cleaners.

Bite In
Whitening or dulling caused during application of floor finishes. It can occur if re application is done too quickly or if too much product is used, and usually occurs with self sensitive (alkali soluble) systems. Bite in can be detected by increased drag during application of multiple coats.

Black Mark
A mark or blemish to a finish film associated with softer heals or sneakers. With sneakers, this mark may be white. These marks usually do not affect the film and can be rubbed off by normal traffic.

Help whiten, brighten and remove stains. Examples: sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach), sodium perborate, sodium percarbonate (oxygen bleach combined with activating agent).

Refers to color loss of a floor tile due to the leaching out of pigments by over aggressive stripping compounds.

A term applied to the whitening effect that sometimes occurs as a solvent finish dries.

Light-reflecting property of paper or pulp. Brightness measurements compare paper and pulp with a reference standard (measured on a scale of 1 to 100). Bleached kraft pulps range in brightness from the low 80s to over 90 and unbleached mechanical pulps range from 55 to 62.

A finish capable of achieving improvement in gloss or general appearance or both by the mechanical action of a pad and buffing/burnishing machine.

A substance that stabilizes pH (alkalinity). Examples: Complex phosphate builders, sodium carbonate, sodium silicate.

Materials that upgrade or protect the cleaning efficiency of the surfactant. Builders function by inactivating water hardness, supplying alkalinity to assist cleaning, providing buffering to maintain alkalinity, preventing removed soil from redepositing during cleaning, and emulsifying oily and greasy soils. Examples: sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium citrate, sodium carbonate, zeolites.

Multiple layers of dirt, grime, wax, or floor finish.

A maintenance method used to produce a gloss with frictional heat and vigorous mechanical action.


A hard wax obtained from the leaves of the Carnuba palm tree. This wax is emulsifiable and yields a glossy, durable, buffable film when property formulated in aqueous floor waxes. Carnuba wax is graded in five categories. Only types I and 2 are used appreciably in floor waxes because of their lighter color. Types 3 through 5 come from more mature leaves, and are darker in color.

Ceramic Tile
A flooring material made from a mixture of special clays and colorants that are fused together at high temperature into a hard brick like or porcelain sub stance. Sometimes coated with a thin film of vitreous material called glazing.

A phenomenon of certain coatings manifested by the presence of loose powder that results from the film itself, at or just beneath the surface.

Chelating Agents
Used in detergent formulations because they inactivate the hardness minerals calcium and magnesium, and minimize effects of other dissolved metals such as iron and manganese. Example: ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), sodium citrate and NTA.

Chemical Resistance
Ability to withstand an assortment of chemicals such as gasoline or alcohol without being damaged.

Clarity Clearness
Lack of haze or light scattering properties.

Usually describes a condition where film gloss is diminished as a result of an aggressive pad being under a slower speed machine. May also indicate a build-up of residual detergent or detergent disinfectant improperly diluted or applied daily through damp mopping.

Fabrication of a multi-layer film by pumping the various materials through separate extruders and then merging the extrudates into a common die assembly.

To blend together to unite into a whole to fuse. As related to floor finishes, the formulation of the film as the water evaporates.

A solvent, usually a glycol or glycol ether, which helps promote the union of individual emulsion particles into a continuous film.

Cold Floors
A winter condition that must be monitored during seal/finish application. Floor seal/finish properties may be affected if applied to cold floor surfaces significantly below 50 degrees F.

A flooring material made from a mixture of sand, gravel, Portland cement and modifying additives, which react, with water to form a hard rocklike sub stance. Portland cement is the 'glue' which holds the other materials together. Hardening occurs through hydration of these materials.

Concrete Seal
A protective coating applied to a new or old concrete floor to harden, seal, and reduce dusting.

Conductive Flooring
A flooring material that will conduct electricity to reduce hazards from unwanted static electricity such as sparks in an explosive environment. Conductive floors offer a resistance of 25,000 to 1,000,000 ohms per 3 lineal feet. Conductive flooring materials include linoleum, terrazzo. ceramic tile, vinyl, and rubber. Conductivity is achieved by using acetylene carbon, cupric salts, or other special conducting materials. Wire mesh may also be laid directly under the tile to assure uniform conductance of the entire floor.

