If you can not find a particular term, please contact our customer service.

The glossary has been designed from the:
CMHC’s Glossary of Housing Terms

Merriam Webster dictionary:

Acoustic membrane

System for reducing the transmission of ambient sound and impact noise.

Amperage (A)

The strength of electric current needed to make a piece of electrical equipment to work.

Anti-fracture membrane (Crack suppression)

System for distributing longitudinal movements of existing and future cracks over a larger area to prevent tile cracking.


The floor of a building which is partly or entirely below ground level that rests on the foundations and supports the load of the walls.


Object placed between the reinforcement bars or rods and the substrate, to maintain their spacing during the setting up of the concrete (ie. brick, chair).


Pressurized container that uses fuel or electricity to heat water to provide, for example, hot water for space heating or domestic hot water production.

Concrete cure

Concrete hardening process under controlled temperature and humidity conditions to promote a continuous chemical reaction and allow it to develop strength and properties.


A mode of heat transfer involving vertical air movement, ascending or descending.


Is a polymer (plastic) derived from more than one species of monomer (molecules used to form polymers).

Crack isolation membrane

System for distributing the longitudinal movements of an existing crack over a larger area to prevent tile cracking.


CSA (The Canadian Standards Association) is a not-for-profit organization working in Canada and internationally to develop standards that address real needs such as improving public health and safety.

Electric heated floor

Radiant electric heating system consisting of low temperature heating elements integrated into the floor.

Electrical Breaker

Electromechanical device instantly interrupting power supply due to overload or short circuit, without damaging the device; serves the same purpose as the fuse, to prevent overheating of an overloaded circuit, but can be reset and does not need to be replaced.

Electromagnetic field

The electromagnetic field (EMF) is an entity that encompasses the magnetic field and the electric field. Electromagnetic fields are produced wherever electrical currents exist. Thus, every time we use household appliances, we expose ourselves to electric and magnetic fields. The intensity of the electromagnetic field is directly proportional to the intensity of the current and decreases exponentially with the distance from the source. The intensity is expressed in milligauss (mG) in North America and in Tesla (T) or micro tesla (μT) in Europe. The electromagnetic field is like an invisible cloud that radiates around any connected electrical device that is in operation.

Engineered wood

Includes a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding strands, particles, fibres or veneers together with adhesives or pressure to form composites which can be cut to size.  

Expanded polystyrene insulation

A lightweight and rigid insulating material formed from pre-expanded polystyrene beads, which are bonded together and molded into insulating panels and other forms such as those used in the construction industry. Since the polystyrene beads are bonded to each other, this material is more permeable to moisture than an extruded polystyrene insulation.

Extruded polystyrene insulation.

Insulating material both lightweight and rigid obtained by extruding polystyrene beads dissolved by a chemical process. The resulting fine and uniform closed-cell structure provides a less moisture-permeable material which offer better insulation per unit thickness than expanded polystyrene.

Floor Tile

These are commonly made of ceramic or natural stone, although recent technological advances have resulted in rubber or glass tile as well.


Material used to finish a floor.


Apparatus for interrupting almost instantaneously an accidental connection between a live electrical installation and earth (short circuit or shock) when the current exceeds a very low fixed value. This device reacts to a dangerous situation before a fuse or circuit breaker, and before a person is injured by the electric shock.

Heat loss

Heat loss is a measure of the total transfer of heat through the fabric or a building from inside and outside that occurs as a result of energy transfer by conduction, radiation, convection and mass transfer (roof, walls, doors, windows …) the calculation of heat losses is used to determine required size of heating installations.

Hot air heating or forced-air heating

Hot air heating or forced air heating is a heating system in which hot air is distributed through ducts supplying the various rooms.

Hydronic heated floor

Radiant heating system with water circulation or a mixture of water and glycol, heated by a boiler which is pumped into a network of pipes integrated into a floor.


The physical force that keeps something in the same position or moving in the same direction.

Insulated concrete slab

Concrete slab on or under which insulation has been installed.

Insulating membrane

A membrane with a thermal resistance (RSI / R) to reduce heat loss between devices.


Material used to insulate, used to prevent the transmission of heat or cold.


A length of timber or steel supporting part of the structure of a building, typically arranged in parallel series to support a floor or ceiling.


Instrument used to measure the insulation resistance of electrical conductors for the purpose of checking the quality.

Monolithic slab

The monolithic slabs are foundation systems constructed in one single concrete pour that consists of a concrete slab with thickened portions of the slab under load bearing walls and perimeter edges that take the place of footers.


Adhesive in thin layer for the installation of tiling composed among others of hydraulic binders (cement), of fine aggregates, with or without polymers.

