Click icon
click icon following
glossary term for image

hardwood

hardwood glossary

Not looking for hardwood terms visit our main glossary
GO TO
A
Above Grade

Any floor that is above ground level is referred to as above grade.

Abrasion

The wearing away and scuffing of the finish layer of a floor, generally caused by friction from dirt and debris.

Abrasion Resistance

The ability of a flooring surface to resist abrasion when in contact with abrasive materials.

Acclimation

The process of leaving flooring in the area it will be installed for a length of time before installation, allowing it to adapt to the temperature and humidity of the area.

Acid/Acidic

A chemical with a pH rating below 7.

Acrylic Impregnated

A term used to describe wood flooring that is impregnated with acrylic monomers and then polymerized.

Acrylic Resin

A transparent, synthetic resin made by the polymerization of acrylic and methacrylic acid and which is fairly resistant to external contaminates.

Adhesion

The ability of one material to stick to another.

Adsorption

The adhesion of molecules or particles to a surface.

Advanced Decay

Decay of wood or other material in an advanced stage to the point where it becomes structurally unstable.

Air-Dried

Dried by air without the use of special equipment.

Alkaline

A chemical with a pH rating above 7.

Alkaline Cleaner

A cleaner with a pH rating above 9.

All Purpose Cleaner

A cleanser that can be used on almost any type of hard flooring, which is always alkaline and not acidic.

Alligatoring

When a finish cracks into large segments that appear to resemble alligator hide. This is usually caused by applying coating too heavily or over other coatings that have not cured. It can also be caused by using thinners meant to speed drying time or by applying a layer of finish over another layer with less elasticity.

Aluminum Oxide

A type of finish used on hardwood and laminate floors, considered to be the most durable and scratch resistant.

Amber/Ambering

When your wood or finish changes to a yellowish color.

Aniline Dyes

Dyes made from aniline oils or coal tar derivatives and used in wood stains.

Annual Growth Ring

Every year that a tree grows its trunk and branches add a layer of growth marked by a growth ring.

Anti-Slip

A floor with a non-slip finish.

Antique Flooring

Flooring that is removed from old building or houses and sold to be reinstalled and refinished.

Applicator Drag

When your applicator seems to drag when applying an additional coat of finish over another coat that is not completely dry. This can cause marks or streaks.

Applicator Marks or Streaks

Occurs when applying another layer of finish before the first one is completely cured. The applicator is drawn across the uncured finish and drags, leaving marks or streaks.

Asphalt Saturated Felt Paper/Asphalt Paper/Felt Paper

A 15lb paper made of asphalt that meets ASTM Standards and helps to resist moisture transfer.

ASTM

Stands for American Standard Testing Methods, one of the largest international organizations that develops standards for materials, products, systems, and services.

top
B
Base Shoe

Also known as a shoe mold, these moldings are attached to the base molding to cover the expansion gap.

Bastard Sawn

See Rift Sawn

Below Grade

Any floor that is below the level of the ground is referred to as below grade.

Better

See Select

Beveled Edge

A wood flooring term describing the cut of an angle less than 90 on the top edge of the plank or strip. These angled edges form a very deep V-shaped groove when they come together with another beveled edge plank or strip on either side.

Bird's Eye

A character found in rare and expensive cuts of maple where the grain comes together in small circles.

Bleached/White Washed Floors

Wood floors that are lightened in color using wood bleach, white stain, or a combination of both.

Bleed Back

A problem that occurs when stain or finish penetrates too deep, generally in spring wood, which causes it to cure slowly due to lack of air flow. When the environment becomes humid, the cells in the wood take in moisture and expand, forcing the uncured stain through the surface where it forms small droplets.

Bleeding (Hardwood)

When the color of a coating material contaminates other coats.

Blind Nail

A process where a nail is hammered through the tongue of a piece of flooring down into the subfloor, which is then hidden by the groove of the next piece.

Blistering

A condition that occurs when gas or vapor forms under the film of a finishing product causing bubbles or pimples. It is usually due to excessive heat, moisture, or contamination.

Blushing

The appearance of white or grayish formations when using a spirit finish caused by excessive humidity or by use of an incompatible solvent.

Board-Foot

Think of the volume of a piece of wood that is 12" x 12" x 1" or 144 square inches. A board-foot equals that same volume regardless of its surface area. So, a board-foot of a piece of wood that is over 1" thick will have a smaller surface area and you will need more board-feet than you would square feet to cover the same area. If the wood is less than 1" thick it is counted as 1" regardless. This can be confusing to consumers, which is why most flooring is sold by the square feet of the surface area and not by volume or board-feet.

