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Glossary of Hardwood Terms

Acrylic Urethane: A slightly different chemical make-up than Polyurethane but maintains the same benefits.

Aluminum Oxide: Added to the urethane finish for increased durability of the wear layer.

Below Grade: A cement slab poured below the level of the surrounding terrain.

Beveled Edge: These products have a very distinctive groove in them. Beveled edges are sealed completely, making dirt and grit easy to be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.

Buckle: When the humidity is higher, often in summer, wood will expand and gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it could cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle.

Clear: A higher quality of oak in which there are no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive.

Cupping: A type of warping that can happen to the wood in which the sides are higher than the center.

Eased Edge: This is done to each board and is where the edges are just slightly beveled. This is used to help hide small irregularities, such as uneven plank heights. This can also be called micro-beveled edge.

Engineered: One of the three common types of wood floors. Engineered wood floors are usually manufactured with several thin sheets of wood. These are typically laminated together to form one plank. Most engineered floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or floated over a wide variety of subfloors.

Floating Floor Installation: The new hardwood flooring is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. A thin pad is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. The padding has its advantages as it guards against moisture, acts as a noise reducer, and is softer under foot.

Glue Down: The recommended adhesive is used to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor. You should know that engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down while solid strip floors and plank floors can only be nailed or stapled.

Graining: Each wood species has its own unique grain. The graining on the boards is established by the way the wood has been cut.

Knot: On a piece of wood, the round, harder, usually darker in color. This is where the branch joined the trunk of the tree.

Laminate: Laminate is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.

Long Strip Plank: One of the three most common types of wood flooring. Long Strip Plank flooring is similar to engineered flooring in that they have several wood plies that are secured together. In this process each layer serves a purpose. The center core is usually a softer wood and makes up the tongue and groove. A hardwood finished layer is glued on top of this. After that, the top layer can be just about any wood species and is done by using several smaller pieces that are laid out in rows of three. The end product gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks long. By using this method, it makes them easy to replace.

Nail Down: A method to secure the flooring to the subflooring, typically using the 3/4″ solid products. However, there are adapters available for thinner flooring. The 2″ nailing cleats are used.

On-Grade: A cement slab that maintains the same plane as the surrounding.

Plank: The wider units of flooring. When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide in various and random lengths.

Polyurethane: A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.

Pre-Finished Wood Floor: Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes ready for installation in your home. The hardwood boards have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant.

Select: A high quality of oak where there is some small knots and very little dark graining.

Solid: One of the three most popular wood flooring styles. Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides. Solid wood floors are delicate to moisture. They are often used in nail down installations thus making them not suggested for installation below ground level or over a concrete slab.

Square Edge: The ends of all the boards meet squarely producing a smooth surface.

Stapled Down: A method used to attach the flooring to the subflooring. The 1-1/2 to 2 inch staples are used instead of nailing cleats to attach the hardwood to the subfloor.

Strip: The narrower board widths.

Tongue and Groove: A process used for joining boards of hardwood together. This involves one board having a tongue on its edge that secures into a groove in the edge of another.

Un-Finished Wood Floor: A completely customizable type of wood floor. You can choose the wood species and then it will be sanded and stained to your liking on the site.