Cork Tile
A flooring material composed of ground cork with or without resins that is compressed and heat cured into the finished product. Chosen mostly for its beauty and sound deadening properties. Cork is best maintained with organic solvent based products such as Traffic Wax paste or liquid.

Corrosion inhibitors
Protect metal machine parts and equipment.

A solvent which modifies the performance or stability characteristics of polish.

The square feet of surface covered by a gallon.

Formation of an opaque off colored layer at the top of a liquid emulsion.

An entity, which attaches two, chains of polymer molecules together by forming a chemical bond.


Damp Mopping
A maintenance method using a well wrung out mop dampened with water or cleaning solution to remove light soil from floors.

Dart Drop
A method of measuring a film's impact strength or dynamic toughness. A hemispherical shaped, weighted "dart" is dropped onto a film sample.

A substance used to reduce foaming due to agitation. Defoamers include silicone fluids and organic phosphates.

A chemical which is used for cleaning surfaces, which may possess various properties such as surface wetting, soil emulsification, soil dispersion or soil suspension. A type of chemical which possesses surfactant properties, including surface wetting, soil dispersion, etc. This detergent chemical does not ionize with positive or negative charges. It is compatible in mixtures with either cationic or anionic surfactants. It is not compatible, however, with phenolic germicides.

Detergent Disinfectant Resistant
A floor film's ability to maintain its integrity, gloss and wear resistance properties through normal repeated cleanings and or disinfection.

A device used in extrusion processes to shape the extrudate. We use circular dies for blown products and slot dies for cast products.

Any substance with very low electrical conductivity.

The material that a concentrated product is diluted with.

DIN Registration Number
The Drug Identification Number (DIN) found on a Canadian produced disinfectant indicating that the disinfectant meets the Canadian Department of Health and Welfare criteria for disinfecting the stated pathogens on the label at the prescribed dilution rate. Valid when used in only health care establishments.

Dirt Embodiment
Presence of trapped dirt and foreign matter which cannot be removed by detergent washing. Soft films or excess plasticizer are the usual causes of dirt embodiment. Dry Bright Floor Finish A term meaning the same as self polishing floor finish.

The physical resistance felt though the mop when applying a seal/finish to either a stripped surface or on subsequent coats. Usually implies the previous coat has not dried adequately.

Dry Buffing
A maintenance procedure using a rotary floor machine. This term describes buffing speeds between 175-300 RPM. A dry procedure with either a white or red pad. Note: Buffing should never be done on uncoated tile.

Dry Stripping
Involves the use of a black floor pad and a trigger-sprayed solution of wax stripper to deep clean and selectively remove the top layer of floor finish. The surface must be rinsed and recoated immediately afterwards.

Dry Time
The total time required before application of additional coats or opening a floor to normal traffic. Under normal conditions this time is one half hour after a finish has dried to the touch. Four types of drying phenomena exist:

  1. Dry to Touch (sometimes called dry to eye or visual dryness)" Time when film feels or appears dry.
  2. Tack Free Time: Time when dry materials, such as dust or tissue, cannot be made to adhere to the surface even when pressure is applied.
  3. Recoat Time: Time when additional coat can be applied to previous coat without bad effects such as whitening.
  4. Full Cure Time: Time when physical properties of film are fully developed and, therefore, cease to change.

Resistance to change from original appearance. Durability is term used to describe how long polish film will resist changes in appearance caused by foot traffic or other types of wear before spray buffing, recoating, or stripping is considered necessary. Terms used to describe durability include abrasion resistance, adhesion, black heel mark resistance, lack of dirt embodiment, hardness, scuff resistance, scratch resistance, detergent resistance, and gloss retention.

Dust Mopping
A maintenance method used to remove dust from floors with a dry or specially treated mop.

A fine powder associated with high-speed burnishing. Results from burnishing finishes that are not designed for high speed burnishing maintenance. Can also result from an aggressive pad used under a slower speed machine.


Elastic Recovery
The ability of a material to return to its original shapes or sizes after having been deformed or subjected to strain.

A method of paper finishing whereby a pattern is pressed into the paper when it is dry.

To raise in relief a design or letters already printed on card stock or heavy paper by an uninked block or die. In rubber and plastic plate making the process is usually done by heat.

The dispersion or suspension of the particles of one liquid in another immiscible liquid. The principal agent in emulsification is a surfactant.