Body

A term that describes the fullness of a finishing material.

Bond

The adhesion of one material to another.

Borders

A design inlayed in the floor which can be simple or intricate and seems create a frame around the floor.

Bow

When a piece of flooring either dips down or up, making it uneven with the rest of the floor.

Brush Marks

Marks left in the finish when it is brushed after it has begun to dry.

Brushability

The ability to apply finish or other material with a brush without leaving brush marks on other uncured layers.

Bubbling

Bubbles in the finish of a floor. These are caused by air entering the finish before it finished curing.

Buckle

When flooring expands from high humidity to the point where it has nowhere to expand any further and buckles upward.

Buffer

A machine used for fine sanding.

Build Coat

When extra coats of a finishing material are applied over the sealer or color to build up the fullness of the finished look.

Build-Up

Areas of a floor that experience less foot traffic and are less worn but are coated with finish as often as other areas. This leaves a buildup of product and often results in a darker appearance.

Bull Nosing

A molding applied to the front of stairs and landings, used to create a rounded finish.

Burl

A natural characteristic of wood where the grain appears to swirl or twist but does not contain a knot.

Burnishing

Fine sanding with speeds in excess of 2000 RPM.

Butt Joint

The end of a plank or strip where it joins together with the end of another plank or strip.

top
C
Catalyst

A product added to some finishes to make them more durable.

Chatter Marks

Ripple effects on a floor's surface caused by an improperly operated or maintained sanding machine.

Check

A separation of wood running lengthwise that usually results from stress during drying.

Checking

When a finish cracks into small segments that appear to resemble alligator hide. This is usually caused by applying coating too heavily or over other coatings that have not cured. It can also be caused by using thinners meant to speed drying time or by applying a layer of finish over another layer with less elasticity.

Chipboard

Chipboard is a type of paperboard used for subfloors. It has a low density and is not usually recommended for glue-down installations.

Chipping

A problem caused by poor elasticity or adhesion to the base material where the film of the finishing material chips off in flakes.

Clam Shell Reducer Clear

See Reducer Strip/Reducer

Cleat

A barbed fastener commonly used to fasten hardwood flooring to the subfloor.

Cohesion

The ability of a coating to hold together to itself, also referred to as an inward force.

Color Change

The lightening or darkening of the color of flooring due to exposure to light, a chemical reaction, or deprivation of light and air.

Compression Se

A condition where a piece of wood expands so much that it crushes cells in an adjoining piece, causing it to lose strength and crack.

Coniferous

See Softwoods

Conversion Varnish

See Swedish Finish

Countersink

To hammer a nail or screw in a screw so that it sits beneath the surface of the floor.

Coverage

A measurement that describes the square feet of surface area a gallon of product will cover.

Craters

Bubbles in the surface of a finish that have popped but not leveled, leaving a crater-like effect.

Crazing

Small cracks or checks that interlace in the surface of a finishing product.

Crook

When a board deviates from being in a straight line.

Cross Direction

Composition of material where each layer is laid perpendicular to the material below.

Cross-Ply Construction

A method of construction where layers of wood are stacked in a "cross-grain" pattern, with each plank stacked in the opposite direction of the piece below. This makes the wood more resistant to expansion and contraction.

Cross-Pull

A problem that can occur at an end joint where the ends pull in opposite directions.

Crowfooting

A type of crystallization where the lines join together at a centralized point.

Crowning

A condition where individual strips or planks of flooring will appear convex where the center is raised above the edges.

Cupping

A condition where individual strips or planks of flooring will appear concave with the edges raised above the center.

Cure

A term that is used when properties of an adhesive are changed by a chemical reaction which allows it to reach its maximum strength. This is generally done by condensation, heat, or another catalyst.

Custom Floors

When a floor is ordered to your exact specifications including species, finish, and design.

Cut

When sanding a floor, each time a floor is passed over with a sanding machine it is called a cut.

top
D
Decay

Decomposing of wood or other material.

Deciduous

Hardwood trees that are considered angiosperms. They produce seeds that have a covering such as apple or acorn seeds and lose their leaves in cold weather.

Delamination

A term that refers to the failure in the adhesive of laminate flooring which causes separation in the layers.

