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hardwood glossary

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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.


See Medullary Rays


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.