<<< Return to Learn
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W
Above grade refers to any level of the house that is at least 18 inches above the ground, or surface of the earth. These levels are not prone to absorbing ground moisture and compatible with all types of flooring.
Acclimation is the process of having your floor get used to the conditions (or climate) of house. This means giving the flooring time to adjust to the temperature and humidity of home before it's even installed.
Average length implies that the flooring is constructed with random length planks and is determined based on the minimum and maximum lengths.
Average width implies that the flooring is constructed with random width planks and is determined based on the minimum and maximum widths.
A baseboard, or wall base, is the molding that covers the seam along the lower permiter of the wall, covering the expansion gap along a finished floor.
Below grade refers to the level of a building that is below ground level, below the surface of the earth, such as a basement or the lower level of a split-level house.
A beveled edge is a pronounced groove in between flooring planks that mimic how hardwood flooring was traditionally finished.
A click-lock flooring is one created with interlocking planks that allows for floating installation, typically associated with laminate and vinyl flooring products.
Curbside delivery service means that your items will be delivered to the curb at the end of your driveway. This is typical of unusually large and heavy products that require semi-truck with a lift gate.
Dimensional Stability defines a material's ability to remain uniform when the exposed to changes in temperature and humidity. Material that is able to maintain its original dimensions without warping, cupping, buckling, etc., when exposed to changes in its environment is described as having good dimensional stability.
Edge type is defined as the way the sides and ends of flooring planks are cut -- ie: "straight edge," or "beveled edge"
An end cap is a type of molding that is used to finish off a flooring and transition between two floors of different heights.
Engineered Hardwood is constructed of a real hardwood veneer on top of an engineered core backing of layers of plywood. Engineered hardwood is designed to be more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood and is known for its ability to resist contracting or expanding due to changes in temperature and humidity.
Expansion gap refers to the space left around the perimeter of a room while a floor is fitted and being installed. The purpose of an expansion gap is to give the flooring space to expand and contract due to changes in temperature and humidity. Expansion gaps are then hidden using molding and trim such as a wall base or a quarter round.
Fiberboard is an engineered wood product composed of wood fibers, combined to form panels under immense pressure and high temperatures. Types of fiberboard include Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) and High Density Fiberboard (HDF).
A floating floor describes a floor that is installed using an interlocking system called a "click-lock," without being bonded to the subfloor. Laminate flooring, vinyl flooring, and types of engineered hardwood fall under this category.
Flooring grade, also refered to as manufacturer's grade, is based on a floors' natural characteristics. Characteristics that affect flooring grade include color variation, mineral streaks, and presence of knots or worm holes. For example, A-grade flooring has a very low degree of aesthetic variation while ABCD-grade flooring features a more "rustic" look with a high degree of aesthetic variation.
Flush in relation to flooring refers to a level, even transition between two pieces.
Gloss level describes level of sheen and luster of a floor's surface. Hardwood floor gloss levels can be defined as matte, satin, low-gloss, semi-gloss, and glossy.
Glue Down Installation
Glue down describes a method of flooring installation where flooring planks are glued directly onto the subfloor. Glue down installation is a recommended method for solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.
A handscraped surface, also referred to as distressed, has been "scraped" and sculpted for added definition and texture, then sealed with either a UV lacquer or urethane finish for protection and comfort. Handscraped style flooring is a more traditional style with a timeless and antique feel, typically seen in solid hardwood.
IIC, Impact Insulation Class, describes a materials' sound insulation properties, defined by a lab test that determines the amount of impact noise or how well the product reduces the sound of footfall, chair drag, cutlery drop etc. The higher the IIC rating, the better the sound insulation. An IIC rating of 50 or more is considered a good level of insulation and typically the minimum for building associations.
Installation grades defines on the level of the home that the flooring can be installed in. Solid hardwood is approved for on and above grade installation, while engineered hardwood and vinyl plank flooring is approved for on, above, and below grade (basement-level) installation.
Janka Hardness Scale
The Janka Hardness test tests the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear by using a steel ball to determine the relative hardness of a domestic or exotic wood species. Wood species that meet a certain Janka Hardness Rating threshold are deemed suitable for flooring.
Moisture barrier, also referred to as a vapor barrier, is a thin sheet of plastic that is designed to block moisture that may creep up through a crawl space or subfloor.
Moldings or trim are used in a number of ways in conjunction with your flooring, as finishing touches to your flooring installation. Examples of floor moldings include wall bases, quarter rounds, T-moldings, end caps, reducers, and stair noses.
Multi-ply refers to a manufactured core type that is constructed out of layers of plywood that are criss-crossed in different directions to maximize stability, uniformity, and resistance of natural wood expansion and contraction.
Nail Down Installation
Nail down describes a method of flooring installation that involves using nails or staples to fasten the flooring planks to the subfloor. Nail down installation is a recommended method for solid hardwood and engineered hardwood.
On grade describes the ground level of a home or building.