Diffuse - Porous Woods

A type of hardwood with pores that are uniform and equally distributed throughout each annual ring or get gradually smaller toward the outer border of the ring.

Digs

Another term for gouges made by an edger.

Dimensional Stability

Refers to the structural integrity of flooring and its ability to maintain its original dimensions.

Dispersed

A term referencing the solid material in finishing products that are finely divided or colloidal in nature.

Distressed

A texture applied to wood to give it a worn and antique look. It is gouged or scraped by hand or by machine.

Door Jam Saw

A tool that is used to cut a portion of the door casing off, allowing the flooring to fit underneath.

Drier

A material often made of organic salts of manganese, cobalt, lead, zinc or iron, which speeds the drying of oil or varnish.

Drum Sander

A floor sander similar to a lawn mower pushed along the floor's open areas.

Dry Tack–Free

See Dry to Touch

Dry Time

The amount of time it takes a finish or other product to become solid enough to apply another coat.

Dry to Sand

The amount of time it takes a finish or other flooring product to solidify enough to the point where it can be properly sanded.

Dry to Touch

When the film of a finishing material has dried to the point where it can be lightly touched without leaving a mark or sticking to fingers.

Dry Wall

A material generally used to cover walls and ceilings. It comes in sheets or panels and generally consists of gypsum between two heavy layers of paper.

Drying

The process of a liquid becoming a solid through evaporation, oxidation, polymerization or a combination of these.

Durability

Refers to the ability of a floor to withstand destruction.

Dust

Tiny particles of matter that settle to the floor. Also a name for a grading or size of natural resin.

Dust–Free

When a finishing product has dried sufficiently to the point where dust that settles on the surface will not stick.

top
E
Eased Edge

A wood flooring term which describes the cut of a 45 angle on the top edge of a plank or strip. This forms a small V shaped groove when one plank or strip comes together with another eased edge plank or strip on either side. It forms a slightly smaller groove than a beveled edge.

Edge Sander/Edger

Small hand sander that sands the areas close to the wall and around pipes and other obstacles that are missed by a drum sander.

Emulsion

A term used to describe liquids that will not combine such as water and oil.

End Matched

A tongue and groove system used on the ends of strips and planks so that when butted together, the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the next piece.

End-Joint

The end of a plank or strip where it joins together with the end of another plank or strip.

Engineered Flooring

Engineered Flooring Wood flooring that is made from multiple layers of wood put together in a "cross-grain" format under high pressure. This helps each plank resist expansion and contraction due to moisture and temperature changes. Engineered wood flooring is much more stable than solid wood flooring.

Epoxy Ester

Epoxy Ester A combination of varnish and epoxy creating a hybrid with the advantages of both.

Equilibrium Moisture Content

Equilibrium Moisture Content The ideal moisture content at which wood will not intake or expel moisture.

Exotic

A term used to describe woods that are rare, difficult to find, and often imported from around the world. They are often very dense species of wood.

Expansion

The ability of a floor to intake moisture which causes it to expand.

Expansion Gap

A space left around the perimeter of the room and other obtrusions such as pipes and built in cabinets that allows for the movement and expansion of the flooring.

Expansion Spacing

Spaces placed between every two or three feet of flooring to allow it to expand and contract with changes to humidity and temperature.

Expansion Voids

Areas where no flooring or subfloor is installed to provide space for movement.

top
F
Fading

See Color Fading

Feather Edge

An edge that starts thick and becomes gradually thinner to a point.

Feature Strip

A design feature similar to borders that are used as accents to enhance flooring.

Fiber Saturation Point

When drying or wetting wood, the stage in which the cell walls are full of water and the cell cavities are free of water.

Fiberboard

A broad term used to describe a material made from wood and other vegetable fibers that are glued together with heat and pressure. There are different levels of density and strength known as low, medium, or high density.

Figure

The natural characteristics of wood such as the grain, rays, knots, and other markings.

Filler

Any compound used to fill in holes and irregularities in the surface of wood.

Fillets

See Slats

Film

A protective coating which generally adds sheen to the floor and protects it. When finish dries, the layer that rises to the top is called the film.

Finger

See Slats

Finish

A coating applied to the surface of a wood floor to provide protection.

Finish in Place

See Unfinished Wood Floor

Fire Resistance

A term used to describe the ability of flooring to withstand fire.

Fire Retardant

A chemical used to make a floor more fire resistant.

