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hardwood glossary

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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.


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.


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.


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


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.


A term that describes the fullness of a finishing material.


The adhesion of one material to another.


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.