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The Luxury Flooring Dictionary

Luxury Flooring Owl Reading

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1 Strip - The classic 'single plank' look in which one strip of flooring is used per plank.

3 Strip - The 3-in-1 plank look in which 3 strips of flooring are used per plank.

A

Acclimatisation - The process of allowing a floor to adapt to the humidity the room it will be installed in to prevent warping or shrinkage. This is done by leaving it in the room in which it is to be installed for the recommended time.

Adhesive -A glue that sticks a floor to the subfloor and keeps it in place. Not all floors require adhesive.

Antique - A traditional, vintage or old fashioned design on a floor. 

B

BeadingA product that surrounds the perimeter to make the edges appear smarter and cover expansion gaps.

Bevelled Edge - An edge that has a groove that dips slightly downwards rather than ending straight and horizontal. This makes a floor look more natural, which is why 95% of solid and engineered floors have it, as well as many laminates and LVT. A bevelled edge can also be known as a V Groove.

Borders - The design running around the flooring’s edge.

Bowed - Flooring is bowed when it doesn’t lie flat, or deviates in direction. Once acclimatised, bowed flooring can settle into shape.

Brand – A product that has a brand associated with it lets you know that that product will be consistent regardless of where it is purchased from. The manufacturer and company name are parts of the brand.

Brushed – During production, a brush goes over each floor plank to give it a textured finish. .

C

Character Grade – Also known as natural grade. One step before rustic grade flooring, and has a considerable number of knots, colour variations, holes and cracks. Some manufacturers use wood filler to reduce holes and cracks on this grade.

Classic Grade – Also known as Select grade. Slightly more knots than prime grade flooring, just enough to look a bit more natural.

Click– A popular joining method on wood, laminate and LVT floors. Floors with this method simply fit together with ease like a jigsaw.

Colour Variation – The occurrence of natural difference in colour in natural wood flooring from one plank or batch to the next.

Construction – What the product is made out of. 

D

Delamination – When the laminate or veneer and backing separate.

DistressedA worn look created in the manufacturing process and characterised by scratches and imperfections.

DPM – Damp Proof Membrane (DPM) is used to prevent moisture from rising to and ruining a floor. It is incorporated in some underlays.

Durability – The ability of a floor to withstand footfall or other damage over time. This determines how well a product will maintain its appearance. 

E

Edge Detail -  Whether a product has square or bevelled (V Groove) edges.

End Joint - Where two planks join at the ends.

End Profile - A product that covers the edge of a floor where it touches a wall or finishes at a carpet for example. It can hide expansion gaps and make a floor look smarter. 

Engineered -Layers of plywood as backing, and covered with a solid wood veneered wear layer. This maintains a natural wood appearance but has different properties to a solid wood product.

European – Raw materials that have been sourced in Europe.

F

Feature Strip – A design feature used to separate LVT planks and add style.

Filler –A substance used to fill natural knots, or cracks, holes and dints caused by damage. Some acrylic varieties can also fill gaps between planks.

Finish – A coating on the floor surface that can offer protection and colouring.

Fixed Lengths - When all planks are the same length. Starter planks are often added to packs to reduce the amount of cutting that needs to take place.

Floating Floor – A floor that is either clicked together using the click/tongue and groove system, or instead planks are bonded together at the tongue and groove. Floating a floor replaces the need for nailing or glueing directly to the subfloor. 

G

Grade –Determines the level of natural and rustic characteristics visible on the floor, such as knots and variation. Examples are rustic grade and prime grade.

Grouting Strip – A design feature used between LVT planks to give an appearance of grouting between tiles. This can be used to incorporate different colours or add style to your floor.

H

Hand Scraped – A manufacturing process that causes an uneven surface on the floor which adds character.

Hard Wax Oil – A finishing product that creates a protective layer.

HDF – High Density Fibreboard (HDF) is a highly compressed and durable type of fibreboard. It is used in some engineered flooring.

Herringbone –A pattern on flooring, usually parquet blocks but available as a design on other floors.

High Gloss – A floor with an extremely shiny surface.

Humidity – The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. 

J

Joint –The point where two plank edges meet.

Joist – Parallel support beams used when constructing floors and ceilings.

K

Kiln Dried – When artificial heat is used to dry a product in a kiln.

Knot – A visibly patterned portion of flooring that has been formed by previous existence a branch. The rest of the grain grows around branches that drop off, causing the knot appearance. They can add character and warmth to a floor.

L

Lacquer – A flooring finish that protects a floor by creating a film on the surface. This can have a different appearance depending on the lacquer used.

Laminate Flooring – A flooring type that has an MDF core and melamine wear layer. It is sold as tile or wood planks.

Larch – A species of extremely durable wood useable in wet rooms.

Living Grade – A popular Parador wood grade with a lively and earthy character. One step below their Rustic grade floors with equally prominent knots and grain, but with less frequency in comparison to the Rustic varieties.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles – Also known as LVT, these are vinyl floor tiles or planks and can have wood, stone or other effects. They are not to be confused with rolls of vinyl.