A chemical agent used to suspend one incompatible material in another. Generally, one end of an emulsifier molecule is soluble in water; the other end is soluble in organic solvent. This dual solubility helps hold the dissimilar liquids together.

A stable mixture of water and water insoluble materials) in a finely divided state accomplished means of one or more surface active agents, such as soap or synthetic emulsifiers.

Emulsion Polymer
A polymer which exists in two phases. A continuous phase, which is usually water and a dispersed phase, which consists of polymer particles suspended in the continuous phase through the use of substances, called emulsifiers.

Catalyze destruction of specific types of soils like starches, greases and proteins for removal by detergent. Examples: amylase, lipase, protease, etc.

EPA Establishment Number
Found on products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides. Identifies the manufacturing location of the EPA registered products.

EPA Registration Number
Found on products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides (insecticides, sanitizers, disinfectants and herbicides). The first group of numbers identifies the primary registrant, the second group the product number, and the third group the supplemental registrant.

Extenders or fillers
Do not improve detergency of the product. Their purpose is to dilute the concentrated product. Sometimes they are added to improve the free-flowing characteristics of powder. Examples: water, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride (table salt).

The process of feeding, melting, and pumping a material such that a desired shape or configuration can be created. It is a continuous process and utilizes a device similar to a meat grinder


Fabric softening agents
Soften and control static electricity in fabrics. Example: quaternary ammonium compounds.

Factory Finish
A temporary coating applied to flooring material during manufacture for ease of manufacturing and protection during shipment and installation. It is recommended that this coating, often referred to as mill finish, be removed before being treated with a polish.

An extremely thin continuous sheet of substance. The protective value of any film depends on it being 100% continuous, i.e., without holes or cracks, since it must form an efficient barrier to molecules of atmospheric water vapor, oxygen, etc.

Film Thickness
Relates to the number of coats of seal and finish applied to a floor.

Fire Point
The lowest temperature at which the vapors of a liquid will ignite in the presence of a flame or spark and burn continuously.

Fish Eyes
An inadequate wetting/leveling condition, similar in appearance to roping. Marks are circular in appearance, normally caused by a foreign substance, usually oil-based. Small round surface imperfections in a polish film caused by localized differences in surface tension, induced convection, or by the wet film receding from incompatible entities in the product or on the substrate. Oil, silicone, or other hydrophobic materials are the usually causes of fisheyes.

Flash Point
The lowest temperature at which the vapors of a liquid will ignite in the presence of a flame or spark.

A reversible process in which a number of emulsion droplets stick together to form a cluster or clumps which can be broken up by mechanical action restoring the emulsion to its original form.

Floor Polish
A temporary coating that enhances the appearance and protects the substrate to which it is applied. Also called Floor Finish, Floor Wax.

Floor Sealer
A coating, temporary or permanent applied to a floor before applying finishing coats to help fill voids and pours in the floor surface. Fewer finish coats are necessary because less product is absorbed by the floor and results in a more uniform appearance. Floor sealers might be necessary to promote adhesion of finish coats.

Fluorescent whitening agents or optical brighteners
Enhance brightness. Examples: stilbene disulfonates, coumarin derivatives.

A fluorinated surfactant which, through its ability to lower the surface tension of liquid, can improve the leveling and wetting characteristics of floor polishes.

Mask odors of other ingredients and provide brand identity and fresh scent.


Used as a synonym for film thickness or film caliper. Sometimes expressed as 80 gauge or 100 gauge.

Gauge Band
A conformation irregularity found in rolls of material. A thick area in a film will produce a raised or elevated ring in a finished roll of product. Conversely, a thin area will result in a soft ring in a finished roll.

Any chemical that kills stated microorganisms.

A combination of visual perceptions which promote the appearance of wetness. Terms used when describing gloss include:

  1. Depth how deep or thick the surface appears.
  2. Clarity lock of haziness, cloudiness, or a milky appearance.
  3. Uniformity lack of unevenness.
  4. Reflectance (shine) ration of reflected versus incident light.
  5. Distinctness of image lack of distortion that the surface causes to reflected images.
  6. Sheen amount of low active reflectance.
  7. Hue the amount of bluish coloration promoting the perception of depth seen in clear films.

The shine or "sparkle" of a surface. In LDPE film, it is described as the amount of light reflected from the surface.

