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Imperial Dictionary: Everything Defined

Imperial dictionary: everything defined Imperial Dictionary: Everything Defined
Everyone has been there: you think about getting new floors for your home, so you decide to do some research. You browse through a company’s online gallery and at first, it seems pretty straight forward. As you start digging deeper, you become confused and frustrated as the product descriptions are filled with dimensions, pricing, color options and other puzzling details.

When shopping for flooring, the process can become overwhelming very quickly. Not only are there endless options to choose from, but the terminology used to describe different types of flooring can be enough to send you over the edge!

The average person doesn’t know the difference between honed and tumbled, or sandblasted and polished. In order to make the process of choosing your flooring that much easier, we are here to help break down those seemingly confusing terms which are holding you back from making a final decision. This way, you will understand the description of each flooring option and get your new floor, faster!

Some of the terms we will explain include:

• Polished
• Glazed
• Honed
• Tumbled
• Matte
• Sandblasted
• Prefinished • Filled
• Unfilled


When it comes to polished flooring, its primary use is for concrete. However, any type of surface can be polished in just a few easy steps. Most people choose this look to give their home a more refined, finished and upscale feel, and are pleased with the shiny coat their flooring has once installed.

Polished flooring is an option that you can either buy directly from a supplier, or a modification you can make to your current flooring on your own. Whichever you decide, polishing is a great go-to look when thinking of a new way you can redo your floors. If you decide to go with a polished finish, there are two options to choose from within that category:

• Topical
• Mechanical


Topical polish is essentially an aesthetic treatment, as it simply adds a level of shine to your floors but does not change the texture or components of the material. If you choose to buy polished flooring or add polish to your existing floors, keep in mind that topical treatments will change the look, but not the feel.


This method of polishing aims to change not only the look, but the feel of your floors. When a surface is mechanically polished, a grinding process takes place that utilizes industrial diamonds in order to achieve an overall smoother appearance. The process also levels the flooring, adds density, polishes and reduces product adhesion with a protective sealant.


Glazed and unglazed finishes primarily apply to tiling, however it can also be applied to any type of product that you can imagine. Fortunately, during all the chaos and stress of choosing floors, glazed surfaces are relatively self-explanatory.

Glazed flooring is coated with glass-forming minerals and stain. It can come in a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish, and offers better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed. Unglazed flooring is much harder and denser, and can come in various surface treatments and textures.

Where glazed flooring usually goes inside the home, unglazed is primarily used for outdoor areas.


When thinking of honed surfaces, the simplest way to imagine it is being the exact opposite of polished. Even though both polished and honed floors offer elements of beauty for your home, they have distinct differences that place them at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Honed finishing lacks the shine and reflective qualities that polished floors have. Instead, honed has a more satin feel that is smooth and velvety to the touch. Additionally, honed floors are resistant to scratches due to the fact that they do not have a glossy surface. A huge benefit of choosing honed is that scratches and nicks do not show up nearly as much, however they do have a tendency to soak up liquids faster and easier.


This unique method of finish is primarily used for outdoor areas or walk-in showers. It has a bit of a rougher and uneven texture and gives your home more of a rugged and laid back look. This type of flooring finish is perfect for Arizona homes, as tumbled flooring easily matches southwestern décor!


If you are a sucker for simplicity and classic looks, matte finishes are perfect for you! This type of finish is mainly used with hardwood, but can easily be applied to a wide variety of floors. Matte finishes are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more families are looking for a shabby chic and classic vibe for their home. So if you are looking at going back to the basics, definitely consider matte finishing for your home!


This finish is one that is mostly used for concrete or tile. The process of sandblasting is a fairly rough procedure and should only be used on extremely sturdy materials, rather than on more delicate materials such as wood or laminate.

Sandblasted floors are hardened and texturized and can add subtle definition with lower pressure, or add dramatic cuts and lines with extreme pressure.

Sandblasted finishes are primarily used for outdoor surfaces around patios and pools, but is always a great way to add an element of unique design to your home. Like many other floor surfaces, you can purchase items that are already sandblasted, or you can go through the process of sandblasting pre-existing flooring.


If you are looking for an option that has everything already in place, prefinished floors are the way to go! When you purchase a prefinished item, it already has the sanding and sealing done. All you need to do is install the product and your home has an instant makeover!

Some of the primary benefits of going with prefinished flooring include:

• Faster turnaround time
• Higher quality coating
• Zero sanding
• Ease of purchase

Filled vs. Unfilled

The options of filled vs. unfilled are primarily referred to when talking about hardwood. Unfilled wood is essentially installing a wood floor, but instead of evening out the surface, you go right to adding finishing and sealers on it. When you go with the unfilled route, you will have a rougher, more uneven flooring surface which is perfect for a rough and rugged type of home.

However, some people prefer smoother, even surfaces in their home. Filled flooring is when you take the time to fill in all of the pores of the material you have installed. This creates the most even surface you can achieve with wood materials. After you fill in the surface, you add the final touches and are left with a smooth, shiny surface!

Putting it Together

Now that you know all the lingo of the flooring industry, go out and explore your options! With your wealth of knowledge, you will become the go-to person when people need to know more information about flooring.

Shopping for floors for your home should be a fun and exciting process. Hopefully by brushing up on your vocabulary, the process will be that much easier!