Hardwood Flooring Terminology

Know Your Hardwood Flooring Terms

The following is a list of some of the most important hardwood flooring terminology you will hear while you’re discussing your hardwood flooring installation. For reasons of brevity I’m not going to post all the industry terms we use; just the hardwood flooring terminology I feel every property owner or manager should know. At Artisan Hardwood Floors, we feel a well informed customer is a happy customer. A quick read-through of our clients’ testimonials will confirm that.

Above The Grade: A floor which is above the level of the ground around the structure. Solid wood flooring needs to be Above The Grade.

Acrylic Impregnated: Wood which has had Acrylic monomers injected to increase the hardness. Often finished with a wear layer for longevity.

Below The Grade: A floor which is below the level of the ground around the structure.

Better: Oak flooring which has very small knots and tight dark graining.

Buckle: When a hardwood floor expands because of too much moisture, the wood may cup or “buckle.”

Clear: Oak flooring which has no visual blemishes or knots. This quality of Oak flooring is the most expensive.

Cross-ply Construction: Thin wood layers are stacked across each other at right angles then glued together. This design allows the planks to resist shrinking or expanding under humid conditions. Cross-ply floors are safe to install over concrete and/or below grade.

Engineered Hardwood :A common type of hardwood flooring (the others being Solid and Longstrip Plank). Produced using thin sheets of wood laminated into a single plank.

Finish In Place: Unfinished hardwood floors which are installed on site.

Floating Floor: Hardwood floors which aren’t fastened to the sub-floor. Instead, wood glue is applied only to the connecting edges of each plank.

Graining: Every species of tree creates a unique texture, color and grain pattern to the planks they yield. The way the planks are cut will also influence the finished look.

Laminate: Manufactured hardwood consisting of a backing, a visual layer and a wear layer.

Moisture Cured Urethane: Similar to solvent-based urethanes, this sealant requires moisture to cure properly.

Number 1 Common: Oak flooring which shows some knots and some dark graining.

Number 2 Common: Oak flooring which shows even more knots and dark graining.

On-Grade: At ground level.

Polyurethane: A clear, durable chemical finish applied over hardwood flooring to improve wear and longevity.

Pre-Finished Wood: Planks which come pre- sanded, stained and finished by the manufacturer.

Rotary Cut: A cutting process which produces a larger pattern of Kerf marks.

Select: Oak flooring which only shows some small knots and very little dark graining.

Sliced Cut: A cutting process which produces a tighter, more uniform set of Kerf marks.

There is, of course, a vast amount of hardwood flooring terminology we use in our industry, a lot of it commonly known and understood by most laymen. There are also a great many more esoteric terms which are very specific to our trade, that we use only while we’re working. My team and I are always happy to explain any process, product, technique or terminology we use. Please feel free to contact us right away, so we can be sure you’re absolutely comfortable with everything involved in making your floors look like works of art.

Sorin Giurca

Craftsman, Owner, Artist