Useful Flooring Terms
We have created for all visitors of our website a special selection of useful flooring terms. You will learn a few new facts about the most basic terms and machines used during the floor sanding and the floor fitting processes. If you are looking for a particular term, just click on the letter it begins with or scroll down until you find it:
Accent Strip – Consists of a strip of wood flooring with different colour or hue that is placed on the wood floor in order to put an accent on it. Often, fireplaces are highlighted with accent strips.
Acclimation – It's very important to let the flooring adjust to the specific environment of the room or place it will be installed. The recommended acclimation time is at least 48 hours. The level of humidity in the air can lead to excessive expansion of the wood flooring.
Adhesive – Type of construction glue that is used to bond the flooring materials to the substrate.
Belt Sander – Popular handheld tool used for sanding wood floors of any kind. Most belt sanders consist of two separate rollers. An idler roller and a powered roller. Sanding paper is mounted on each roller to make the sanded wooden surface smoother. Some high-end belt sanders have a dust container that gathers all sawdust produced during the sanding process.
Below Grade – When installing a wood flooring the undersurface must be as level as possible. Any below grade areas that are below the surrounding have to be filled and levelled.
Beveled Edge – A beveled edge consists of planks with different groove that are cheaper for the manufacturers to produce. The grooves can be easily sealed with urethane finish.
Buffing Machine – Device used for polishing wood flooring. It uses a big round pad which is very soft in order to keep the floor's surface out of scratches. The pad rotates very fast – over 1000 RPM. The machine makes any buffed floor smoother and cleaner.
Chatter Marks – A pattern of repetitive marks can be left on the wood flooring after the sanding, if it's not performed by a professional and experienced floor sander. Such marks are known as “chatter marks”.
Coated Abrasive – Backing, grain and bond are combined to create this abrasive product.
Concrete Subfloor – One of the most common subfloor surfaces. You can install wood floors and laminate on cement screed.
Cupping – If the wood floors have been exposed to excessive moisture, its edges are usually uplifted. Such flooring needs to be repaired.
Curling – The end result of sanding moist wood flooring. Crowning in the centre of the floorboards, combined with downward curled edges, is what happens with wet sanded floors.
Detail Sanding – Sanding small objects and areas that are hard to reach with specialized sanding tools.
Drum Sander – A single drum or multiple drums are mounted on a spindle. The drum sander is one of the most common sanding machines used on any type of wood floors by the professional sanders.
Dulling – If the sanding belts are used too often, without being replaced, at some point they become ineffective. When the grain is dull, the belt sanders must be changed.
Edge Sander – A very effective tool for hard-to-reach areas on the floor like edges and small areas. It's much smaller than the drum and belt sanders. Its size allows the technician who operates the machine to maneuver easily around different obstacles. Some edge sanders have an attached lamp that makes dark places available for sanding.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring – The cheaper alternative to solid hardwood floorings. Multiple plywood layers are fused together. The last layer, which is visible after the installation of the floor, is a pure hardwood that is much thinner than the traditional hardwood flooring.
Filler – After the floor sanding, there might be small irregularities left on the surface. Filler is a substance used to patch the irregularities and the small holes, if any. The filling procedure must be done prior the coating.
Floating Floor – Floor installation type where no glue or nails are used to attach the flooring to the subfloor. The most famous floating floor type is laminate flooring. The planks' tongues are inserted into the grooves and are pressed downwards until the joint locks.
Floor Finishing – The process of applying protective coats on top of a wooden floor. There are three main types of finish: Wax, Oil and Varnish (Lacquer). Wax is a good choice, if you want to increase the luster of your flooring. On the other hand, if you prefer to see a fuzzy image reflection when looking at your wood floor, oil finish is the perfect choice because it's not that glossy. Moreover, it's the easiest floor finish to repair. Water based lacquer is probably the best option, if you want to increase the longevity of any wood flooring. Wood floors with varnish finish are easier to clean.
Gloss Level – There are three main gloss levels: Satin (40% luster), Semi-Gloss (55% luster) and Gloss (70% luster). Gloss is a good choice if you want more light to reflect off the wood flooring. However, you should know that dust, dirt and scratches will be easily spotted, if you have chosen the glossiest finish. This is why we don't recommend this type of finish to homeowners who have pets because dogs and cats are the main reason for imperfections on the wood flooring. On the contrary, satin finish has less sheen, but dirt and scratches can be hardly seen.
Glue Down Installation – Flooring installation method usually applied to hardwood floors. Adhesive is used to lock the laid floor.
