Important Hardwood Floor Terms

By December 16, 2015 Info Articles No Comments

6 Hardwood Flooring Terms You Should Get To Know

engieer, custom steps, cottageWhen it comes to finishing a modern home with a glossy, magnificent and luxurious look, hardwood floors always earn the medal. That explains why hardwood installation contractors are always in demand. Unfortunately, dealing with them is often an uphill task, especially for first time homeowners. Some even say that the contractors engage their clients in conversations peppered with hard-to-comprehend flooring terms.

Homeowners often have to deal with the fact that they only understood a fraction of what their contractors often say while discussing the hardwood flooring installation progress. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Let’s get to know 6 hardwood flooring basic terms that will help you understand hardwood flooring applications better:

Wood Acclimatization

It is both a procedure and a process where one placed wood flooring in an area where it is supposed to be installed to enable it to adjust to the moisture content as well as the temperature of a given area. Acclimatization usually takes two to three days, though it can be longer in some instances. This is extremely important if the hardwood floor in question has been imported. Allowing it to acclimatize will ensure it doesn’t contract or expand and eventually force the contractors to readjust floor measurements.

Coefficient of Expansion

Just like metal, wood usually contracts and expands with changes in temperature and moisture. The rate at which one’s hardwood floor contracts or expands depends on the timber’s porosity. Beech for instance has a different porosity compared to oak.  Your contractor will measure the porosity of the type of wood your intended hardwood floor is made of and make installation adjustments accordingly. It is then that you will hear of the term Coefficient of Expansion. In a layman’s term, C of E is simply ‘timber stability’.


Hardwood floors come in different categories. Each category features different grades. There is first prime, then country then factory.  Your contractor may assume you know all the basic categories and the grading system under each category. Ask for clarification. Unlike wood acclimatization or coefficient of expansion, grading is easy to understand.  Then note that as far hardwood floors are concerned, grades and species specific. For instance, Grade 1 Prime Oak might contain sapwood or knots. Prime walnut Grade 1 on the other hand may be plain.

Tongue and Groove

It is a technique used by hardwood flooring contractors to join individual pieces of floor chips together to form a uniform, homogenous unit. A tongue is cut off from the edge of a wood block and stripped to project outwards. A groove on the outside is then made to snugly fit into the groove.  The whole process can be done onsite or the hardwood floor in question can come complete with tongues and grooves. The former option costs times but is of course, pocket friendly. Note that there are no industry standards as far tongues and grooves are concerned.


Not to be confused with notes. A knot is simply a spot in the grain of wood where a branch or a bud once grew. It occurs while a tree is still growing. Small knot and burrs can be attractive on some timbers like Birch and Cherry.

Kiln Dried

Timber used for wood flooring has to be dried in a kiln before it can be packaged for distribution. The kiln reduces moisture content by as much as 10%. It is easy for the average homeowner to wonder why moisture regulation matters a lot when it comes to wood flooring. There are several reasons. First off, wood absorbs water, which makes it susceptible to mold infestation and rot. It therefore has to be completely dried before it can be covered with a layer of gloss or veneer to prevent further absorption. Then there is also the fact that kiln dried wooden floors hardly contract or expand.

Even after understanding these 6 basic terms, there might be other industry-specific terms you might not know. However, if you work with a contractor who specializes in hardwood flooring in Vaughanand genuinely want to serve your needs well, the contractor will take time to explain difficult terms related to hardwood floors so that both you and the contractor can be on the same page when it comes to the progress of the hardwood flooring project.