Plain Sawn Wood
Plain sawn refers to one method of cutting lumber during flooring production. Plain sawn, also referred to as flat sawn, is when cuts are made tangent or parallel to the circumference of the log. This method yields the least amount of waste relative to quarter sawn and rift sawn processes and creates a "cathedral", or narrow U-shaped, grain pattern on the face of the wood.
Plywood is an incredbily sturdy, widely versatile, wood structural panel that consists of layers of veneer sheets, cross-laminated and bonded with adhesive under extreme heat and pressure.
A quarter round is a type of molding that is used to cover the expansion gap used during flooring installation, along the perimeter of a room between the flooring and the wall.
Quarter Sawn Wood
Quarter sawn refers to one method of cutting lumber during flooring production. Quarter sawn refers to cuts that are made at angles that range between 45 to 90 degrees. This method results in a grain pattern on the face of the wood that runs parallel to plank edges.
Radiant heating is an HVAC technology that provides heating through the surfaces of a home. Radiant heating floor systems can be hydronic or electric. Hardwood floors that are compatible with radiant heating floor systems include engineered hardwood and vinyl plank flooring.
Random length refers floor boards of varying lengths, determined during the manufacturing process.
Random width refers floor boards of varying widths, determined during the manufacturing process.
A reducer is a type of molding that is used to provide a subtle, seamless transition between two floors of different heights.
Refinishing wood floor involves sanding down the uppermost layer of the floor and applying fresh stain and lacquer over the existing wood.
Rift Sawn Wood
Rift sawn refers to one method of cutting lumber during flooring production. Rift sawn, also referred to as straight grain, is when cuts are made perpendicular to the growth rings. This method yields the highest amount of waste relative to quarter sawn and plain sawn processes and creates a consistent straight grain look, parallel to the long edges of flooring planks.
Solid hardwood is made from 100% authentic wood throughout its thickness. It can be constructed from a number of species and is one of the most sustainable and renewable construction materials out there. Furthermore, as one of the most durable flooring types, solid hardwood can be repurposed a number of times throughout its lifespan and last generations.
A stair nose is a type of molding that is installed at the front edge of a stair tread, designed to protect stair edges from damage, provide a smooth surface transition, and offer additional space for improved safety.
STC or Sound Transmision Class evaluates the effectiveness of a specific construction assembly to reduce airborne sounds such as voices, music, TV etc. The higher the STC rating, the better the sound reduction. An STC rating of 50 or more is considered a good level of sound reduction and typically the minimum for building associations.
Flooring with a straight edge type have perfectly perpendicular, 90 degree, edges. Also known as a square edge, floor planks with this edge type flow seamlessly with less definition from plank to plank relative to beveled edge types.
A subfloor is the foundational structure that rests above the joists. Subfloors support the finished flooring material (hardwood flooring, tile, carpet, etc) and range from concrete, cement, plywood, softwoods and particleboard.
A t-molding is a type of molding that is used to provide a subtle, seamless transition between two floors of the same heights, typically used in entryways and doorways to transition between two rooms.
A threshold is a type of hardwood molding that is used to transition from hardwood floor to a different floor of a thickness less than that of the hardwood floor. It can also be used to cover expansion gaps where it doesn't make sense to use a quarter round, such as around a fireplace.
Tongue & Groove
It is a type of floor that has a tongue and groove (T&G) fitting system. Each plank of flooring has one long and one short edge with a tongue and one long and one short edge with a groove. Tongues and grooves fit together for a tight and snug fit.
Underlayment is a thin layer of "padding" that is placed between the floor and subfloor. The purpose of an underlayment is to add a layer of sound insultation and offer additional protection and support for the finished floor.
Vapor barrier, also referred to as a moisture barrier, is a thin sheet of plastic that is designed to block moisture that may creep up through a crawl space or subfloor.
Vinyl flooring is made from combination of synthetic materials such as PVC vinyl, plasticizer, stone polymer composite, wood polymer composite, that creates a unique resilience and design capability. The main advance of vinyl flooring is its resistance to moisture, stability, and DIY installation features.
Wear layer, measured in millimeters or mils, refers to the layer of protective coating on the surface of a floor that provides scratch and stain resistance, wear resistance, and UV protection. The wear layer of engineered hardwood which typically starts at 2mm determines the number of times it can be refinished, while the wear layer of vinyl flooring which typically starts at 12mil determines its durability.
Wirebrushed is a surface finish type where wood planks have been scraped with a hard-bristled wire brush, creating a distressed surface.The resulting look is a textured floor with a beautifully weathered look similar to reclaimed or barn wood.
Wood species is a scientific name that distinctly specifies the wood based on its properties. Depending on the characteristics of the tree, most importantly durability related factors, some hardwoods can be used for flooring while others cannot be. Common wood flooring species include oak, acacia, hickory, cherry, kempas, teak, and maple.
The wood veneer of engineered hardwood refers to the thin layer of real wood on top of its plywood core. The wood veneer provides the appearance of solid hardwood.