Wood Flooring Dictionary



Acclimatise To allow the wood flooring to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the property where it is to be installed.


Adhesive A chemical compound or glue which is used to bond the floor covering to the subfloor.


Antique– A design of flooring which makes the flooring seem aged and traditional.


Anti-Slip FlooringA floor with a particular finish to overcome the problem of people slipping.




Bamboo Flooring Eco-friendly flooring made from Bamboo grass rather than hardwood trees.


Beading A flooring accessory, sometimes known as quarter round, which covers an expansion gap when installing flooring against existing skirting boards.


Bevelled Edge – A groove which runs around the edge of a plank of flooring to allow it to stand out from the planks next to it.


Bowed Flooring – When the hardwood floor does not lie flat.


Brushed – The hardwood floor has been lightly brushed to expose the natural qualities of the wood without causing any damage.  The floor will have a slightly textured finish.




Cleaning The removal of unwanted dirt, dust or water from the surface of your hardwood floor.


Click System A floor fitting system that allows flooring planks to be clicked and locked together.  It is an alternative to the traditional tongue and groove system and is provides of the quickest and easiest ways to fit a floor.


Colour Variations – The slight differences in colour throughout the hardwood flooring, which are present because it is a natural product.


Construction – How the flooring planks have been made.




Damp-Proof Membrane (DPM) A barrier that protects against ground moisture from penetrating the subfloor and/or floor covering.


Delamination – When the veneer or laminate starts to separate from the rest of the floor.


Distressed – The hardwood floor has been intentionally aged by adding some slight imperfections to offer a worn and rustic appearance.


Durability – The ability for a wood floor to withstand conditions without significant change in its appearance.




End Cap A flooring accessory for installing against carpet edges or other low lying interior floors.


End Joint – When two planks of flooring have been joined together at the ends.


Engineered Wood Flooring Flooring made up by bonding multiple layers of wood together and finished with a solid wood top layer (wear layer) of a chosen species of flooring.  The wear layer must be at least 2mm thick otherwise it is classed as veneered flooring.   The base layer, which cannot be seen once installed, is usually plywood.




Filler – A product which is sometimes used to fill any knots or dents in your hardwood floor.


Finger Joint Flooring – Solid pieces of wood joined by cutting rectangular ‘fingers’ on each and gluing together.  The joints are almost invisible and give a rustic effect to the flooring.  It provides longer and wider flooring planks at a more reasonable cost than solid wood flooring.


Finished Floor – A floor that has been finished with either an oil, lacquer or varnish to protect the surface of the flooring from damage and stains.


Fixed Lengths – A hardwood floor that has planks of the same length.


Flexible Flooring Adhesive – Glue that bonds the hardwood floor to the subfloor and allows for some natural movement to take place.


Floating Floor – When the flooring sits on top of an underlay without being secured to the subfloor.   Only engineered flooring can be ‘floated’.  A floating floor is usually necessary with underfloor heating; it allows the floor to expand and contact with the fluctuation in temperature.


Flush Reducer – A flooring accessory that reduces the flooring down to a different level.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – A global organisation dedicated to the responsible management of the world’s forests.  FSC ensure that the harvest of timber maintains the forest’s natural biodiversity and ecological processes, whilst adhering to long term forestry management plans.




Grade – A term used to define the quality, appearance and structural properties of the raw timber flooring.




Hand Scraped –The surface of the hardwood has been scraped by hand to add definition and uniqueness.


Hardwood – Hardwood is mainly from deciduous trees and broad leaf evergreen trees. The wood is dense and has a more complex structurethan softwood, which is the reason they are usually heavier and harder, and ideal for furniture and flooring.


High Density Fibreboard (HDF) – A hardwearing fibreboard made from compressed wood fibres.


Herringbone – A geometric pattern that can be created with parquet block flooring.


High Gloss – A floor with an extremely shiny and glossy surface.


Humidity – The amount of water vapour which is present in the air.




Janka Hardness Scale A scale used tomeasure the hardness of a wood species in comparison to another species. It determines whether a species of wood is suitable to use as flooring.


Joist – Horizontal beams used to construct a floor or ceiling.




Knot – The base of a side branch of a tree.  Knot help to add character and natural charm to wooden floors.




Lacquer A type of finish that can be added to hardwood flooring.  It is smooth to the touch and hard wearing, offering a durable protective layer.  Lacquer is usually available in a matt or semi-matt finish.


Laminate Flooring A picture of wooden flooring laminated onto high density fibreboard.


Levelling Compound A self-levelling product designed for smoothing out or raising subfloors in preparation for wooden floor installation.


Liquid Wax A combination of wax and solvent that is liquid at room temperature.


