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Glossary Of Terms

Acrylic – Specific types of building blocks (monomers) used in creating polymers and resins. Acrylics add toughness, durability, and rem oval 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.

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

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.

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

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.back to top

Biodegradable – Capable of being decomposed or broken by bio-logical organisms or action. 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 Marking – Black marks left on the floor finish caused by rubber being abraded from rubber heels of shoes.

Black Heel Mark Resistance – Resistance to permanent transfer of material from a shoe heel to a floor finish. Carefully selected waxes are employed to improve black heel mark resistance.

Buffable – Requires mechanical action to produce a gloss.

Buffable Floor Finish – A term used to describe any solvent or water based finish requiring mechanical action to improve gloss and/or general appearance.

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

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

Carnuba – 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 there 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 vitre-ous material called glazing.

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.

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

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

Concrete – 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.

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. back to top

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.

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

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

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

Detergent – A chemical which is used for cleaning surfaces, which may posses 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.

Bright Floor Finish – A term meaning the same as self-polishing floor finish.

Dry Buffing – A maintenance method using floor machine and appropriate polishing pad or brush to restore floor finish to glossy appearance.

Dry Time – Four types of drying phenomena exist:

Dry to Touch – (sometimes called dry to eye or visual dryness) Time when film feels or appears dry.

  • 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.
  • Recoat Time- Time when additional coat can be applied to previous coat without bad effects such as whitening or overcoat out-in.
  • Full Cure Time – Time when physical properties of film are fully developed and, therefore, cease to change.

Durability – 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. back to top

Emulsifier – A chemical agent used to suspend one incompatible material in another.

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

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.

Fisheye – 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

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 fewer products is absorbed by the floor and results in a more uniform appearance. Floor sealers might be necessary to promote adhesion of finish coats.

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

Gloss – 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 – lack of haziness, cloudiness, or a milky appearance.
  3. Uniformity – lack of unevenness.
  4. Reflectance – (shine) ratio of reflected versus incidental 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.
  8. Hardness – 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.).

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

Leveling – The propensity for an applied aqueous polishes to spread and dry to smooth, uniform film.

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.

Marble – 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.

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 complexes 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 cross linked 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.

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

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

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.

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.
O.S.H.A. – Initials of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal act passed in 1970. O.S.H.A. is designed to provide every working man and woman in the nation with safe and healthful working conditions. O.S.H A. provides the standards inspection and enforcement program to accomplish these goals.

pH – The measurement symbol used to express the degree of acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 1 expresses an extreme condition, while a pH of 14 is highly alkaline. The pH scale runs from less than 1.0 to 14, and neutrality is centered at pH 7.0.

Plasticizer Migration – Migration of ingredients from there 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.

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

Polyethylene – 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.

Powdering – 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. The causes of lack of adhesion are numerous soap residues, insufficient stripping of old finish, applying finish too thinly.

Recoating – 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.

Resilient – 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.

Resin – 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.

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

Scratch – Imperfection in the smoothness of a polish film caused by a scraping action.

Scuff – Damage to a polish film caused by the frictional heat and mechanical action from a high-speed impact of shoe material.

Scuffing – Scratches or marring of the finish, due primarily to foot traffic, which appears dull as compared to unscuffed areas.

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.

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

Sodium Hydroxide – Caustic used in the manufacture of detergents and soap.

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

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 are 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.

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

Spray Buffing – A maintenance procedure used to restore a worn dull floor finish to a glossy appearance with a floor machine, special buffing pad, and special product. A typical spray buff operation consists of spraying a fine mist of product onto a section of floor, then using a floor machine equipped with a buffing pad to buff the floor finish to a gloss.

Stability – 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.

Streaking – A non-uniform appearance left in a floor finish film by the application process.

Stripper – 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.

Stripping – 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.

Surfactant – A contraction of the words ‘surface active agent.’ This is the general name given to the type of surface- active agents used in cleaners. The surfactant reduces surface tension and provides improved wetting, emulsifying, penetrating, and dispersing properties. There are three types of surfactants: anionic, cationic, and non-ionic.

Terrazzo – A polished surface floor consisting of marble or granite chips mixed with a Portland cement matrix. The mixture is tossed 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.

Thermoplastic – A polymer that softens when exposed to heat and returns to its original condition when cooled to room temperature. The polymers, resins and waxes used in floor polishes are thermoplastic.

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 applied without stripping off the previous coats.

Vinyl Flooring – A flooring material made up of a mixture of polyvinyl chloride and plasticizers Pigments are added for color. Vinyl flooring is usually flexible; fine textured, and appears to be relatively non-porous.

Wetting – Ability of a floor finish or cleaner to spread over substrate during application.