Fish Eyes

A problem that occurs when applying finish on a contaminated wood surface, which causes the finish to recede away from the area and fail to coat it. This forms round areas that lack finish. It is also referred to as crawling, cratering, or flow marks.

Flag

A natural characteristic of wood, described as a dark mineral streak that is shaped similar to a banner.

Flag Worm Hole

A natural wood characteristic described as one or more worm holes surrounded by a mineral streak.

Flame Spread

The spreading out of a flame away from the source of ignition across the surface of a liquid, solid, or gaseous mixture.

Flat Finish

A finish that lacks luster.

Flatting Agent

A solution added to a coating to reduce luster and produce a flat finish.

Flecks

A term used to describe wide and irregular graining patterns in Quartersawn flooring.

Floating Floor Installation

A common flooring installation method where the floor floats on an underlayment and is hooked together in a tongue and groove mechanism. Glue is sometimes used in the seams of the tongue and groove, but the flooring is not attached to the subfloor. It is held down around the perimeter of the wall by the base molding

Flow

The ability of a coating to spread into a smooth and flat surface before hardening.

Ford Cup

A device which measures the viscosity of a liquid that was originally used by Ford Motor Company. It consists of a cup that holds a specific amount of a liquid which is emptied through a standardized hole in the bottom. Viscosity is measured by the amount of time it takes the cup to empty.

top
G
Gloss

The ability of a surface to reflect or shine.

Gloss Meter

A device used to measure the gloss of a surface.

Glossing Up

Increasing the glossiness of a floor by rubbing with friction or by using a product.

Glue-less Floating Installation

A type of floating installation that does not require any glue. The boards are locked together with a tongue and groove mechanism and are held down by the baseboard but not attached to the subfloor.

Glued Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring that requires the use of glue in its installation.

Grade

A system for classifying the amount of natural characteristics allowed in a piece of wood. Most common grades are known as clear, select or better, common (No. 1 and No. 2), tavern grade, and cabin grade (also know as country and utility).

Grain Raise

A condition where surface fibers in wood rise due to moisture in the application of finish.

Graininess

Graininess The appearance of grainy particles in a finishing material.

Graining

The appearance of the grain in a piece of wood that is determined by the way it is cut.

Groove

In a tongue and groove installation, the groove is cut out of the side of the piece of flooring to allow the tongue of the adjacent piece to fit in.

top
H
Hand Scraped

Hand-scraped wood is grooved or scraped by a machine or by hand to add texture and a unique feel to the surface of the floor.

Hardness

The ability of a flooring to withstand denting or marks when pressure is exerted.

Hardwood

Wood that comes from deciduous trees that are also considered angiosperms. The term refers to trees that produce seeds that have a covering such as apple or acorn seeds and lose their leaves in cold weather. The term has nothing to do with the hardness of the wood, although they tend to be more durable than softwoods.

Healthy Knot

A knot in wood which does not contain bark or rot.

Heartwood

The wood found in the center of the tree that is more mature and usually darker and richer than the exterior wood.

Heavy Streaks

Sufficient spots and streaks large enough to negatively affect the appearance of the wood.

Herringbone

Plank or strip wood floors that are installed in different symmetrical patterns, creating a unique design.

High Solid

A term used to describe liquid with a higher than average amount of solid ingredients.

High-Density Fireboard (HDF)

A high-strength material made of very compact wood fibers and resins that is used in the cores of flooring.

Honey Combing

Checks that are usually found in the interior of a piece of wood along the wood rays.

Humidity

A measuring of the amount of moisture in the air.

Hygrometer

A device used to measure humidity of an area.

Hygroscopic

Refers to substances such as wood that absorb or expel moisture, making them expand and contract.

top
I
Impact Test

A test which involves dropping a weight onto dried finish to determine at what impact the film shatters.

Incipient Decay

Decay of wood or other materials in an early stage which has not yet begun to impair the structural stability of the wood.

Incompatible

A term used to describe liquids that cannot be mixed together without impairing the original properties.

Intensity

A description of the purity of degree of hue a color has.

Intumesce

The process of expanding from application of heat to provide a low density film.

top
J
Janka Hardness Rating

The Janka Hardness Rating applies to both engineered and solid wood flooring and measures the amount of force needed to push a steel ball into the wood to a depth of half the ball's diameter. The higher the Janka Hardness Rating, the more durable and resistant to damage the floor generally is.

Job Finished

Refers to floors that are installed and then finished rather than being finished at a factory.

