Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

  • Acclimatising - allowing wood to adjust to the humidity in your home - wood expands and contracts based on the amount of moisture in the air.
  • Adhesion - the process of sticking one material to another. Adhesion is affected by the condition of the surface, which should allow a certain amount of penetration, should be chemically clean and not too smooth, hard or nonporous.
  • Aged - a chemical process used to deepen and change the colour of new timber without need for staining.
  • Air-dried - timber dried by exposure to air in a yard or shed without artificial heat (not kiln dried).
  • Annual growth ring - the layer of wood growth formed on a tree during a single growing season.
  • Antique - original timber of around 200 years old or more, either in original condition or re-machined to a specified size or finish.

B

  • Bevelled edge - the edge of a plank, which has been chamfered off in the manufacturing process to create a groove or 'v' joint between boards when they are laid.
  • Bleached/white washed floors - floors lightened in colour by the application of either wood bleach, or a white stain, or both.
  • Borders - simple or intricate designs, which frame and customise a flooring installation.
  • Bowed - the distortion of timber in which there is a deviation, in a direction perpendicular to the flat face, from a straight line from end to end of the piece.
  • Brushed - a manufacturing process applied to the timber to textures the surface, usually carried out by copper brushes.

C

  • Colour change - visual changes in the colour of the wood species caused by exposure to light, deprivation of light and air, or some chemical reaction.
  • Crowning - individual strips with the centre 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 centre - the opposite of "crowning".

D

  • (DPC) - Damp-proof course. See (DPM)
  • (DPM) - Damp proof membrane (often abbreviated to DPC, damp-proof course) is a horizontal barrier in a wall designed to prevent moisture rising through the structure by capillary action - a phenomenon known as rising damp.
  • Delaminating - the separation of layers in a laminate or engineered floor, through failure of the adhesive or between plies, or between layers of stain and/or coating.
  • Distressed - a process used to give a lived-in look. Various techniques are used to create surface damage, dents, scratches and imperfections to edges and face. Boards are then finished with oil to soften defects and give the appearance of a well-worn, though not necessarily period, floor.
  • Durability - the ability of a wood species or finish to withstand conditions with which it comes in contact, without an appreciable change in appearance.

E

  • Eased edge - the chamfered or bevelled edge of strip flooring, plank, block, and parquet at approximately 45-degree angle. Eased edge is considered to be less of an indentation than bevelled edge flooring - see 'Bevelled Edge'.
  • End joint - where two pieces of flooring are joined together end to end.
  • End matched - a male projection milled on one edge of a strip, plank, slat or unit to be engaged with a female counterpart on an adjoining unit.
  • Engineered - a multi-layered wood flooring board comprising of a surface veneer of real wood, bonded to a central softwood core and a counter balancing backing of softwood.

F

  • Feature strip - a strip of wood used at a threshold or to border a room or to otherwise serve as an accent. Usually of a contrasting colour or species.
  • Figure - inherent markings, designs or configurations on the surface of wood produced by annual growth rings, rays, knots and deviations from regular grain.
  • Filler - substance used to fill holes and irregularities in planed or sanded surfaces before applying finish coatings.
  • Finish - protective coating applied to a wood floor.
  • Flecks - the wide irregular, conspicuous figure in quarter sawn oak flooring
  • 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.

G

  • Grade - This a term used to determine and define the quality and structural properties of the raw timber.

H

  • Hand scraped - a process used to undulate the surface of wood floors to create an uneven surface, which replicates foot traffic, and wear characteristics of an old floor.
  • Hardness - the property of a wood species or finishing material that causes it to withstand denting or being marked.
  • Hard wax oil - Surface-finishing treatment made from natural vegetable oils, mixed with wax.
  • Hardwood - one of the botanical groups of deciduous trees that have broad leaves, in contrast to conifers or softwoods.
  • Heartwood - the wood extending from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life processes of a tree - usually darker than sapwood (see 'Pith' and 'Sapwood').
  • Herringbone - a traditional pattern used to create an interlocking pattern of blocks of around eight inches long.
  • HDF - high-density fibreboard is a type of fibreboard, which is an engineered wood product. It is similar to particleboard and medium-density fibreboard, but is denser and much stronger and harder because it is made out of exploded wood fibres that have been highly compressed.
  • Humidity - the amount of water vapour in the air (see 'Relative Humidity').
  • Hygrometer - an instrument for measuring the degree of humidity or relative humidity of the atmosphere.