GRAM (Negative)
Refers to chemical difference in certain bacteria which shows up by The Gram staining procedure, which uses crystal violet and iodine. These bacteria stain red. Pseudonomas and salmonella are examples of GRAM negative bacterial.

GRAM (Positive)
Refers to chemical difference in certain bacteria which shows up by The Gram staining procedure. These bacteria stain blue. Staph and strep are examples of GRAM positive bacterial.

Concrete or similar substance used between ceramic tile.


Hand Film
Stretch film designed for hand application.

Hard Water
Water which contains ions of magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca).

An expression of the concentration of inorganic salts in water which prevents effective cleaning and germicidal action. Hardness is measured in ppm (parts per million) calculated as calcium carbonate' (CaCO).

Hardwood Floor
Non-resilient flooring of maple, pecan, oak, beech, and various other hardwoods.

High Solids
A floor polish which has a 20% or higher non volatile content. Unlike concentrates high solids products are generally used without dilution.

High-Speed Buffing
Normally a dry, buffing process utilizing a white pad and machine speeds of 1000 RPM. Used in conjunction with medium hardness films to restore gloss. Spray buffing at this speed is not a recommended unless a thorough pre-cleaning is done. Note: High-speed buffing should never be done on uncoated tile.

High-Speed Burnishing
A dry process utilizing specialty pads and machine speeds in excess of 1000-1500 RPM to maintain a wet-look shine. Use on finish films of adequate depth formulated to resist powdering at these super-high speeds. Contrary to certain claims, this process does not melt or fuse floor finish layers into one thick coat. Note: High-speed burnishing should never be done on uncoated tile.

Honed Marble
Marble that has been ground with a decreasing size grit to provide a smooth, usually not finished, surface. In some installations, the final grinding procedure is done after installation of the tile.

A bluish coloration promoting the perception of depth in clear films.

Ensure product homogeneity by preventing liquids from separating. Examples: cumene sulfonates, ethanol, toluene sulfonates, xylene sulfonates.


Drastically reduces the corrosive effect of a product on metal.


LDPE Low Density Polyethylene

Leveling Aid A substance which can be added to a floor polish which allows it to dry to a more even appearing film.

Leveling or Mop Marks Wet-floor finish that does not appear to even out after application, and mop marks that remain after drying. This condition is caused by improper rinsing or the use of a so-called stripper neutralizer. When recoating, this condition may occur if the existing finish is not cleaned or subsequently rinsed prior to recoat.

Linoleum A flooring material composed of mixture of oxidized linseed oil, resin, and various fillers such as sawdust, ground cork, mineral filler and coloring material which is cured for several weeks in specially heated buildings. Linoleum is soft, porous, and tends to discolor and become more porous when subjected to amines and alkaline strippers and cleaners.

LLDPE Linear Low Density Polyethylene


M weight
The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper.

M. A. C. Rating
Maximum Allowable Concentration, generally the ceiling value used to determine the amount of solvent vapor allowed in a concentrated area for toxicity purposes.

M.F.T.(Minimum Forming Temperature)
The temperature below which a polymer or floor polish will not form a continuous film.

M. S. D. S.
Material Safety Data Sheet, the form required by law which lists hazardous ingredients per a published manual that must be provided to those companies who distribute or use chemical products.

Machine Direction
Perpendicular to film web width

Machine Films
Stretch film designed for stretch film equipment.

A flooring material composed of a form of limestone hard enough to be polished. Purest grade used by sculptors is called Statuary Marble. A softer, more porous version called Travertine is usually used for floors. Travertine Marble is known to harden on exposure to air. Marble is damaged by alkaline cleaners, soaps and acids; it also stains easily.

Mechanical Cleaning
Removing of soil or dirt from a surface by manual scrubbing or by use of abrasives, as opposed to chemical cleaning.

Metal Complex
A crosslink of a bivalent metal ion (usually zinc) between the acid functional groups of two polymer chains. Metal complexes can provide a reaction site for aid in removal, detergent resistance, and durability in floor polishes.

Metal Interlock
A formulation technique by which metal is chemically complexed with the polymer and/or resin in an aqueous finish or sealer. The use of bivalent metal ions such as zinc or zirconium to bind together and form a crosslinked network with add containing polymer chains. This technique causes the dried film to be more durable and detergent resistant while still allowing its ready removal with amine type strippers.