Joint Staggering

The act of installing flooring so that the joints are staggered and do not meet each other side by side.

Jointed Flooring

Flooring that has no tongue or grove and is usually end-matched, which makes replacing strips easier.

Joist

Parallel beams below the subfloor used to support floors and ceilings.

top
K
Kauri

A gum like resin that is used in the making of enamel and varnish.

Kauri Butanol Valve

A measure of the solvency power of petroleum thinners.

Kiln

A hollow chamber for drying wood that has a controlled air flow, temperature, and humidity.

Kiln Dried

Wood that is dried in a kiln using artificial heat.

Knot (Hardwood)

A natural characteristic in wood that is formed from a branch joining the truck of the tree. It is round, hard, and usually darker in color.

Kraft Paper

A very thick and heavy paper, also called Rosin Paper, which is often used for an underlayment or to make patterns for the layout of a floor.

top
L
Lacquer

A solution that cures very quickly and is often used as a sealer, which may be incompatible with some stains and topcoats. It contains nitrocellulose and is very flammable.

Lambs Wool Applicator

A tool used to apply finish to a large area that is made of lamb's wool.

Laminate

A type of high density flooring that gives the appearance of hardwood, ceramic tile, stone or even brick. It generally consists of a moisture barrier, a layer of high density fiberboard with a very high resolution image, and a very durable, clear layer of resin-coated cellulose.

Laminated Wood

Laminated Wood - A type of high density flooring that gives the appearance of hardwood. It is made similar to regular laminate but uses a thin piece of real wood instead of a high resolution image in its top layer.

Lap

A verb which means to lay or place a coat so it covers the edge of a previous coat, causing an increased thickness.

Leveling

The ability of a liquid to flow so that the surface becomes flat, level, and free of bumps.

Long Strip Plank

A type of engineered floor that has several smaller strips of wood glued together on one core to create the look of a board that is three rows wide and several planks long.

top
M
M. S. D. S.

Stands for Material Safety Data Sheet, a required sheet that lists any hazardous ingredients, safety precautions, and first aid information that a consumer should know about a product.

Manufacturing Defects

Refers to defects that occur during production, not natural blemishes. For example, incorrectly sized boards, improperly squared edges, high moisture content upon arrival, chipped grain, machine burn, and so on.

Mastic

Mastic A general term that refers to a glue or adhesive.

Mechanic

A term generally used to describe someone who professionally installs flooring.

Medallion (Hardwood)

An artistic centerpiece of a floor that is often used in parquet flooring.

Medullary Rays

A visible characteristic in wood consisting of strips of cells running horizontally up and down the tree, which were used to store and transport the tree's food and nutrients.

MFMA

Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association

Micro-V

A V-shaped groove formed by cutting the edge of a strip of wood at a 90 angle and then at a 45 angle.

Milky

A term used to describe a substance that looks white or similar to milk.

Mill

The act of cutting wood into strips, planks, or other desired shape.

Mineral Spirits

A solvent often used to clean dried glue or other stubborn stains.

Mineral Streak

A streak found in wood that can range from black to greenish brown that is a result of mineral matter buildup from the flow of sap.

Mixed Media

A type of flooring that is mostly wood but incorporates other materials such as ceramic, marble, slate, stone, etc.

Moisture Content

A measuring of the amount of moisture in wood or other flooring. It is calculated as a percentage of the weight of the dry wood.

Moisture Meter

A device used to measure the moisture level in flooring.

Moisture-Cured

Finish that is cured by contact with moisture.

Moldings

Trims that are used to cover the expansion gap or to transition to another flooring surface.

Mosaic Parquet

A type of parquet flooring that forms a mosaic by using small pieces of wood and arranging them in a herringbone design.

Muratic Acid

An acid often used on concrete subfloors to neutralize alkalinity.

top
N
Nail Down

An installation method where flooring is nailed to the subfloor.

Neutral Cleaner

A cleaner that has a pH close to 7 which is neither acidic nor alkaline.

NOFMA

National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association.

Nominal Size

The size in which flooring is sold, though the actual size of the product may be slightly longer.

Nonvolatile

The portion of a substance that does not evaporate and is left behind once the volatiles are evaporated.

Nosing

A molding applied to the front of stairs and landings used to create a rounded finish.

NWFA

National Wood Flooring Association

top
O
Oil

A type of varnish that has urethane in it.

On-Grade

A term used to describe a subfloor that sits level with the surface of the ground.

