Flooring 101: 7 Industry Terms You Should Know

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If you have been searching for flooring lately, you have probably heard terms like tongue and groove, floating flooring, or engineered, among other common industry terms. Given the abundance of flooring available today, being an informed consumer is more important than ever.

Today, let’s look at 7 of the most common industry terms that you should know as you explore flooring for your project.

1. Acclimation

Prior to installing new floors your builder or installer may recommended to acclimate the flooring. This can be beneficial in some environments, as it allows the flooring to slowly adjust to the temperature and humidity of the space in which it will be installed.  Generally speaking the flooring arrives, and it will sit in the room where it will be installed for a certain number of days – your installer can provide the best guidance on this.  You should be prepared for acclimation by ensuring there is ample space to store the flooring prior to installation, ideally in a large enough room where it won’t get scratched or dirty.

2. Engineered

Engineered refers to the process of using multiple layers of material (typically wood) and adhering them to a thicker backing of some kind to create a solid flooring product.  Torlys Smart Floors hardwood flooring, available exclusively as smartfloorstore.com is no exception.

“Torlys hardwood flooring, uses thirty times more hardwood flooring is produced from a single tree when compared with 3/4” solid hardwood.”

When considering an engineered floor there are a variety of characteristics to shop for but four of the most important are:

  • How thick is the hardwood layer and how is it cut
  • How thick is the backing and what is it made of

The hardwood layer used to make the engineered floors should look like real wood. Some cutting methods create flooring that looks like particle board or plywood. Be sure to look at samples, and photographs to get the best overall idea of what the floor will look like.

The best kind of backing to use for an engineered floating floor is cork.  Cost is soft, a natural sound dampener, and provides stability and performance, especially in wide plank styles.  You also want to make sure the backing of the floor is slightly thicker than the top layer, to improve performance.

3. Floating Flooring

Floating flooring is flooring that does not need to be installed to a subfloor.  This is incredibly beneficial because it means you can install the flooring over almost any kind of substrate – plywood, old tile or stone, or even that ugly green 1970’s linoleum!

The ability to install the flooring in this manner really depends on the interlocking mechanism that is milled into the flooring… read on to learn more about that.

4. Tongue & Groove / Uniclic

Tongue and groove is a common edge profile for flooring.  As the name implies, one side of the flooring will have a tongue that sticks out about ¼”, the other side will have a groove in which the tongue of other boards will fit into. Typically, with tongue and groove flooring, you need to blind nail and glue the flooring, this is how you secure the flooring to the substrate. But there is an easier way. Instead of getting flooring with a tongue and groove, look for flooring with a Uniclic® Joint.  You can learn more about the features and benefits of the Unclic Joint in our recent Flooring 101 blog post.  One of the best benefits though, is with floating flooring, like Torlys Smart Floors you don’t need to bother with glue or nails!

5. Bevelled  

The beveled edge – as the name implies – is a slight bevel that is milled into the flooring during manufacturing and is visible once you put the flooring together.  There are many benefits to a microbevel, since subfloors tend to be uneven, this milling technique can hide those imperfections, creating a more seamless look for your floor.

6. Cutting Allowance

When you order flooring you never want to order just the amount that you need, you always order a little bit more to account for waste that is created during installation.   Many people also order more to keep it as “attic stock” so they have additional flooring available, should they need to repair or replace the flooring at any point over the life of the floor.  Generally speaking an 10% cutting allowance is ideal.

7. End Match

As we discussed earlier flooring normally has a tongue and groove or Unclic joint as the interlocking mechanism along the sides of the flooring.  End matching is very similar to this, it involves a manufacturing technique that creates a tongue and groove at the ends of the boards too. It is not necessary that your floor is made with this specification, it’s a “nice to have” but not a “need to have” in most cases.

Have questions about these, or other terms, you’ve run into along the way, never fear, our floating flooring specialists are here to help.  Contact us anytime. 


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