Newly developed polyethylene resins produced using "Metallocene" catalyst. It allows the resin manufacturer to custom tailor properties. Compared to other linear low density resins, Metallocene resin stretch film .can achieve greater puncture resistance and greater clarity.

A unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter (micron = mil x 25.4)

Mill Finish
A finish applied by the file manufacturer to resilient floor tile, which must be removed for proper sealing and finishing.

Mop and Shine
A maintenance method using a special mop on composition which lightly cleans and improves the gloss of a worn floor finish. Gloss improvement is accomplished by a new thin coat of product or possibly by rejuvenation of the original finish.


Neither acid nor alkaline.

Neutral Cleaner
Detergent with a pH at the 7 range in its concentrated form normally recommended for use on highly finished floors to provide cleaning without deleterious effects.

No Wax Flooring
A broad class of flooring materials usually having a clear organic wear layer, usually urethane over a vinyl backing. It is usually textured and designed for minimum maintenance.

A hard seal or finish that cannot be maintained by buffing, spray buffing or burnishing. Maintenance of this type surface is through scrub rinse and recoat.

Non Buffable Finish
Generally, a finish, which dries to a high durable gloss and cannot be dry buffed to restore shine. Since the advent of spray buffing, this term is seldom used. Non ionic.


Optical Brighteners
Absorbs UV light sources and emits visible light which gives a brightening effect.

Oxidizing agents
Materials that liberate oxygen under mild conditions. The term includes such chemicals as peroxides, chlorates, perchlotes, nitrates and permanganates.


Any paper with a thickness (caliper) of 12 points (.3mm) or more.

A hard finished paper that emulates animal skin; used for documents, such as awards, that require writing by hand.

PCP Registration Number
The Pest Control Products Act (PCP) number found on a Canadian produced disinfectant indicating that the disinfectant meets the Canadian Department of Agriculture's criteria for disinfecting the stated pathogens on the label at the prescribed dilution rate. Valid when used in all other areas except health-care establishments.

The pulling or falling away of pieces of coating from a surface.

The ability of a product to seek all areas of the surface sprayed, usually refers to a lubricant's ability to thin out sufficiently to cover contacting metal surfaces. To penetrate.

Petroleum Distillate
Hydrocarbon solvents derived from crude oil by distillation.

A chemical symbol expressing the degree of acidity or alkalinity of cleaning solution. The pH scale runs from 0-14, with 7 indicating neutrality. The numbers increase as alkalinity increases and decrease as acidity rises.

A term used to describe a carbolic acid disinfectant compound. Wide germicidal action on bacterial, viruses, fungi, mold, mildew, and effective against tuberculosis.

Inorganic salts used for water softening and detergency.

An organic compound to a polymer to increase its flexibility and toughness. Plasticizers contribute to the durability, gloss, and leveling of a floor polish.

Plasticizer Migration
Migration of ingredients from their intended location. Migration of plasticizers from flooring materials can cause tackiness in floor finishes or adhesion problems. Migration from floor finish to flooring is also possible.

Polished Marble
Initial treatment is similar to honed marble, however the final step in preparing this flooring involves treatment with acid to seal and glaze the tile providing a super high gloss surface that many finishes will not adhere to.

Plasticizer used primarily in finishes. Polymer A chemical compound composed of many similar, smaller parts chemically linked to one another. As related to emulsion floor finishes and sealers, polymers are the major film forming agent which contributes gloss and durability to the finish or sealer.

A thermoplastic polymer which has excellent hardness and gloss.

Full of tiny openings usually only seen under a microscope

A condition where a fine dust occurs on the finished floor surface, often obvious when tracked onto adjacent carpeting. Often, powdering is due to dust settling out where construction or other sources of dust are present. Other times, powdering is indicative of a lack of floor finish (or sealer) adhesion, loss of plasticizing agents to the substrate or to cleaning solutions, or application while temperature or relative humidity is too low to allow proper film formation. A physical breakdown of floor finish film caused by various conditions, including:

  • Buffing or burnishing a non-buff finish
  • Buffing or burnishing a seal
  • Poor cleaning procedures leaving excess soil or sand, which abrades the film
  • Improper rinsing of a stripped floor

Protect products from oxidation, discoloration and bacterial attack. Examples: butylated hydroxytoluene, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), glutaraldehyde.