Open Grain

A problem that results when finish absorbs into an area of softer grain instead of forming a hard film on top which can be fixed by applying an additional coat of finish.

Orange Peel

A term used to describe the appearance a finish takes on when a rolling brush is rolled or air is blown across finish that has partially cured, leaving marks that look similar to an orange peel.

Oriented Strand Board

A type of underlayment material, also known as OSB, that is composed of strands of wood laid in a specific way to increase strength.

OSB

See Oriented Strand Board

Overwood

A problem that arises when flooring is installed over an uneven subfloor, resulting in some planks or strips rising higher than others and creating an uneven surface.

top
P
Parquet

A type of wood floor made from combining small pieces of wood in different patterns.

Parquet Floor Square

Parquet flooring pieces that are fastened to form a tile.

Parquet Floor Units

Parquet flooring that consists of three or more tiles fastened together.

Particleboard

A generic term for a panel composed of wood and other vegetable material bound together with glue and pressure. Includes flakeboard, a type of particleboard made of flakes of material, oriented strand board, a type of particleboard made of strand-type flakes of material arranged to add maximum durability to the panel, and waferboard, a type of particle board made of wafer-like flakes.

Peeled Veneer

A way of manufacturing the top layer of engineered wood flooring where the log is peeled to produce a thin layer of wood.

Peeling

A problem where the dried film of a finish comes loose in flakes or sheets.

Penetrating Stains

Stains that have penetrated into wood or other flooring surface.

Petroleum Spirits

See Mineral Spirits

pH Value

A scale used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a material, which is determined by the amount of hydrogen ion. A pH rating over 7 is considered alkaline, below 7 is considered acidic and 7 is considered neutral.

Photo–Sensitive

The sensitivity of a material that causes it to get lighter or darker when exposed to light.

Pigment

Very small solid particles of color used in products such as paint or enamel.

Pigment Stains

Stains created by combining volatile thinners with pigment.

Pilot Hole

A hole drilled to accommodate a screw or nail, which helps prevent splitting of the wood.

Pin Holes/Pin Lines

Tiny holes or lines in finish caused by finish sinking into low or less dense areas, which can be corrected by applying an additional coat of finish.

Pin Knot

A knot that is less than " in diameter.

Pin Worm Hole

A small hole in wood made from the boring of an insect that does not exceed 1/16" in diameter.

Pith

A word used to describe the softer area of the core in the center of a trunk or branch.

Plainsawn

A method of sawing where wood is cut so that the annual growth rings make an angle of less than 45 with the surface producing a pleasing pattern.

Planer Bite

A term used to describe cuts made too deeply by a planer knife.

Plank

Flooring boards that are usually 3" to 8" wide and are usually installed in parallel rows.

Plugs

Small pegs that are used to cover nails or screws that have been countersunk or are used to simulate a Colonial American flooring look.

Plywood

Boards constructed in cross-directional layers which provide more dimensional stability.

Pneumatic fastener

Similar to a manual fastener, you use a rubber mallet to apply pressure to the springs in order to drive the staple or nails into the floor. The big difference is that you don't have to apply a lot of pressure to the equipment because you're assisted by an air compressor.

Polyurethane

Several units of urethane chemically joined together which is able to solidify.

Polyurethane

The most common type of finish that is very durable, has care free maintenance, and is available in water based or oil based formulas.

Powdering

When finish or other materials are disintegrated to the point where they become a fine powder.

Prefinished

Flooring that is finished completely before being sold to a consumer, which requires no sanding or finishing after installation.

top
Q
Quartersawn

A method of sawing wood which results in the growth rings of the wood forming a 45-90 angle with the surface of the piece.

top
R
Radiant Heat

Also known as in-floor heating, the term refers to a heating system which uses hot water that runs through tubes ran under the subfloor. This gives the floor a warm feeling when walked on.

Raised Grain

A natural characteristic of wood in which the face appears roughened but not torn where dense summerwood has raised above the softer springwood.

Random Width

Flooring that comes in several different widths in the same box.

Rays

See Medullary Rays

Re-Sanding

The act of sanding down to bare wood in order to refinish it.

Reclaimed Lumber

Flooring that is made from trees that have been underwater for about 100 years, giving this lumber a unique, inconsistent color.

Reclaimed Trees

Trees that have been underwater for about 100 years that are brought up and milled for flooring.

Recoat

Applying a coat of finish over another for added protection.