Hardwood Flooring – Whole pieces of timber are used to produce probably the most attractive wood flooring type. Moreover, hardwood floors are very durable. If maintained properly, they can last for many decades.
Joist – Multiple beams are used to support the flooring structure. Each beam from it is called a joist.
Lambswool Applicator – The most common device used for the application of finish on large areas.
Laminate Flooring – One of the most common flooring types not only in the United Kingdom. Thanks to its unpretentious nature, laminate floors are easy to install and maintain. They are very affordable and can be used in places with high air humidity level. Such floors are made of multi-layer synthetic material.
Lap Marks – If the finish is not applied evenly on the wood flooring, some marks are left. They are called lap marks.
Lumber Decking a.k.a Decking Boards – The timber substance used for the production of wooden decks.
Mill Marks – Some flooring manufacturers produce floors that have marks left on their surface. Such marks have to be sanded in order to be removed.
Moisture Metre – Helpful instrument that measures the amount of moisture in any wood type. It's used prior the installation of the wood flooring in order to guarantee the wood material is not too wet or dry and can be installed.
Nail-down Flooring Installation – Installation method by which the selected wood floor is nailed to the subfloor surface. There is a special technique allowing to hide all nails, but it requires a lot of patience and experience.
Parquet Flooring – One of the most traditional types of wood flooring. Wooden blocks are arranged together. They form different geometric patterns such as the traditional for the parquetry Herringbone pattern and the modern Diagonal Basket Weave.
Ply – A thin layer of wood. Engineered hardwood floorings are made of multiple plies.
Plywood – Thin wooden plies are glued and pressed together. The final product is a strong wooden board. It's usually used as an underlayment for different types of floors.
Polyurethane – A type of finish that has low odour and is perfect for protecting any hardwood flooring from damage.
Prefinished Floors – Such floors are being stained and finished in the factory they were manufactured. There is no need of any additional finish after the installation.
Pull Bar – A very helpful tool used during the installation process of laminate floors. By its help, tongue and groove joints are tightened up.
Reclaimed Wood – Recycled hardwood floors are made out of reclaimed lumber usually coming from old barns, warehouses, factories and sometimes coal mines. Reclaimed wood is the best choice for home owners who want their wood flooring to look and feel vintage because of its remarkable knots, grains and patinas. According to wrap.org.uk (Waste and Resources Action Program), the usage of reclaimed lumber at any home or office can save more than 80% of the carbon cost of equipollent virgin timber material.
Root Mean Square (RMS) – A specific metric showing the roughness of a surface. The rougher the finish, the higher the Root Mean Square is.
Roughing – The process of removing unwanted stock from a workpiece.
Rustic Wood – Wood can be prepared to appear rustic or it can be natural antique wood. The second option can be recycled from barns for instance. It can be reused as a flooring with outstanding unique appearance. However, home owners must be very careful when buying upcycled wood because there might be some complications after the installation of the flooring such as bad odours, termites, etc.
Sanding – Wood floor abrasives from different kinds are used to remove the top layer of a worn wood flooring. Sanding your wood flooring is much cheaper than buying and installing a new one. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded up to 10 times which means they can last up to 100 years or even more, if cared properly.
Staining – The process of applying a single coat or a few coats of wood floor stain (paint) in order to change the original colour of the flooring. Usually, staining is performed right after the sanding process. At the end, a few layers of finish must be applied to protect the flooring and its new colour or hue from damage.
Staple-down Flooring Installation – A technique similar to the nail-down floor installation with one significant difference – staples are used instead of nails.
Tongue and Groove – Two adjacent laminate flooring boards can be easily fastened thanks to the tongue and groove edge effects. No glue or nails are needed when performing the installation of such boards.
Underlayment – Installing new floor covering often requires a special material to be placed in-between the subfloor surface and the new flooring. This middle layer is called an underlayment.
Utility Knife – Very handy tool used by the floor sanding and fitting experts mainly for cutting vinyl sheets and tiles.
Vinyl Flooring – A type of affordable resilient flooring made of artificial materials that is very easy to install and maintain. Vinyl flooring is not very durable and can easily tear and chip.
Warping – A piece of flooring gets wet and swells. Afterwards, the wood floor dries out and contracts. Parts of the flooring are distorted from its original plan and are warped. A specialist must be called to straighten the floor.
Wenge Wood – Extremely durable and heavy flooring type. It can't be confused with other wood type thanks to the very specific partridge pattern.
Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaners – A term referring to very powerful vacuum cleaners suitable for sucking huge amounts of dust extracted during the floor sanding process.