Commonly called quats. These are often cationic surfactants, many of which have disinfecting, deodorizing and detergent properties. Derived from the ammonium action.


A maintenance method where additional coats of floor finish are applied without prior stripping. Successful recoat is dependent on substrate, preparation of substrate, and amount of time between applications.

Recovered paper
Paper collected for the purpose of recycling.

Recycled content paper
Paper made from previously used and recovered fiber. Recycled paper is labeled by the amount and type of its fiber content. Recycled paper content is often stated in a fraction such as 50/20, which indicates a total of 50% recycled fiber, of which 20% is post-consumer content. The remainder would be virgin fiber.

Reducing agents
(Oxygen bleaches) are chemicals that cause another substance to be reduced and is oxidized itself at the same time. Examples: Sodium perborate, hydrogen peroxide.

The floor finish property associated with detergent/disinfectant resistance that, while resistant to repeated cleanings, will come off a floor with specifically formulated strippers. Note: Strippers should never be substituted for regular cleaning products.

In floor maintenance, the property of being able to do feathering and add more finish to a spot that is damaged and then to buff or use other methods to bring both the repaired spot and the surrounding area to the same appearance.

Capable of withstanding shock or pressure without permanent deformation or rupture. Asphalt, vinyl, linoleum are resilient type flooring materials.

Resilient Flooring
Flexible flooring materials including asphalt tile, cork, linoleum, no wax, rubber, seamless floors, vinyl, and vinyl asbestos.

As related to emulsion finishes and sealers, resins are materials, which contribute primarily to leveling and gloss of the resultant film. Resins are polymers, but contain fewer chemically linked units than what are commonly called polymers.

A maintainer for UHS finishes which adds 1/4 of 1 coat of product.

An inadequate leveling problem associated with either poor rinsing of a stripped floor, especially where there is excessive gaps between tiles that hold stripper residue. This condition appears as though the wet finish is pulling away from the tile seam.

Flooring materials made up of natural or synthetic rubber rolled and heat cured into a final product.


A term applied to a chemical or formulation that reduces pathogenic organisms to humanly acceptable levels. Dependent upon the number of microorganisms present, the 0.001% survivors may be enough to cause cross contamination or nosocomial infections in susceptible hosts. Generally used on food contact surfaces and specified by USDA or local Health Departments.

The process of converting fat into soap by treating it with alkali.

Mineral deposits precipitated from water such as calcium carbonate.

Similar to scuffs, however, scratches are usually deeper and occur on harder films. Severe scratches require thorough scrub and recoat to restore the finish integrity.

A mark to a softer finish film caused by heels, furniture moving, or excessive soil trackage. Can usually be removed by spray buffing or burnishing if an adequate finish base exists.

Application of a coating to a bare substrate and to fill pores to prevent excessive absorption of the finish coats.

Self Polishing
A floor finish or furniture polish that dries to a shine and needs no further effort to bring about a shine. Most modem polishes are of the self shine type. Other terms use to describe this type of polish are Dry Bright and Non Buffable.

Term applied to low angle gloss.

Slip Resistance
The drag noticed when walking on a floor that results in safer footing; the amount of resistance to slipping, usually with reference to the sole or heel of a shoe on a floor.

Slip Resistance
A measurement of floor films' coefficient of friction acceptable in providing a safe walking surface. Evaluation of slip resistance is done according to ASTM Method D-2047. According to this industry standard, a coefficient of friction reading of 0.5 is acceptable as indication of a safe floor film.

Sodium Hydroxide
Caustic used in the manufacture of detergents and soap. Sodium Metasilicate Base for detergent formulations.

Sodium Silicate
Catalyst for soaps and detergents. Sodium Xylenesulfonate Water softener used in detergents.

Soil Load Capacity
The amount of soil a chemical may hold in suspension before the soils affect the properties of the product.

The wear and gloss producing portion of a finish or seal that remains on the floor after all water and film forming plasticizers have evaporated.

Solids Content (Non Volatile)
That portion of the product (floor finish, sealer, cleaner, etc.) which remains as the film or residue after drying has occurred. The solids content is usually expressed as percent by weight of the total product. Often, solids is considered as a measurement of the quality, durability, and performance of a product. This is false logic and can be very misleading as a measure of any product performance property.

