COVID-19 Update: We are open as usual

Call us today

07 3171 8430

Wood Flooring Explained

Wood Flooring Terms Explained

12 June 2017

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to understand a new industry and getting lost among the jargon. If you want to purchase timber for a project, you don’t want to be swindled due to ignorance or mistaken by quotes that are filled with industry-specific words and phrases.

What on earth is “above-grade” and why should I consider “engineered wood”?

With this list of wood flooring terms, you can be empowered with the right information and able to ask timber companies the right questions.

Above Grade

Suspended floor, located above ground level, with a minimum of 46cm of ventilated air space below.


This is a clear wood finish that’s known for its ease of use, fast drying times, and low odour.

Air Drying

Air drying is the traditional method of drying timber that occurs over several years. Also known as “seasoning”, it doesn’t usually reduce moisture content below 15%.


Below ground level, partially or completely, in direct contact with the ground.

Bevelled Edged

A Type of edge available in hardwood flooring, bevelled edging is distinguished by a “v” shaped groove. It’s commonly used in informal settings and can help hide uneven subflooring or differences in plank thickness.

Blind Nailing

The practice of forcing nails into grooves of tongue-and-groove flooring planks at a 45-degree angle using an electric flooring hammer.


A swirl or twist in the grain of hardwood.

Cross-Ply Construction

Engineered hardwood is constructed by stacking planks in alternating directions. This creates stable flooring that is less affected by moisture or changes in humidity.


This is warping where the centre boards are higher than the sides.


This is warping where the sides are higher than the centre.

Dimensional Stability

Dimensional stability is the ability of hardwood to retain its dimensions throughout its lifetime, avoiding warping, swelling, and contracting in response to moisture and changes in temperature and humidity. High dimensional stability means the floor does not significantly warp, shrink, or expand due to environmental changes.

Distressed Hardwood Flooring

This is Intentional scratching, scraping and/or gouging of flooring surfaces to create an antique look. It’s accomplished either through hand scraping or by machine. Hand scraped floors are unique when compared to machine-distressed floors, which may take away from the natural look. This type of flooring adds seasoned character to interiors and hides scratches well – perfect for high traffic areas.

Engineered Wood Flooring

The most stable wood flooring; made up of a good quality multi-layer cross-grain plywood back with a 4mm, 5mm or 6mm top layer. The thicker the top layer the more expensive the wood floor.

Face Nail

A nailing technique that secures flooring to the sub-flooring by using nails perpendicular to the surface of the floor.


This is a wax-based or urethane coating over hardwood flooring.

Moisture Content

Moisture content refers to the amount of moisture in the wood flooring. You typically want around 8% or less for the subfloor – otherwise, the wood will draw moisture up and begin to swell.


Flooring that is stained and sealed before installation, usually at the flooring factory.

Tongue and Groove

The groove is machined into the side of the wood floorboard and the tongue is machined to exactly match the groove and protrudes from the edge of the board. The top of the tongue is normally 5mm to 6mm from the top surface of the floorboard on a solid and engineered board.

Looking for timber decking or wood flooring in Brisbane?

Sunstate Timbers, Deception Bay, have provided customers with quality wood supplies for customers across Brisbane. If you’re looking to buy timber, take a look at our splendid range at our lumber yard.

The wood flooring jargon doesn’t stop there but neither do we. If you need anything explained to you, trust the timber experts at Sunstate Timbers in Brisbane.

Contact the Sunstate Timbers team on (07) 3171 8430 or via our online form for quality advice.