The following definitions are some of the more frequent flooring terms you will find when looking for laminate and wood flooring.

Acclimatisation

Acclimatisation is a process that allows wood to adjust to its new environment. By leaving the floors inside the room for a certain period of time, the natural moisture content of the wood is able to adjust to the relative normal conditions of where it will be installed.

In the long term, this crucial first step will help to alleviate the gapping, swelling or buckling of floors after installation.

AC Rating

AC rating applies to laminate flooring and denotes what conditions the boards are suitable for. AC1 Laminate boards are the suitable only for residential areas with low foot traffic, while AC5 or higher will be durable enough for commercial areas with heavy foot traffic.

Brushed

The surface of the wood is roller brushed to remove some of the softer summer growth rings from the grain; this gives a textured surface that gently highlights the natural grain structure.

Checks

A Check is a type of crack. As wood loses moisture to the surrounding atmosphere, the outer fibres of lose moisture more rapidly than the inner fibres. As outer fibres shrink, they are restrained by the inner portion. The more rapid the rate of drying, the greater will be the differential in shrinkage between the outer and inner fibres resulting in higher stresses. These stresses can cause characteristic wood seasoning checks.

Cupping

Cupping is a natural reaction to moisture and should not be a concern if they occur only to a minor extent. More severe cases, however, indicate a serious moisture problem.

Cupping describes a condition in which the edges of a board are high and its centre is lower. Humidity is usually the culprit; the moisture causes the wood to swell, crushing the boards together and deforming them at the edges. Often the floor will naturally dry out and improve over time. Fans may be necessary to speed the drying process.

Damp Proof Membrane

A damp proof membrane (DPM) is a protective layer used to stop subfloor moisture entering the floor. This layer is a requirement if you intend to install over a concrete subfloor.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered Wood flooring is composed of three or more layers of wood in the form of a plank. The top wear layer is the wood that is visible when the flooring is installed, and is adhered to a core of either soft wood slats, HDF or plywood layers to provide the stability to resist environmental changes in temperature and humidity.

Fibreboard

Is a type of engineered wood product that is made out of wood fibres. Types of fibreboard (in order of increasing density) include particle board, medium-density fibreboard, and hardboard. A Fibreboard underlay can be used for all floating installation floors like laminate and engineered flooring.

Floor Grading

When it comes to wood flooring, the wood used is graded by the manufacturers according to its appearance. Generally speaking, the features taken into account when grading wood include (but are not limited to): the number and size of knots; the amount of sap present in the wood and its colour variations.

There are four grades to choose from, ranging from clean and contemporary Prime grade, through Select, Natural and finally Rustic grade, which has the most natural character markings.

Heartwood

The inner, darker section of a tree trunk is the heartwood. Heartwood is formed from old, "retired" sapwood, and becomes the strong spine of the tree. Heartwood is preferred for woodworking, as it is far less susceptible to fungus and doesn't contain nearly as much moisture as sapwood, which means it will shrink less when dried.

Humidity

Is a term for the amount of water vapour in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. In everyday usage, it commonly refers to relative humidity, expressed as a per cent in weather forecasts and on household humidistats; it is so called because it measures the current absolute humidity relative to the maximum.

Interlocking Joint

Interlocking is a way of jointing timber. Each piece is cut to fit against or into another to prevent displacement and to transfer forces. The joint must either be in compression, pinned or keyed after assembly.

Joinery

Joinery is a part of woodworking that involves joining together pieces of wood, to create furniture, structures, toys, and other items. Some wood joints employ fasteners, bindings, or adhesives, while others use only wood elements.

Kiln Drying

Kiln drying dramatically reduces the drying time of timber, from years and months to weeks; temperature, humidity and ventilation must be carefully controlled in order for the process to work effectively.

Knots

A knot is a particular type of imperfection in a piece of timber. While these can reduce the strength of the wood, they do have a natural aesthetic appeal.

Lacquered Flooring

In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that produces a hard, durable finish that can be further polished as required.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a multi-layer man made flooring product, fused together in a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood or stone, with a photographic layer under a clear protective layer. The core is usually composed of high density fibre (HDF) board. Most laminates are very easy to install as they all now have a click-lock system, meaning there is no need for glue. It has the advantages of being both strong and attractive, while costing less than natural floor materials.

Oiled Flooring

Oiled wood flooring is extremely versatile and has many benefits. The oils penetrate deeply into the wood, protecting and giving moisture resistance whilst allowing the wood to breathe. There are many finishes, with matt or satin oils available, as well as coloured oils to totally change the colouring.

Oiled wood floors require periodic oiling to keep them fresh and vibrant, but a massive advantage of re-applying the oil is that any scratches and scuff marks are instantly removed, resulting in a perfect finish once again.

Polyfoam

Polyfoam Underlay is manufactured to create a cushion between new Laminate/Engineered Flooring and your existing wood, chipboard or concrete sub-floors. Polyfoam Underlay will give insulation and protection and helps to make installation quick and easy.

Polythene

A full 1000 gauge damp proof membrane DPM (which meets all manufactures guidelines) for use over concrete, stone or tiled floors to help protect wood and laminate flooring from residual moisture or damp.

Ray

A narrow ribbon of cells, which transport and store food in a living tree. Rays run across the grain of timber which gives wood boards a rustic appeal.

Resin

Inflammable, water-soluble, vegetable substances secreted by certain plants or trees, characterizing the wood of many coniferous species.

Sapwood

Sapwood is the newly formed outer layer of a tree. Sapwood is usually lighter in colour than heartwood.

Scotia

Scotia is a simple beading profile that covers the expansion gap around the edge of a room. Scotia is suitable for use with most flooring.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is the most simple, natural type of flooring available. The boards are made from solid strips of real wood that have been treated and finished ready to be installed. As solid wood floors are a natural product they do require regular care and maintenance to keep them in good condition.

V-Grooves

Many planks have bevelled edges (V Grooves) on two or all four sides resulting in a very distinctive groove between the planks, adding more depth and dimension along with giving an individual definition to each plank.

Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring is made from a synthetic material that has been textured and decorated to closely resemble natural materials like wood.

Z-Edge

Brass effect door bar for connecting carpet to wood flooring or ceramic tiles to ensure the link between the two types of flooring is neat.