Flooring industry terms

The flooring industry jargon buster

Flooring Glossary

Glossary of popular dlooring terms...

Here we have compiled a list of some popular terms which are often used in the flooring industry. These will help you gain a better understanding of some floor restoration and floor maintenance issues, processes adn services by improving your knowledge of their specific meaning in the fild of flooring.


- A -


Abrasion is the effect of exposure of wood flooring to normal everyday use and other external elements such as humidity. Abrasion can result in wear and tear, wood floor scratches and scuffs.

Abrasion Class Rating

The AC rating system is used for rating laminate flooring. The rating system measures it’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains, burns. The higher on the AC Rating system laminate marks, the greater resistance it shows.


Abrasion Class Wear Layer

Also referred to as AC Wear Layer is the durable wear layer that provides protection to scratches, stains and indentations on laminate flooring.



The process of water penetrating into the wood flooring’s structure.



The process of wood flooring adjusting to changes in the surrounding environmental conditions such as moisture and humidity. Allowing for the acclimatization of wooden floors before installation is essential to avoid the appearance of gaps later on.


Acrylic Infused

The injection of liquid acrylic into and outer surface layer of wooden floor to add extra durability.



The process of bonding different particles such as wood flooring to subfloors - gluing.


Air Humidity

The amount of water in the air. Air humidity is a very important factor when it comes to wood floor instalaltion or restoration as it has a direct impact on the condition of the timber.


- B -


Belt Sander

The machine  used to strip off the top layer of the wooden floor during the floor sanding process.


Beveled Edge

Beveled edge describes a type of edge in solid wood, engineered wood and laminate floorings which is characterized with its V-shaped groove. Bevelled edged flooring is often recommended for uneven subfloor surfaces.   


Blind Nailing

Nailing wood flooring in a way that hides the nails by forcing them down into the tongue-and-groove flooring plank at a 45-degrees.



A wooden strip that is used to create a better design of wooden floorings by providing a frame around the edges. Boarders are often used when it comes to parquet floor installation.


Brushed Finish

An special effect on the wooden flooring adding a distinctive appearance to the wood finish. Brushed finish flooring feel more textured and appear more natural.



The effect of a failure of the flooring's structural integrity caused by compressive forces. Buckling of the wooden floors often appear as a result of inadequate floor installation where insufficient gap has been allowed for the wooden flooring to expand as a result of chnages in the air humidity.


Buffing Machine

A tool used during the floor restoration process to polish the sanded wood surface. It uses a specific pad which achieves a smoother and cleaner surface via rotating.



Naturally appearing twist in the grain of wooden flooring.


- C -


Chatter Marks

Chatter marks are described as half-circle marks on the wood’s surface which may appear during the wood floor sanding process.


Colour Variation

The difference in tone appearance between natural wood floor boards. Various levels of acceptable colour variation define the grading of wood flooring products in the flooring industry.


Concrete Subfloor

A type of subfloor surface which is made up of concrete. Concrete subfloros allow for the installation of parquet flooring and solid wood flooring and define specific requirements for the installation of particular types of underlays for engineered wood floorings.



The change in shape of the natural wood flooring as a result of changes in the air humidity of the surrounding environment. Contraction usually apears when there is a decrease in the humidity. The opposite of contraction is expansion, which appears as a result of increased humidity. Both contraction and expansion and naturally occuring processes in the natural wood flooring and should always be taken into consideration for any wood floor installation by ensuring that sufficient gap is allowed to accomodate these processes over time. 



A change of the shape of the wood floorboard in which the centre of a board rises. This is often as a result of increased levels of humidity or increased moisture levels in the floor’s environment.



A change of the shape of the wood floorboard in which the sides of a wooden board are higher than the centre as a reult of increased levels of humidity or increased moisture levels in the floor’s environment.



The process of drying that should be allowed for floor sealing or gluing.


- D -


Damp Proof Membrane

A protective layer which is applied between the subfloor and the wood flooring in order to minimise the effect of subfloor moisture on the wood.



The process of splitting of the different layers of laminate or engineered wood.


Dirt Retention

The ability of the wood floor sealant to capture adn embed dust and dirt from foot traffic.



A charachteristic of a particular design of wood flooring which is chieved by scraping the surface of the floorboards to achieve a greater texture.



Acronym for “do it yourself”. This term is used to describe projects that are undertaken without a professional.While some wood floor works, such as minir floor repairs can be done as DIY, other works such as wood floor sanding, floor varnishing, re-oiling or indeed installation are better left to the professionals as they require a certain level of knowledge and skills.


Door Threshold

A decorative strip which is often used to cover the gap between floors in two different areas such as a room and a hallway.


Drum Sander

One of the most common tools used for sanding wooden floors.



A feature used to describe the ability of wood floorings and sealants to withstand destructive agents or conditions.


- E -

Eased Edge

Describes a type of edging in wood boards which is round and shallow.


Edge Sander

A sanding machine that is used to sand the edges of the floorboards or corners and areas that are difficult to reach with bigger floor sanders.


Engineered Wood Flooring

One of the most popular types of wooden flooring has a specific design and structure of the floor boards with a number of layers with a top layer of natural wood. There is a great variety of engineered wood floorings today where the tickness of the top layer is one of the most distinctive features.



In the wood flooring industry this refers to the natural swelling of floorboards as a result of increased air humidity or other source of moisture.