M

Maintenance – The process of looking after your flooring.

Matt -  A non-reflective finish that is the direct opposite to glossy.

Multi-ply – A backing for engineered planks, formed by multiple plywood layers that have been tightly compressed. 

N

Natural Grade – Also known as character grade. One step before rustic grade flooring, and has a considerable number of knots, colour variations, holes and cracks. Some manufacturers use wood filler to reduce holes and cracks on this grade.

Nosing – A product that creates an edge or corner to a step, improving appearance and safety. These should be chosen to match your flooring colour for a consistent and natural look.

O

Oil – A product used as a finish on solid or engineered wood floors to add protection. It seeps into the floor instead of creating a film, unlike a lacquer. Lots of different shades are available. 

P

Parquet –Individual blocks that are designed to be laid in a pattern such as versailles, herringbone or chevron. These are available as solid or engineered wood products.

Plywood - Many layers of wood compressed together to create a board that offers dimensional stability and can level out subfloors.

Polyurethane –A protective finish for solid or engineered flooring products.

Prefinished –A floor that comes with a finish already added with a stain, oil or lacquer. Unfinished varieties are available if you prefer to add this yourself.

Prime Grade – A floor without knots, variations or imperfections. Although prime grade floors are natural wood, they may not look it.

Profiles – Wood products that finish openings, doorways, and corners. They can cover expansions gaps, make for smoother transitions between floors, and add style.

Q

Quadrant – A convex piece of wood that hides expansion gaps and finishes your floor. 

R

Ramp Profile – A door profile used where floors of differing heights meet to create a smoother transition. For floors of the same height, T profiles can instead be used. 

Random Lengths – Various plank lengths within the same pack - some are short and some are long. The number of long and short planks varies per pack and is not always equal in number.

Reclaimed – Wood that was once used and has now been salvaged. It can create an authentic aged and traditional look, and may contain lots of history.

Rustic Grade – A natural wood floor that has knots, colour variations, mineral stains, imperfections and blemishes. 

S

Sanding – Using a sander to strip layers off a solid or engineered floor for refinishing. There are a limited number of times you can do this depending on the product and type of wood.

Sapwood – Wood that has come from the outside of a tree, as opposed to the visibly darker core.

Scotia – A wood product used to hide expansion gaps and finish a floor. It curves upwards to form a half rounded shape.

Screed –A self-levelling compound made from latex that can even out a subfloor.

Secret Nailing – An installation method involving putting a nail into the tongue of a plank to nail it directly to the subfloor. The nail is not visible as it will be underneath the plank.

Select Grade – Also known as classic grade. Slightly more knots than prime grade flooring, just enough to look a bit more natural.

Skirting Boards – Wood used around the perimeter of a floor to hide expansion gaps and finish it off with style.

Smoked –A manufacturing used to darken the look of a floor.

Solid Wood Flooring – A floor consisting of one species of wood only.

Square Edge – An edge that does not have a bevel or groove when the planks are connected together, making a tighter fit. The planks will lie flush against eachother.

Stair Nosing – A profile that connects two flooring products or planks on a step. It can make stairs safer and look more professional.

Subfloor – The floor on which your new flooring will be placed. It can be made of floorboards, plywood, concrete or bricks. 

T

Textured Surface - The feel of a floor that is stronger than that without a texture. This can also be recognised just by looking at the floor.

Threshold - A wood profile that finishes a floor by covering openings and adding elegance.

Tongue and Groove – The joints that connect one plank to another. The tongue and groove slide into one another to create a locking system. 

U

Underlay – A layer of cushioned protection that is placed on top of the subfloor and beneath the newly placed floor. These can include DPM to prevent moisture. Underlay may also cushion a floor to make it more comfortable to walk on.

Unfinished -  A wood product that hasn’t had any finish applied and is the most natural state it can be. You can apply finish yourself or leave it unfinished for the ultimate rustic look.

UV Finish –A variety of polyurethane finish that protects the floor from damage caused by natural light. 

V

V Groove -Also known as a bevelled edge. An edge that has a groove that dips slightly downwards rather than ending straight and horizontal. This makes a floor look more natural, which is why 95% of solid and engineered floors have it, as well as many laminates and LVT.

Vapour Barrier - A layer of material that protects a floor against moisture. It is different to DPM, and should only be used as a replacement when the humidity level is known.

Veneer -A species of solid wood that has been bonded to a wood composite such as HDF or plywood. 

W

Warping - A shift in the shape and size of wood when not acclimatised properly or exposed to temperatures and humidity the product cannot handle. This is visible when a floor doesn’t lie flat and the direction deviates. This fixes itself once acclimatised.

Wide Plank – A product that has wider planks than the average product.

Width - When we refer to width on this site, we are talking about the width of individual planks. 

Whitewashed- When a floor has been stained and finished to give a white appearance.