ccf3dafd0cc11792fc03515a0b2f3c7a.9c9a064ac6504b77cf7a7cd1128ebff5It’s no secret that a quality hardwood floor is an investment that, if installed correctly, can add great value to your home.  Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a trained professional, it’s always a good idea to do a little research and familiarize yourself with some key hardwood flooring terminology before moving on with the installation process.  Offered below is a list of the most commonly used hardwood flooring terms.

  • Above Grade:  Any surface that is above the level of the surrounding ground.
  • Below Grade:  Any surface that is below the level of the surrounding ground.
  • Crowning:  A convex or crowned condition or appearance of individual strips with the center of the strip higher than the edges. The opposite of cupping.
  • Cupping:  A concave or dished appearance of individual strips with the edges raised above the center. The opposite of crowning.
  • Delamination:  The separation of layers in an engineered wood floor, through failure within the adhesive or between plies. Also between layers of stain and/or coating.
  • Engineered Hardwood:  Engineered hardwood is manufactured by adhering 3-10 layers of wood call “plies” in order to form a plank.  These floors have a cross-ply construction, making them less sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity and therefore more dimensionally stable.  These floors can be glued, stapled, or floated over many types of sub floors including wood and dry concrete slabs.
  • Floating Floor:  A floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. Typically, the flooring panels are connected together by adhesive or mechanical connectors.
  • Glue-Down:  This method involves gluing the planks directly to the sufloor.
  • Hardness:  That property of the wood species or dried film of finishing material that causes it to withstand denting or being marked when pressure is exerted on its surface by an outside object or force.
  • Parquet:  A patterned floor.
  • Plank:  Solid or Engineered boards 3″ and wider designed to be installed in parallel rows.
  • Polyurethane:  A clear, durable finish applied over hardwood flooring as a protective “wear” layer.
  • Prefinished Flooring:  Factory-finished flooring that only requires installation.
  • Refinish:  Sanding a previously finished floor to bare wood and applying new finish.
  • Sealer:  Any finishing material that is applied with the primary purpose of stopping and absorption of succeeding coats.
  • Solid Hardwood:  Solid hardwood is manufactured from one solid piece of wood, usually about 3/4 inch thick, and cut into planks.  These floors are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity and must be nailed or stapled down to a wood type sub floor.
  • Staining:  The act of changing the color of wood without disturbing the texture or markings, through the application of transparent or semitransparent liquids made from dyes, finely divided pigments or chemicals.
  • Stapled Down:  A method of hardwood installation in which staples are used to attach the wood to the subfloor using a pneumatic gun.
  • Strip Flooring:  Solid or engineered boards, less than 3 inches in width, to be installed in parallel rows, produced in various thicknesses and widths. The strips are side-matched and end-matched (tongue-and-grooved).  They are for nail-down installation directly to wood or plywood subfloors, or over wood screeds on concrete slab construction. Some types can also be glued directly to a
    concrete subfloor.
  • Unfinished Flooring:  Flooring that must have stain and/or a finish applied after installation.

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