J

  • Joist - one of a series of parallel beams used to support floor or ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls.

K

  • Kiln-dried - dried in a kiln with the use of artificial heat.
  • Knot - the portion of a branch or limb that has been surrounded by subsequent growth of the stem.

L

  • Lacquer - a finish containing nitrocellulose, often used as a sealer. Using a solvent with a very low flash point, which causes it to be very flammable, creates the fast curing properties of this finish. Ambers little, cures rapidly, but may water spot and become cloudy when applied in high humidity.
  • Laminate flooring - hard surface flooring with a fibreboard core and melamine wear layer - available in blocks, planks, and squares.
  • Load bearing – means a floor type, which can bear the weight and force resting upon it.

M

  • Mineral streak - wood containing an accumulation of mineral matter introduced by sap flow, causing an unnatural colour ranging from greenish brown to black.
  • Moisture content - the amount of moisture in wood expressed as a percentage of the weight of oven-dried wood.
  • Mosaic parquet - five fingers of wood to make up a basket; each basket is laid in an opposite direction to the next, each panel contains approximately 16 baskets.

N

  • Nosing - hardwood moulding used to cover the outside corner of a step.

O

  • Open grain - a failure of finish to form a film over areas of low density, normally associated with the softer springwood.
  • Overlay - a traditional method of wood flooring comprising of square edged planks or pieces without a tongue and groove. Usually fixed to a timber or concrete base using pins and wood adhesive.

P

  • Parquet - in the mainland of Europe Parquet (parkett) means wooden flooring (any wooden flooring, from solid, wood-engineered to wood block design patterns like herringbone) in the UK the term Parquet is commonly used to describe the latter: wood blocks/strips is a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used for decorative effect. However some manufacturers and retailers use the term Parquet in the UK to promote a Wood-Engineered (or 3-strip Wood-Veneer) flooring.
  • Pin Holes - normally caused by finish flowing into low lying or less dense areas such as springwood. While not considered a finish defect it can often be corrected by the application of an additional coat of finish.
  • Plain sawn - the usual way of cutting a log, which gives a random mix of grain patterns.
  • Plank - solid or engineered boards 90mm (3.5") or wider designed to be installed in parallel rows.
  • Plywood - board or panel made of cross-directional veneers and/or layers of wood for dimensional stability.
  • Polyurethane - a type of finish used on hardwood to protect it from damage. Polyurethane finishes do not require waxing.
  • Prefinished - hardwood floors that are stained with colour and sealed with a protective finish by the manufacturer prior to installation.
  • PVA - Polyvinyl acetate is a rubbery synthetic polymer adhesive for porous materials, particularly wood.

Q

  • Quadrant - a convex shaped piece of timber supplied in around 2 -3 metre lengths in various hardwoods. Used to cover expansion gaps left around the perimeter of a wood floor.
  • Quarter sawn - wood that has a grain that runs parallel to the length of the board (sometimes called 'vertical grain'). In oak the boards have ray-like markings running diagonally across them.

R

  • Raised grain - a roughened or fuzzy condition of the face of the flooring in which the dense summerwood is raised above the softer springwood, but not torn or separated.
  • Rays, wood - strips of cells extending radically within a tree and varying in height from a few cells in some species to four inches or more in oak. The rays serve primarily to store food and transport it horizontally in the tree. On Quarter sawn oak flooring, the rays form a conspicuous figure, sometimes referred to as flecks.
  • Reclaimed - timber salvaged from use in other locations, to give the new environment and aged look and feel.
  • Relative humidity - ratio of the amount of water vapour present in the air, which the air would hold at saturation at the same temperature.
  • Rustic grade - a term used in the grading of wood flooring. This grade permits almost unlimited natural colour variation via sapwood and heartwood, and knots.