Reducer Strip/Reducer

A molding accessory normally used at doorways and fireplaces or to divide a room that is grooved on one edge and tapered on the other.

Refinish/Refinishing

The act of sanding a finished floor and apply a new layer of finish.

Relative Humidity

A ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air to the amount it would have if it was completely saturated at the same temperature.

Retarder

A solvent that slows the drying of lacquers and other materials.

Rift Sawn

A method of sawing also known as bastard sawn, where the annual rings form an angle of 30 to 60 with the surface of the piece, giving it a uniform cut and stability.

Ring

A type of nail that has rings on the shaft to improve its holding characteristics.

Ring Porous

A term used to describe trees where the pores are larger at the start of each growth ring and smaller at the end of each growth ring. The large pores make springwood and the small pores make summerwood.

Rotary Cut

A method of cutting wood where it is soaked in a solution then peeled into very thin layers using a rotary saw. This method can possibly alter the color of the natural wood and cause it to splinter.

top
S
Sand Screen

A product used with a buffer to sand a wood floor before sealing or recoating. It ranges from 40-240 grit which is very fine to very coarse.

Sand Screening

A process of using a buffer and a sand screen, which can be very coarse or very fine, to sand a wood floor before sealing or recoating.

Sapwood

A term used to describe the wood that is toward the outside of the tree and is usually lighter in color than the wood on the inside.

Satin

A finish that appears to have a soft sheen.

Sawn

The method in which planks or strips are milled from wood.

Sawn Veneer

Refers to the surface of an engineered wood floor that has been sawn rather than peeled. These veneers are more stable and can often be refinished more times.

Scratch

Indentations or breaks caused by abrasive friction.

Screen and Coat.

A process of resurfacing the floor where it is lightly sanded and a new coat of finish is applied.

Scuff Mark

The scratch-like damage that occurs from walking without lifting your feet or sliding objects across the floor.

Sealer

A coat that is applied to the surface of a floor before applying additional coats of finish, which prevents them from being absorbed into the flooring itself.

Sealer-Wax Finish

A finish that is made of a sealer, usually varnish, combined with a wax.

Select

A grade of wood flooring that has a small amount of knots and mineral streaking, but may include sapwood.

Separation

When two or more parts of a mixture are broken up into their individual parts.

Settling

When pigment or another solid ingredient separates from the film of a finish or other material and settles to the bottom.

Shade

Used to refer to the degree of darkness or lightness of a color. Often described as light, medium or dark shade.

Shake

A condition which occurs between annual growth rings where the grain will separate.

Sheathing

A covering placed over the exterior studding or rafters in a structure.

Sheen (Hardwood)

The amount of luster a surface has.

Shellac

A finishing product made from resins excreted from the Lac Beetle. As a word of caution, it may become tacky in very humid area and lacks abrasion resistance, and may water spot.

Side–Matched

A tongue and groove system used on the sides of strips and planks so that when butted together, the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the next piece.

Skin

The film that rises to the surface when a finishing material dries.

Slats

Small pieces of wood that are laid together in simple or intricate designs to form Parquet flooring.

Sleeper

Usually a 2" x 4" glued to a concrete subfloor, which a subfloor or new flooring is then nailed to.

Sliced Cut

One of several methods of cutting a piece of wood flooring, which tends to show a more uniform grain pattern. This method requires that the wood is presoaked, which can alter the natural color and also cause it to splinter.

Slip Resistance

A measurement of the frictional resistance of an object from moving across a surface.

Slip-Tongue

A small strip inserted in a groove when the installer wants to reverse the direction of the wood they are installing. This results in two grooves butting up and this strip acts as a tongue for both grooves.

Small Knot

A knot less than "- ¾" in diameter.

Softwood

Softwoods are coniferous trees that are considered gymnosperms and they produce seeds that do not have a covering and keep their leaves year round, such as pine trees. The term does not relate to the hardness of the wood, although they do tend to be softer than hardwoods.

Solid Board Group 1

Solid Board Group 1 A group of wood species known to be very strong and stiff.

Sound Knot

When wood is parallel to the long axis of a knot, elongating it.

Species

Refers to a variety of wood. For example, red oak, maple, and ash are species.

Split

A condition in which wood fiber separates parallel to the grain.

Square Edge

A square-shaped edge that does not contain a tongue or groove.

Square Joint

Flooring that does not have a beveled or eased edge.

