Photograph courtesy Elementto Wallpapers Pinterest
Photograph courtesy Elementto Wallpapers
<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">Photograph courtesy Asian Paints</span> Pinterest
Photograph courtesy Asian Paints
<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">Photograph courtesy Black Crow Studios</span> Pinterest
Photograph courtesy Black Crow Studios

The anatomy of surfaces

by Aditi Gaitonde & Tasneem Merchant Sep 20, 2016

Can’t recall the right expression when talking to a contractor? Do not worry – help is at hand. This list of useful terms will sort you out when liasing with your contractor.

Also known as engineered stone, it is a composite made of the crushed material bound by an adhesive

Scaly patterns appearing on paint when it fails to adhere to the glossy coat underneath. It usually occurs when an oily primer is used for water based dye

A chemical treatment that bids adieu to common bacteria, fungi and yeast

Bed joint
Horizontal gap between two tiles filled using sealant or mortar to prevent water seepage

Bird’s eyes
Wooden fibres contoured in an elliptical or circular manner, seen on laminates, resembling the eyes of a bird

Purposely mixing veneers to prevent laying large portions of the same shade and contrasting it with a dissimilar colour

Brushed finish
Treating the surface with a coarse or wiry broom for a pattern resembling  wavy lines. Can be used on metal, stone, cement and concrete

Thick pasty mixture of pure cement and water applied to the back of a tile before setting it in place for a firmer grip

Bowl like depressions that form on freshly varnished walls when dirt, fibre moisture or other substances get trapped in the coating

An early indication of wear and tear. Tiny spider web like cracks that develop on any surface due to shrinkage of the top layer

Distressed visual
Give your space a vintage vibe with an effect where the surface is either scraped or gouged to resemble an ol’ timey antique look

Layer of white salt like deposit that forms on stones due to alkalis leaching from the cement mix below

Produced by stacking three to five layers of hardwood and fusing them under heat and pressure, this type of flooring is less affected by humidity

A make-up equivalent, it is putty used to patch pores in wood

Made by tightly twisting fibres together, this kind of carpet has a comfortable, shaggy look in a uniform colour

Gloss levels
An optical term, it describes the ability of a surface to reflect light. Be warned: The higher the sheen level, the more visible the wear and tear

Seen in cut lumber, it’s the growth pattern of a tree evident in different surface textures and patterns

Seal the deal with this construction material used to fill the gaps between tiles resulting in a smooth, even look

Kill point
Joint where the last strip of wallpaper meets the first when pasting over partitions

Lap marks
Ugly streaks left behind when a finish is not applied evenly or the climatic conditions are less than ideal. It’s no surprise you are running around in circles

Ceramic tiles made using the “single fire” technique. The clay is shaped and heated in a roller kiln in one step giving it a hard glaze

Natural stain
For those who have nothing to hide, this clear finish allows the natural colours and actual grain to show

Refers to inlaid woodwork in geometric forms for a decorative reason. Symmetrical and angular, find them in shapes like squares, rectangles and oval

Change in the hue and texture of copper, steel, etc due to exposure to natural elements such as wind and water

Peel ‘n’ stick
Self-adhesive tiles that do not require external glue for installation. Once placed, these can be extremely difficult to remove, so think twice or even thrice, if you have to

Pilot hole
Pre-drilled for convenience, this makes it easier to nail a screw into a piece of timber without splitting it apart

Grooves cut into one side of a tile so another one fits.  This allows pieces to be fixed without the use of a binding material, much like a giant jigsaw puzzle

Random match
Wallpapers with motifs that don’t need to fall precisely in line with each other

Reducer strip
Found often at the threshold, a transitional piece or strip is used to connect one type of flooring to another

Granite treated with a high flame to make its natural gradient more visible. It results in rough texture, low sheen and increased percolation

Multicoloured floor made of marble or stone chips embedded in a cement binder, usually poured on site. Available as pre manufactured tiles too

A property of some natural stones which when finely cut, allow light to pass through with a soft, diffused glow

Process of washing tiles with acid and putting them through a machine for a worn and used appearance

A thin layer of cushioning material like sponge, foam or felt laid beneath to even irregularities and provide insulation against sound and moisture

UV cured
Is the use of ultra violet light to bond the molecular structure of the finish. The exposure improves stain resistance and makes it easier to clean as well

Firmly twisted smooth yarn made of long strands of wool and used to make’s not as bad as it sounds

Local Lingo

A carpet

Translates to marble

Simply, floor

Refers to the threshold

Cheeni mitti
Means porcelain

Translates to floor

Simply, surface