S

  • Sanded & filled – Describes an unfinished product which has been factory prepared for treatment. The finish is a smooth and all open knot and shanks have been filled.
  • Sapwood - the wood near the outside of a tree - usually lighter in colour than heartwood.
  • Scotia - a concave or half round shape of timber usually supplied in 2-3 meter lengths in various hardwoods. Used to cover expansion gaps left around the perimeter of a wood floor.
  • Screed - a latex levelling compound that is used to create a clean level subfloor when installing floors.
  • Sealer - any finishing material that is applied to stop the absorption of succeeding coats.
  • Secret nailing - a fixing method under which a 2" lost head nail is fired at 45 degree angle into the upper side of the tongue on a tongue and groove board.
  • Select grade - a term used to describe timber selected for colour, which excludes the presence of knots and will represent an even colour in a whole floor.
  • Shake - a separation along the grain, the greater part of which occurs between the annual growth rings.
  • Slip-tongue/spline - small strip of wood or metal used to reverse or change direction when installing standard tongue-and-groove strip flooring.
  • Smoked - a process used to darken wood floors during the drying process.
  • Softwoods - term used to describe timber produced from needle and/or cone-bearing trees (conifers).
  • Solid - individual strips or planks of timber made from 100% hardwood.
  • Solid flooring - made from boards, which are single pieces of wood from top to bottom.
  • Solid engineered (semi solid) - a board around 20mm thick, which comprises a real wood veneer around 5-6mm, bonded to a plywood base. Technically an engineered product but displays more similar properties to solid wood as it can be nailed down to provide a structural floor.
  • Species - the type of tree, such as oak, cherry or walnut.
  • Split - separations of wood fibre running parallel to the grain.
  • Square edge (parquet blocks) - flooring that isn't tongue-and-grooved. May also refer to square-edge strip flooring that is face-nailed when installed.
  • Square - tongue & grooved strip or plank flooring with edges that are not eased or bevelled.
  • Staining - changing the colour of wood through the application of transparent or semitransparent liquids made from dyes, finely divided pigments or chemicals.
  • Stair nosing - a finishing piece applied to the forward edge of stairs, step-downs and landings, creating a rounded quality finish.
  • Strip flooring - solid or engineered boards, less than three inches in width, to be installed in parallel rows, produced in various thickness and widths.
  • Strip - solid wood floors that are less than five inches in width.
  • Subfloor - what a floor covering sits on - either concrete, floorboards, chipboard or brick.

T

  • Texture - term to describe the surface look and feel of flooring- can range from silky smooth to hand scraped and distressed.
  • Threshold - a finishing piece applied to a wood floor where it transcends to another flooring level or type.
  • Tongue & groove - a tongue milled on one edge and a groove cut on the opposite edge, in strip, plank and parquet flooring. As the flooring is installed, the tongue of each strip or unit is engaged with the groove of the adjacent strip or unit (see 'End-matched').
  • Trim - the finish materials in a building, such as mouldings, applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms.

U

  • Underlay - is a layer of cushioning, made of materials such as sponge rubber, foam, felt or crumb rubber, which is laid beneath flooring to provide protection and support.
  • Unfinished - a product requiring sanding and staining/finishing after installation.
  • Urethane - synthetic chemical structure formed by one of three specific chemical reactions (see Polyurethane).
  • UV-cured polyurethane - special polyurethane cured by subjecting it to a dose of ultraviolet light (see 'Polyurethane' and 'Ultraviolet').

V

  • V-joint - a term used in plank flooring to indicate that edges are eased or bevelled to simulate cracks in floors of early colonial American homes.
  • Vapour barrier - a material, such as foil, plastic film or specially coated paper, with a high resistance to vapour, which is used to control condensation or prevent migration of moisture.
  • Varnish - a finish that contains either natural or synthetic oils refined by boiling and cooking with the addition of dryers.
  • Veneer - square edged leaf of hardwood bonded to provide surface face of engineered wood floors.

W

  • Warping - distortion of a piece of flooring from its true plane that may occur in seasoning.
  • Water-based - a large family of finishes with a common trait of having the solids suspended in water which is used as the solvent. Clear in appearance and looks very natural on wood.
  • Wax - resinous, pliable substances of plant or animal origin used for making polishes and other products. Often used on wood floors to create a soft, aged lustre.
  • Wide-board - term used to describe board widths approximately seven inches and above.
  • Width - the width of individual wood boards that make up a floor.
  • Wire brushing - a method for imparting an artificial texture or distressed appearance to the surface of hardwood flooring.
  • Wood species - the primary species from which the wood floor is made.
  • Wood stain - paint that is very thin or low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface.

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