Expansion Gap

The gap that needs to be left between the walls and the wooden flooring during the floor installation process to allow for the natural expansion process of the wood.


- F -


Face Nail

A type of nailing technique used for floor fitting. It is characterised by nailing floorboards down with nails perpendicular to the surface.



The dulling or the change in colour if the floorboards in time as a result of exposure to sunlight, heat or other destructive agents.



A substance that is used during the floor restoration process to infill the gaps that are left between the floorboards or the imperfections on the wood floor surface after the floor saning. This substance is usually a mixure of wood resin and saw dust which is collected during the sanding process.



Describes the top coating of wooden flooring which is usually applied on unfinished or freshly sanded wood floorboards.


Floating Floor

A type of wood floor installation method where the floorboards are neither nailed down nor glued down to the subfloor sirface. Instead, the floorboards are glued to each other or fitted togethher with a click system. Floating floor installation usually applies to engineeded wood floorings, which are normally installed over underlay. However, some modern solid wood floorings, such as Junckers flooring have been specifically designed and manufactured to allow for floating installation. Floating floor installation is particularly applicable in premisses where underfloor heating is to be installed.


Floor Protectors

Small pads that are attached on the bottoms of heavy furniture pieces or other heavy objects to protect the top layer of the wooden floors from scratched.


Flush Reducer

Flush reducer is used to level the height between two floor surfaces or to cover a gap between flooring in two different rooms.


- G -



Describes wood floor finish which is more shiny.


Gloss Level

Describes the level if shine in the gloss wood floor finish.


Glue Down

Wood floor installation method using glue to fit the flooring to a subfloor.



Naturally appearing lines on wooden floorboards.


- H -



Describes a type of wood floor finish which has been scraped to achieve a more rough appearance and feel.


Hardwood Flooring

A type of flooring that is made exclusively from real wood or lumber materials. 


High Pressure Laminate

An extra-hard process used for manufacturing laminate flooring, when all layers of the laminate are fused together in a multiple-step operation.



The amount of water in the atmosphere.



A tool which is used for measuring the humidity.


- I -



The process of fitting flooring over a subfloor.


- J -


Jointed Flooring

Wood flooring where the edges of the floor boards with square edges.


- K -



Naturally appearing darker spots on wooden floorboards indicating where there had been a branch of the tree.


- L -


Lacquered Finish

A very popular type of wood floor finish described by smooth and shiny appearance.


Laminate Flooring

A type of flooring which has been construcred with several layers and a top layer that imitates real wood.


Lumber Decking

The wood that is used for wooden decks.


Locking Installation System

A floor installation method which uses a tongue-and-groove locking system to fit the floorboards one to the other.


- M -


Micro Bevel Edge

Describes the edging of floorboards characterised with shallower “v”-shaped groove compared to the bevel edge.


Moisture Content

The amount of moisture that is found in real wood flooring.


Moisture Metre

A tool which measurs the amount of moisture content in real wood floorboards.



Small transition pieces that are used around the edges of wood flooring where it meets the walls.


Multiply Boards

Another word for engineered wood flooring, which is characterised by consisting of several layers.


- N -


Nail-Down Flooring Installation

A type of wood flooring fittiing method where the floorboards are nailed down to the subfloor.


- O -


Oiled Finish

A type of wood flooring finish which uses oil wax.


- P -



A type of wooden flooring which consists of small floor blocks rather than long floor boards.



The natural variation of the original wood colour over time.  



Solid wood or engineered wood flooring with width of 3 inches or more.


Plank Replacement

The process of replacing a damaged flooring with a new one.



A type of hard-wearing wood flooring finish described with high level of hard wearing.



Refers to solid wood or engineered wood flooring which has been sealed with a product in the factory.


- Q -


Quarter Round Molding

A type of moulding which covers the gap where the wood or laminate flooring meets the wall.


- R -


Radiant Heating

A type of underfloor heating system.


Random Length

A flooring set which consists of floorboards with various lengths.


Random Width

A flooring set which consists of floorboards with various widths.


Reclaimed Wood

Recycled wooden floorboards or parquet blocks that have been previously used elsewhere.


Reducer Strip

A decorative molding used to provide transition between wooden or laminate floors and other surfaces like vinyl or carpet.



The process of wood floor sanding and the application of new sealant.


Rustic Wood

Describes the appearance of wood flooring with presence of more natural knots and greater colour variation.


- S -




The process of removing the existing wood floor finish from the surface of wooden floors with the use of abbrasive sanding paper.


Solid Wood

Solid wood floor boards which are made from one timber piece.



Describes the different types of trees.



The process of changing the colour of the wooden flooring by applying stain or paint on the surface.


Staple-Down Installation

One of the wood flooring installation methods with the use of staples.



The base on thich the fooden flooring is installed.  The most common type of subfloor for wooden floors is concrete.


- T -



A strip that is used to provide a transition between two wood or laminate floors.  



A type of wooden floorboard edging which allows for installing the boards through pushing the floorboards together and locking them for a stable and sturdy construction. 



A strip that in installed to provide a transition to another flooring level or another flooring type.



A material used for the application of adhesive or glue substances.


- U -



Bare wood which has not been treated with any sealant.



Treatment of the wood floor varnish with UV lighting  to provide extra durability and resistance.


- V -


Vapour Permeable Membrane

A type of material or covering that allows the passage of moisture.



Also called lacquer, this is a very popular type of wood floor finish.



An effect on the wood floor finish which makes the floorboard appear wither and more transparent.