Loose Laid When a floor is not fixed directly down to the subfloor.  The floor may be ‘floated’ over an underlay.  Only engineered flooring can be loose laid and it is usually a method of installation associated with underfloor heating so that the floor can expand and contract with the temperature changes.


Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) – Vinyl tiles or boards, rather than a roll of vinyl floor covering.  They allow more control over installation and appearance.




Maintenance –The task of looking after your hardwood floor.


Matt – A type of finish  which has a dull and muted appearance.


Moisture Content (MC) The amount of moisture or humidity that is present in a subfloor or floor covering.The MC of the subfloor should be checked before installing any hardwood floor.  If the MC is too high the hardwood floor may expand and contract, causing irreparable damage.


Moisture Meter A meter used to check the amount of moisture present in a subfloor. 




Oiling The process of applying oil to the surface of a hardwood floor to change its appearance.




Parquet Block Flooring A wooden block of flooring with a square edged surface.  Parquet blocks come in standard sizes and many different patterns can be created.


Pipe Cover A flooring accessory that surrounds the base of pipework.


Plywood – A strong, thin wooden board made up of different layers to offer stability.  Plywood can be used to level out a subfloor.  It is also often used as base layers in engineered wood flooring.


Pre-Finished – A hardwood floor that has already been protected with layers of oil, lacquer or varnish. 


Prime Grade – The highest grade of hardwood flooring.  It is uniform in colour and appearance and tends to have less knots.


Profiles – Wood mouldings and accessories which are used to cover any gaps left during installation. 




Quarter Round A flooring accessory, sometimes known as beading, which covers an expansion gap when installing flooring against existing skirting boards.




Ramp A flooring accessory that reduces the flooring down to a lower level.


Rustic Grade – A grade of hardwood flooring that has colour variations along with natural grain patterns and knots.




Sanding A process used to remove the top layer of hardwood flooring.


Scotia A flooring accessory that covers an expansion gap when installing flooring against existing skirting boards.


Screed A sand and cement mixture used on top of a concrete subfloor to create a smooth, level surface so that flooring can be installed.


Secret Nail An installation method usually associated with a timber subfloor.  A nail is fired at a 45 degree angle into the tongue of a T&G board.  The nail is hidden from view and secures the flooring planks to the subfloor.


Secret Screw An installation method usually associated with a timber subfloor.  A screw is angled through the tongue of a T&G plank at 45 degrees, ensuring that it is hidden.  This method secures the flooring planks to the subfloor.


Sheen Level The degree of lustre of the finish of the floor.  Hardwood floors are available with a variety of sheen finishes including: matt, gloss, silk matt and satin.


Skirting A flooring accessory designed to cover a 10mm expansion gap between flooring and wall.


Solid Wood Flooring Flooring made from a solid piece of wood. It is available in random lengths and different thicknesses.


Species The type of tree that a flooring is made from, e.g. Oak or Walnut.


Staining The process of applying a wood stain to change the appearance or colour of the hardwood floor.


Stair Nosing A flooring accessory that covers a 90 degree angle of stair tread.


Subfloor The existing floor in a property.  The most common types of subfloor are: joists, concrete, wooden floor boards, plywood, chipboard, asphalt and bitumen.




T-Moulding A flooring accessory to cover the join between two floors of the same height.


Threshold A flooring accessory used when installing wooden floor over carpet edges and perimeter walls.


Tongue and Groove (T&G) The traditional method of fitting a wooden floor.  The flooring plankshaveone long side and one short side with a machined protruding edge (tongue) and one long side and one short side with a machined rebated edge (groove).  The tongue fits into the groove perfectly creating a smooth, gapless flooring surface.




Under Floor Heating (UFH) A form of central heating installed underneath a floor.  UFH is either an electrical system or hydronic system (fluid flowing in pipes) and usually controlled by a thermostat.


Unfinished Floor -An unfinished floor is the raw material.  It must be sealed with either a lacquer or oil to provide protection against dirt and water spills.


Underlay A cushioned middle layer between the subfloor and the hardwood floor that is usually used for thermal resistance and/or sound proofing.


Urea-Formaldehyde A synthetic resin containing two chemicals: urea and formaldehyde.


UV Oiled Finish – The oil which has been added to protect the floor has been cured under an Ultra Violet (UV) light to give additional strength.




Veneered flooring A high density fibreboard base with a thin (less than 1mm) top layer of real wood, which cannot be sanded.




Warping – When a hardwood floor does not lie flat.  Warping is usually cause by water damage from either the surface of your floor, or from underneath.


Wear layer The solid wood top layer of engineered flooring.


Width – The width of each individual plank of hardwood flooring.


WPVA glue Water resistant adhesive used to bond the tongue and groove joints of engineered or solid flooring.



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