Mortar bed / screed

A layer of concrete or thin mortar, of suitable composition and finish, intended to improve the surface condition when laying a floor.


A surface decoration made by inlaying small pieces of various material to form pictures or patterns fixed in a grout or other similar material.


Multi-functional calibrated apparatus that is used to measure different quantities related to an electric current. It can be used to measure voltage, amps and resistance across circuits.


Electrical resistance unit. This is the resistance that exists between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference of 1 volt (V), applied between these two points, produces in this conductor a current of 1 ampere (A).


Instrument for measuring the resistance of a component or an electrical circuit. The units of measurement is Ohm, KOhm or MOhm.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

Structural wood panel manufactured by gluing under pressure and at high temperature thin strips of wood in specific orientations.


A type of strong thin wooden board consisting of 2 or more layers glued and presses together with the direction of the grain alternating.

Polished concrete

Concrete surface as a top layer that has been treated to a polished finish.

Polyurethane insulation (spray foam)

Cellular insulating foam containing refrigerant gases (hydrofluorocarbons), which are mixed to forma a rigid, cellular mixture. The resulting materials an extremely lightweight polymer with superior insulating properties.


Transfer of heat from a hot surface to a cooler surface or object by infrared waves.

Radiant heat

A heating system designed to directly transfer radiant energy from a heat source to objects or occupants of the heated space. In homes, radiant heating systems most often have electric cables or hot water pipes arranged in loops inside ceilings, walls or floors.

Radiant heated floor

Floor heating system whose main characteristic is to radiate heat to surrounding objects. The heat can be distributed by electric heating elements, tubing circulating water or a mixture of water and glycol or air.


A steel bar or rod used to reinforce concrete.

Rigid insulation

Generally sheets or panels made from dense polystyrene type of foam.

Sand coat (see also mortar bed)

A thin screed usually consisting of a mixture of sand, cement and water, used to level a substrate and / or coat elements for tiling.

Scratch coat

The first layer of cement or thin set that is scratched to form a bond for the second coat. Cementitious product, composed of expanded metal, woven wire or plastic, which can replace an underlay in a tiling structure.

Self-leveling underlay

Interior floor patching compound consisting of a blend of concrete, fine sand and water. Intended to smooth surfaces on which a floor covering will be installed.

Smooth concrete

Surface profile of concrete allowing the installation of floor coverings or self-leveling underlayment.

Sources of energy

An energy source refers to all the phenomena from which it is possible to remove energy. There are 3 families: electricity, combustion (natural gas, oil, wood), and renewable energies (wind, solar, geothermal)

Structural slab

A structural slab is a concrete slab usually horizontal in building floors, roofs, bridges and other types of structures under which there is a free space.


Wood boards or panels attached to joists prior to laying flooring (carpet, ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum or hardwood flooring)

Supplementary Heat

Heating provided to a room that adds to the minimum heating required for this room, usually controlled from a separate thermostat and designed to maintain the comfort of the occupants.

Thermal mass

Material or materials (ie, wall, concrete floor, water) with the ability to store thermal energy and then emit it by radiation and convection.

Thermal resistance (R, RSI)

Unit precisely measuring the ability of a material to resist heat transmission. The higher this value, the better the resistance of the insulating material to heat transfer (corresponds to the RSI value of the International System of Units and the R value of imperial units of measurement).

Uncoupling membrane

A system with air cavities that neutralizes the longitudinal movement between the subfloor and the tiling to prevent their separation and cracking.

Underwriters Laboratory (UL)

Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is an independent product safety testing, certification and inspection organization. We have tested products for public safety for 100 years and we are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.

Vapor barrier

Thin material of impermeable properties, used as a housing wrap in construction to delay the passage of water vapor.

Volt (V)

An electromotive force unit (the force that maintains an electrical current in a circuit) or a potential difference equal to the electromagnetic field that passes a current of 1 ampere (A) through a conductor having a resistance of 1 ohm (Ω).


Electrical potential difference between two points of an electric circuit. The unit of measurement is the Volt (V).

Watt (W)

Unit of measure of electric power; energy consumed per second by a current of 1 ampere (A) passing through a conductor in which the potential difference is maintained at 1 volt (V).

Wire mesh

Wire mesh made of iron wire of a suitable diameter, crisscrossed to form squares and assembled by welding. Often used to reinforce and shape concrete.


Since its foundation in 1991, FLEXTHERM has been able to maintain its enviable reputation as a floor heating industry leader due to the importance it gives to the quality of the products it manufacturers but also its focus on innovation and customer service. Learn more