Squares

A term generally used in parquet flooring, meaning a unit of smaller pieces of wood bonded together.

Squaring Up

The act of making sure the first row of flooring is parallel and perpendicular to the walls to ensure that the rest of the flooring is as well.

Stability

The ability of an object to not have a reaction to forces or other variations applied to it.

Stain

A transparent or semitransparent product that changes the color of wood but does not affect the texture or markings.

Staining.

The act of applying a transparent or semitransparent product that changes the color of wood but does not affect texture or markings.

Stapled Down

A flooring installation method that used staples to affix the flooring to the subfloor.

Stop Mark

A mark left on the floor as a result of a drum or belt sander being left too long without moving.

Streaks

See Mineral Streaks

Strip Flooring

Flooring sold in various thickness and widths, which is usually less than 3" wide.

Stud

A piece of wood used as a support.

Subfloor

The base floor of a structure on top of which the flooring is installed. Typically this is wood or concrete.

Surface

The exterior layer of flooring. This is the area that you see and walk on.

Surface Drying

When a coating dries on top but may still be soft inside.

Surface Tension

A property of the surface of a liquid that causes it to behave as an elastic membrane.

Swedish Finish

A finish usually applied after installation that contains an acid curing conversion varnish. This type of finish is very stain, water and spot resistant.

top
T
Tack Rag

A cloth used alone or with a solution to clean up dust from sanding.

Tack–Free

Means a surface can be lightly touched without leaving a mark or sticking to fingers.

Tacky

A term used to describe a surface that is not yet able to be touched without leaving a residue on your fingers or an imprint in the surface.

Tannin

The chemical contained in wood that produces its color.

Tensile Strength

The ability to resist pulling stresses usually from expansion and contraction of the floor.

Thermoplastic

A material that softens when heated and hardens when cooled.

Tint

A shade of color that is produce by adding a color to white paint or enamel.

Tongue

See Tongue and Groove

Tongue & Groove (T&G)

A process where one side of a plank or strip has a groove cut out and the other side has a tongue extending out. When the two sides fit together they form a unit.

Tri Sodium Phosphate

A product used to remove contaminates from the surface of flooring.

Trowel

A tool used to spread filler over an entire floor or large area.

Truss

A flooring joist system.

Tung Oil

A type of oil-based finish that penetrates wood, giving it a hand rubbed look when applied in multiple coats. It also slightly ambers the wood.

top
U
Ultraviolet

A ray of light that is outside the visible spectrum at its violet end. This often causes flooring to become lighter or darker, and is sometimes used to cure a finish.

Undercoats

Coats applied under the finishing coats.

Unfinished

A type of flooring that is sanded and finished after installation.

Unfinished Wood Floor

Wood flooring that is sanded and finished after installation. These are able to be sanded even when subfloors are uneven.

Uniclic Joint

Glue-less tongue and groove joint system patented by Unilin Decor of Belgium, in which the lower lip puts pressure on the tongue, holding it in place.

Units

A term generally used for Parquet flooring to describe three or more squares bond together.

Urethane

A synthetic chemical structure.

UV–Cured Polyurethane

Polyurethane that is cured by using ultraviolet light.

top
V
V-Joint

A term used to describe the V-shaped groove made from two eased or beveled edges coming together.

V.O.C.

V.O.C. - Volatile Organic Compounds, a measurement of solvents that are not water in a product.

Vapor Barrier

A layer of material that is applied between the floor and subfloor which prevents the migration of moisture.

Vapor Retarder

Foil, plastic, specialty paper, or other material which is used to control the migration of moisture.

Varnish

A solution made of either natural or synthetic oils, used as a sealer.

Viscosity

The ability of a fluid to resist flow.

top
W
Warping

When a piece of flooring deviates from the surface of the flooring.

Water-Based/Water Borne Finishes

Finishes made by suspending solids in water.

Wax

A resinous substance used in polishes and other products, made from materials which are plant or animal in origin and are not water soluble.

Wear Layer

The layer on top of the core in wood flooring that can be sanded and refinished to make the floor appear new again.

Wear Resistance

The ability of a surface to withstand wear from normal traffic.

Wiping Stain

A type of stain that is applied then wiped off with a cloth to remove any excess stain.

Wire Brushing

A method used to give a piece of flooring a distressed look by brushing the surface with a wire brush.

Wood Filler

See Filler

top
Y
Yellowing

See Ambering.

top
GO TO

>