Solvent Based Buffable
A liquid or paste composed of waxes, synthetic or natural, dispensed in an organic solvent. When applied and allowed to dry, solvent based buffable polishes haze and must be buffed to achieve gloss.

Prevent separation or deterioration in liquids and dissolve organic soils. Examples: ethanol, isoprophyl alcohol, propylene glycol.

The crackling, breaking or splintering of materials due to heat, especially with concrete or terrazzo floors.

A thick resistant cell coat which forms within the cell wall as a resting stage. The spore is very resistant to disinfectants and germicides and usually is usually destroyed only by sterilization procedures (autoclaving, ethylene oxide, etc.).

Spray Buff
To renew, touch up, or maintain a floor by spraying an approved spray buff product followed by ma chine buffing. Restores worn floor coatings.

Spray Buffing
Same speeds and pads as buffing, but incorporates the use of a liquid cleaner/polish to provide light duty cleaning and gloss restoration. Blue pads are occasionally used for deeper cleaning. This procedure should not be used as a maintenance system substitution for proper cleaning. Spray buffing with machines running over 300 RPM significantly reduces cleaning ability.

Ability to resist change in physical or performance properties due to time or environmental stresses such as freezing and thawing, heat, or microbial attack. Emulsion floor care products are considered stable if changes caused by aging under expected environmental extremes will not affect product safety, product performance, or be detectable by the consumer for the duration for the products expected shelf life.

The process employed to destroy every form of germ life, including that of bacterial spores. Few chemical, if any - as used in practical disinfection, are actually sterilizing agents. Sterilization is effective usually by means of superheated steam (in autoclave) although it can be achieved also by a combination of heat and chemical action.

A condition describing seal or finish application usually associated with inadequate rinsing of stripper residue or use of a dirty mop. These residues prevent the finish leveling agents from evening the wet finish prior to initiation of the film formation/drying process. Streaking also can result from the use of fans to dry finish with excessive airflow directed toward the wet finish.

A combination of factors related to the ability of a material to be stretched or elongated (i.e. how easily does a film stretch, how much will it stretch, does it return to its original length?)

A product used to remove coatings from floor substrates. Specific types are needed for water based coatings; other Types are needed for solvent based coatings.

A maintenance method for removal of floor finishes. After the stripping operation, the floors are rinsed thoroughly before applying a fresh coat of floor polish. A monomer or building block used in the preparation of emulsion polymers and resins used in floor finishes and sealers. Styrene imparts very hard, glossy, water resistant properties.

Suds control agents
Stabilize or suppress sudsing. Examples of stabilizers: alkanolamides, alkylamine oxides, suppressors: alkyl phosphates, silicones, soap.

Surface tension
A measure of the molecular forces existing at the surface (air-liquid interface) of a liquid. It is measured in dynes/cm and reduced by surface-active agents.

Alter tension at the interface between water and the surface to be cleaned. Examples of anionic: linear alkylbenzene sulfonates; nonionic: alcohol ethoxylates; cationic: quaternary ammonium compounds; ampohoteric imidazolines, betaines. A surfactant can help accomplish six basic functions: it can help to decrease surface tension, facilitate soil removal, suspend materials (solubilize and emulsify), stabilize foam, absorb on surfaces to alter properties of the surface (e.g. fabric softening), and act as a biocide.

Swirl Marks
Usually caused by the use of an aggressive pad combined with a slower machine speed. Noticed on softer finish. Often used to describe uneven gloss restoration with high-speed buffing or burnishing.

An ingredient that, by its nature, multiplies the effectiveness of the product. For example, an insecticide plus a synergist does not add up as I + 1 = 2, but rather 1 + 1 = 4 or perhaps 8, when property balanced.


Chemical substances added to increase the "tack" of the parent or base material.

Tear Resistance
The resistance of the film to be torn. This is quantified by Elmendorf Tear testing, and is measured as the force required to propagate an initiated tear in the MD or TD direction.

A polished surface floor consisting of marble or granite chips mixed with a Portland cement matrix. The mixture is troweled onto the floor, leveled, and allowed to cure for a period of 5 to 6 days. The surface is then ground with an abrasive stone grinder and polished. Use of harsh acids and alkalis should be avoided. Also prepared in factories as finished slabs.

A fad term often used to identify a floor film capable of being used as part of a high-speed burnishing program. The actual definition is a material that will flow, deform or become plastic when heated without changing its chemical properties. This property is inherent to a floor film throughout its life, regardless of age.

