Wood Floor Trends

An A-Z of Wood Flooring Jargon: Wood Flooring Terms Explained

Rob Patwary

Rob Patwary

July 07, 2020

When entering into the world of wood flooring, you’ll often hear some terminology that is unfamiliar and very specific to this industry such as grain, knots, parquet and t-moulding.

It’s important to have some understanding of the language being used when talking about wood flooring so that you can be fully involved in the process of picking the right wood floor and ensuring that it is installed correctly, even if you have the support of a wood flooring expert.

Here are some of the more common wood flooring terms with a clear and concise definition...


This is the process of allowing your wood flooring to gradually adjust to its new environment before fitting it. Wood expands and contracts with changes in temperature and moisture levels so you want to avoid this happening after the wood has been fitted, hence you should allow it to sit in the room where it will be installed for 3-7 days (depending on whether it’s solid wood or engineered wood) beforehand.


This is a strip of wood, essentially an accessory, used to cover expansion gaps around the edge of the room where your wood flooring is fitted. They are sometimes referred to as floor edge trims and can come in a range of materials.


Brushed wood flooring is a type of textured finish where each board has been treated with a wire brush to achieve deeper, more pronounced grains and make the wood a little more resistant to scratches.
This works well in homes with a lot of natural wood and a more rustic or traditional aesthetic.
Learn more about textured finishes here


Chevron is a specific pattern within parquet flooring.
It can be recognised as a v-shaped design where the wood planks meet at a sharp point creating a regulated zigzag pattern.

The flow of the directional pattern makes small and narrow spaces feel far longer and it naturally lends itself to Scandinavian style interiors thanks to its refined look.
Learn more about chevron and parquet wood flooring here


This is a wood flooring issue where the centre of the board is raised and dips down on the edges of the plank.
It can be caused by a number of things including exposure to moisture that has caused the floorboards to swell and push against one another, or from sanding a floor that was cupped.


This is the opposite of crowning, and is when the flooring dips down in the centre of the plank and curves upwards at the edges. It is usually caused by the floor being exposed to moisture, making it expand and alter in shape.


Distressed wood flooring is one that has been carefully scraped or bashed by hand or machines to give it more character and make it look older and used.
It’s perfect for those who love the antique look and want their property to look more rustic and traditional.
Learn more about distressed wood flooring here

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood flooring is made up of multiple layers of wood - the surface layer, which is made from real hardwood, and the base layer which can either be a layer of plywood or a three-ply block construction.
It is more affordable than solid wood and is often more practical and resilient which is why it’s the more popular choice of the two.
Learn more about engineered wood flooring here


The finish of wood flooring refers to the protective coating applied to the floor and can range from matte and high-gloss to lacquer and oil.
New wood floors are usually pre-finished (the finish is applied before installation) but finish is also applied after a floor has been sanded down as part of the re-finishing process.
It not only helps to protect the wood, but it has additional aesthetic benefits.

Learn more about finding the right finish for your wood floors here


Floated wood flooring uses a tongue and groove system or click system so the planks of wood are not secured directly to the floor; instead, the boards are held in place by the weight of the floor itself.

Learn more about floating wood floors here


The grain refers to the lines and patterns visible on the surface of the boards which is the arrangement of the wood fibres for that particular species/type of wood.
Rustic and traditional interiors tend to work better with more distinctive grains; whereas, contemporary styles lend themselves better to less visible grains.


Herringbone is a type of pattern within parquetry.
It’s one of the more popular wood flooring trends and uses simple rectangular blocks and lays them in a zigzag formation to create a mosaic effect that resembles fishbones - which is where the pattern gets its name.

You can learn more about herringbone flooring here

Inner Space Flooring


Knots occur naturally in wood where a branch grows out of the main trunk and are often a circular or oval shape with a dark outline.

Although they are often looked at as imperfections in the wood, they enhance the natural look and add character to the flooring which is great if you are going for that country-style, shabby chic aesthetic.


A lacquered wood flooring is one that has been coated with a resin, similar to varnish, leaving it with a glossy finish.

Learn more about finishes, including lacquer, here


Laminate wood flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product. The top layer is a printed image used to give it the appearance of wood flooring that has been coated with a clear protective layer. The core of the product is made from HDF.


Parquet is when the planks of wood flooring have been laid in a regular or geometric pattern, the most common being chevron and herringbone.

Learn more about parquet flooring here


Rustic refers to the appearance of the wood as a result of its condition or the way that it has been prepared.
This type of wood has enhanced imperfections, natural charm and is often reclaimed or reused lending itself well to country-style homes and cabins.


This is the process of using an abrasive tool on the wood as part of refinishing old or damaged flooring. It removes the top layer of wood and creates a smooth surface which leaves the floor looking as good as new.

Learn more about the refinishing process and how sanding works here

Sheen Level

Sheen level refers to how shiny your flooring looks and has four levels - matte (being the least shiny), satin, semi-gloss and glossy (being the most shiny).

The sheen level will determine how easy it is to maintain your wood floors, how much additional light the room receives and it can even heighten your floors’ durability.

Learn more about the different sheen levels here


Skirting is the wooden board that runs across the bottom of the walls around a room to hide the space where the wall meets the floor and help make the two look more fluid.
It’s mostly a decorative addition to rooms much like architrave.


This is the process of finishing wood floors by applying an oil to the top layer. This effectively stains the wood so that it matches the colour and feel of a particular space.

It’s purely for aesthetic purposes and offers little to no additional protection to the wood.


The subfloor acts as the foundation for the underlay and surface levels of flooring and is usually made from wood or concrete.

It provides a stable and level surface for which the new wood flooring can be installed quickly and easily.


A wood molding used to join two wood floors, or floors of the same height in adjoining rooms. It’s usually fitted in doorways and is not to be confused with beading.

Tongue and Groove

This is a simple method of wood flooring installation that requires you to fit the protruding edge (the tongue) of one plank of wood into a groove on the adjacent plank.
It’s the traditional alternative to the click fitting system.


Underlay is a thin layer of cushioning that sits beneath your wood flooring creating a barrier between the subfloor and the wood planks.
It’s made from sponge rubber, foam, felt or recycled plastic and it helps to provide insulation against sound, moisture and heat.


This refers to wood flooring that has not had any oil, lacquer or brushing applied to it; hence, it has no finish.
This type of wood is usually selected when the buyer wants to choose their own oil to stain the flooring once it has been installed.

Wear Layer

The wear layer is the surface layer of engineered or laminate wood flooring. It usually provides the durability, scratch and stain resistance as well as helping to maintain the appearance of your wood flooring for longer.


This is when wood flooring has been sanded down and stained in a white colour to make the room look brighter and help enhance homes with a shabby-chic, beachy aesthetic.

There are many more wood flooring terms that you may hear being thrown around when looking for your new flooring, and we are always here to help you get your head around it all.

For any questions or queries about wood flooring, we are here for you.
Call us today on 0121 684 4772 for more information