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Hardwood Flooring Terms - Glossary

Acclimation - A process required for wood flooring to assume the moisture content of the installation area and site.
Beveled Edge - A deeper chamfering on the side and end joints of hardwood flooring. Has the appearance of a V. Can become a dirt collector.
Blind Nailing - Often called side nailing. The procedure of fastening floors to wood subfloors through the tongue at a 45º angle.
Blisters or Bubbles - Appearance of bubbles on the surface of the finish.
Banana Boards - Common with engineered products before installation. Laid on a flat surface, ends rise from a true plane.
Bowed - Condition of material. Usually caused by moisture affecting the material before and after manufacturing.
Builders Grade - Often material of minimal quality. The quality or lack of, will be very close to that of cabin grade products.
Cabin Grade - Material that is often sold without a warranty. Ordinarily there will be manufacturing defects or the material will have a wide range in color. Also known as tavern grade.
Checks - Splits or openings in the material running parallel to the grain
Core - The material in engineered products sandwiched between the top and bottom layer.
Crook - Condition of material. Combination of crooked or twisted.
Crowning - Condition of material. Opposite of cupping. Cause: Moisture from above.
Cupping - Condition of material. The vertical height appearance assumes the shape of a cup. Cause: Moisture from below
Delamination - Condition of material. The separation of the plys within an engineered product. Cause: failure of adhesive used in the manufacturing process
Distressed - Appearance of product that has been scraped, dinged or scratched to give it an aged appearance at the time of manufacture.
Eased Edge - Chamfered or slightly beveled product. This has a more subtle appearance as opposed to a more common deep bevel. Eased or micro bevels are very common with prefinished manufacturers as it is designed to "hide" milling irregularities. IE over and under wood.
End Joint - Where two pieces of flooring meet on the ends.
End Matched - Tongue and groove construction on the ends of the product.
Engineered - Term used to describe ply constructed hardwood flooring. Often called laminated before actual laminate flooring became popular.
Face - The surface area of the final product.
Filler - Used to fill minor irregularities in wood flooring products and installations.
Finish Laps & Skips - The condition of a product whose finish has been applied incorrectly.
Floating Floor - Flooring that is fastened with adhesive on the side and end joints and not the subfloor. Nearly all are engineered. More recent are the click together or lock and fold floors that require no glue.
Gloss - Shine or sheen of the finish.
Gloss Level - The level of the gloss measured by a gloss meter. The higher the gloss, the higher the number (100 would be a mirror, 0 would be black).
Grain - The appearance of the wood fibers. All species are different
Heartwood - The non-active center of a tree generally distinguishable from the outer portion by its darker color
High Gloss - The type of finish appearance that has the most shine to it. Will show damage or scratches more readily.
Knot - The appearance of irregular circular imperfections caused by branch shoots from the tree
Knot Hole - Openings produced when a knot drops from the wood in which it was originally embedded.
Micro Bevel - The slightest or smallest type of beveling in prefinished products.
Mineral Streaks - Condition or appearance of product from greenish brown to black caused by the mineral content of the soil where it was grown
Moisture Content - The amount of moisture in wood flooring. The number represents a percentage of the actual dried material. Content will vary from one region to another. Consult an experienced professional for the average in your region
Moisture Meter - Devices used to measure moisture content in the material and subfloors
Out of Square - Material ends not cut at a precise right angle
Overwood - A condition where the end and side joints of adjacent boards are not vertically flush. Very common with many prefinished square edge products; solid and engineered
Pin Holes - Small round holes in wood caused by insects.
Pin Knots - A knot less than a 1/4" in diameter and containing a dark center.
Plainsawn - Wood that has been sawn from a log in such a manner that the growth rings form an angle from 0° to 45° with the surface of the board
Roofing Felt Or Asphalt Felt Paper - Used for moisture and tweak protection when installing over wood subfloors. Also used as a retarder for installations on concrete slabs under plywood.
Quarter Sawn - Wood sawn from a log in such a manner so the growth rings form an angle from 45° to 90° with the surface of the board. Tiger stripe like appearance.
Rift Sawn - Lumber in which the annual rings make angles of 30° to 60° with the surface of the board.
Roller Lines - Mark made on the board caused by an indentation on a roller from the UV machines.
Sapwood - The live wood portion of a tree encircling the heartwood. Generally it is lighter in color than the heartwood.
Shake - Separation along the grain between annual ring growth of the tree
Side Matched - Tongue and groove construction on the sides of the product.
Sound Knots - A knot that is solid across its face and fixed in place by growth to retain its place.
Square Edge - Tongue and grooved flooring with edges that are not eased or beveled
Stain Spots - Dark drops or spots on the surface of the wood from the stain
Stapler - Used for direct fastening to wood subfloors
Top Nailing - With nail or staple installations it is necessary in some areas to nail to the surface of the board on wood subfloors as there is no room to side or blind nail
UV Cured Urethane - A special type of urethane that is cured by subjecting the polyurethane to a specific dosage of radiation in the form of ultraviolet light.
Underlayment - Used under hardwood before installation.
Veneer - Surface layer of engineered floors. Also termed wear layer.
Visqueen - Plastic sheathing used for moisture barriers. More common with floating engineered floors on concrete.
Warping - Any distortion of a piece of wood from its true plane
Wear Layer - Often called veneer. The actual surface layer of engineered flooring. Thicknesses vary among manufacturers.
Worm Holes - Condition of material. Holes created by worms burring through the tree.