Time to Recoat
The time from application when an additional coat of floor polish can be applied without damaging the previous coat.

Top Coating
A maintenance procedure for applying an additional coat of floor finish. Top Scrubbing Floor cleaning operation using detergent solution and floor machine equipped with a special cleaning pad. After scrubbing, the floor is rinsed and allowed to dry.

Top scrubbing
is usually conducted so those additional coats of floor finish can be ap plied without stripping off the previous coats.

Relating to a harmful effect by a poisonous substance on the human body by physical contact, ingestion or inhalation.

Transverse Direction
Direction across the stretch film web.


Ultra High-Speed Burnishing
Same basic process as high-speed burnishing with machine speeds in excess of 2000 RPM.


A diffused substance suspended in the air.

Vapor Degreasing
The process in which a chlorinated solvent is heated in a tank. The heated solvent forms a vapor that condenses onto the cooler metal parts, which drips back into the tank cleaning the metal parts of soils.

A protective coating composed of a vegetable oil (linseed, tung, etc.) and a solvent, or of a synthetic or natural resin and solvent. A flooring material composed of a mixture of various vinyl compounds (Vinyl Chloride, Vinyl Acetate), asbestos, ground limestone, plasticizers, and colorants. Heated mixture is rolled into a final product. Noted for superior grease resistance and ease of maintenance. It indents and is susceptible to heel damage. It is porous and requires sealing to prevent staining. Vinyl Asbestos tiles are generally hard, brittle and appear to be porous on close inspection. Occasionally, discrete white filler particles can be seen in the tile.

Vinyl Asbestos Tile
A 12x12 inch composition tile produced from the mid 1950s through the 1980s. It incorporates asbestos fiber as both a filler and binding agent. Extremely durable. Note: Based on EPA guideline, the flooring should never be dry buffed or burnished if uncoated.

Vinyl Composition Tile
Similar to vinyl asbestos tile in size and appearance. Produced from the late 1960s to the present. Asbestos fillers replaced by alternate materials. Due to lack of customer knowledge regarding tile specifics, many assume vinyl composition to be vinyl asbestos.

The degree of thinness or resistance to flow by a fluid.


Traditionally, a misused term to describe an alleged performance problem. Unless a severe powdering or adhesion problem exists, finished floors do not walk-off. Typically, this term is used to describe gloss loss due to either non-response to buffing/burnishing or lack of adequate floor finish coats due to traffic wear.

Water Based Buffable Floor Finish
A water based emulsion coating whose appearance and/ or gloss may be improved through mechanical action. The primary film forming ingredients in this type of product there are usually waxes.

Water Based Self Polishing
A water based polish, not necessarily an emulsion, which dried to a shine without mechanical action.

Water Based Urethane
A colloidal dispersion of isocyanate containing polymers noted for casting very tough and flexible films. The major benefit obtained from this material is abrasion resistance.

Water hardness
A measure of the soluble salts, principally those of calcium and magnesium and sometimes iron and manganese-that when present in water in sufficient amounts create cleaning problems. Hardness is usually expressed in parts per million of calcium carbonate and generally reduces the ability of surfactants to perform their cleaning function. Based on the American Iron and Steel Institute data, up to 120 ppm of calcium carbonate is considered soft water, 121-180 is hard water and above 180 ppm is considered very hard water.

A low melting compound of high molecular weight similar in composition to fats and oils. There are two types: Natural (animal and vegetable derived) and Synthetic (such as polymers of ethylene). The wax functions as a film in floor polishes to help prevent scuffs and black marks and as a slip resistance moderator.

Wax Emulsion
A stable mixture of one or more waxy materials helps in a water suspension through the use of emulsifiers, surfactants or soaps.

Wet-look Shine
A level of gloss produced with high-speed or ultra high-speed burnishing programs. An important requirement of maintaining this gloss level is regular cleaning and recoating to assure proper film thickness.

Wetting agent
A substance, which when added to a liquid, increases its spreading and penetrating power by lowering the surface tension. Its effectiveness is measured by the increase in spread of a liquid over a surface area. Wetting agents are all surfactants.


Lack of resistance to tear propagation or an initiated TD cut or tear. Once the film has been torn or cut, the resulting slip rapidly opens and completes a full web break.