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If you can’t identify a flooring term as you search our website, look it up here.




A suspended floor, located above ground level, with a minimum of 18 inches of -ventilated air space below. A suspended floor is normally over a basement, but may be over a crawl space.

AC Wear Layer

This durable wear layer protects against wear, stains, and fading. It offers the best resistance to scratches and indentations for your laminate floor.


Refers to the flooring's adjustment to the environment it is in, in terms of moisture and humidity. It is important to let flooring acclimate before installing.

Acrylic Infused

Liquid acrylic injected throughout the srface layer of wood to fortify the fibers for added durability.

Aluminum Oxide

A commonly used flooring finish because of its strength. Second in hardness to diamond, it serves as a protective coating for many hardwoods.




Below ground level; partially or completely below the surrounding ground level and in direct contact with the ground.

Beveled Edged

Refers to a type of edge available in hardwood flooring. Beveled edges have a “v” shaped groove that is commonly used in informal settings. This edge can also help hide uneven subflooring or differences in plank thickness.

Blind Nailing

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

Bruce® Lock&Fold® Installation

Installation method for Bruce Laminate flooring which features a unique tongue-and-groove profile that allows for easy installation of boards by just locking edges into place. No glue required. Offers the tightest fit and provides virtually seamless appearance.

Bull Nose

A smooth, rounded trim installed on a wall.


A swirl or twist in the grain of hardwood.


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Color Variation

Some wood species have a natural variation in light and dark tones from board-to-board.

Combination Base/Shoe

A finishing molding piece used along the outermost edges of the floor where it meets the wall.

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.


Warping where the center boards are higher than the sides.


Warping where the sides are higher than the center.


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Dimensional Stability

The ability of flooring to retain its original dimensions during the service life of the product.

Distressed Visual

A design term that describes an aged, timeworn look.

DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

DIY is an acronym for “do it yourself,” referring to projects that can be installed without a professional. DIY levels range from easy to difficult. The more advanced levels require more complex tools and more DIY project experience.

DPL (Direct Pressure Laminate)

Direct pressure laminate is the most typical fusing method used to manufacture residential laminate flooring. With this method, the surface, inner layers, and backing layer are fused in a single press operation.


Clear finish that consists of multiple layers of ultraviolet-cured urethane resins that form a hard traffic- and wear-resistant barrier that protects the wood from soils and stains.

Dura-Luster® Plus

Dura-Luster Plus is a urethane finish with aluminum oxide crystals that provides outstanding durability and abrasion resistance.


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Eased Edge

Type of edge available in hardwood flooring that is shallower and more rounded than a “v”-shaped, beveled edge.

Edge Detail

A term that describes the way hardwood and laminate board edges and ends are cut. Edges and ends are typically described as square, eased, beveled, and microbeveled.


A manufacturing process that intensifies the depth, texture, and realistic look of the floor by aligning the embossing with the printed design. This technique is used on Bruce laminate and vinyl floor products.


A term describing hardwood construction. Engineered hardwood boards are manufactured from multiple layers – or plies – of wood assembled in a cross-ply construction. The top layer reveals the wood species and color when the planks are installed. Due to its construction, engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood and can be installed below grade and over concrete subfloor.


Changes in dimension of a wood floor due to swelling and contracting as a result of moisture.

Expansion Gap

Area of perimeter in a space left to account for expansion.

Expansion Spacing

Amount of space left at the baseboard to allow for expansion.


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Face Nail

Nailing technique that secures flooring by using nails perpendicular to the surface, rather than at a concealed angle (blind nailing).

Filled Face

Provides an extra smooth furniture quality “piano” finish.


Hardwood – the surface coating on pre-finished flooring. Usually either a UV-cured urethane or UV-cured urethane with aluminum oxide finish.

Laminate – clear wear layer protects the floor from high abrasion, stains, fading, and wear-through.

Flat Sawn (also “plain-sawn”)

Wood cut in long planks where the rings run parallel to the board.


Installation method in which individual planks are glued and/or locked together, without direct attachment to the subfloor.

Floating Floor

A floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor and can be installed over most existing floors, including concrete, ceramic, vinyl, wood, and even some indoor/outdoor carpet.

Floor Protectors

Screw-on attachments for the bottom of chair and table legs to distribute the weight of furniture evenly in order to reduce indentations. Abrasions can be prevented with unique, replaceable felt pads on the floor protectors.


Forest Stewardship Council. An independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Flush Reducer

Used to level the height between a two floor surfaces. Also used a transition from room to room.

Flush Stair Nose

Allows a smooth transition between the stair edge and the riser.

Forest Stewardship Council

An independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Full Bathroom

A bathroom with sink, toilet, and bathing facilities, including one or more of the following: shower, bathtub, Jacuzzi/whirlpool, spa, and sauna.


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Gloss Level

Different sheens that describe levels of gloss on the floor. They are: high gloss, semi-gloss, low gloss, and ultra-low gloss.

Grade Level

Grade refers to the construction level relative to the ground around it. Below grade is below ground level, on grade is at ground level, and above grade is above ground level.


The visible lines in wood that show the natural growth rings of the log.


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Half Bathroom

A bathroom with only a sink and a toilet – no bath, shower, or spa.


Also called hand-sculpted. Hardwood planks are individually scraped to create distinctive, one-of-a-kind floors.


The non-living, central wood of a tree. Heartwood is stronger, more resistant to decay, and less easily penetrated by wood-preservative chemicals than sapwood.

High-density Fiberboard (HDF)

A core board used to make engineered hardwood. HDF provides more stability than plywood. It is made by compressing fibers of wood chips with an adhesive or binder at high temperatures.

HPL (High Pressure Laminate)

High pressure laminate is an extra-hard fusing process used to manufacture laminate flooring. The surface, inner layers, and backing layer are fused in a multiple-step press operation.


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Installation Level

Refers to the grade levels of the installation site.


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Janka Hardness

Refers to the hardness rating on a scale for wood species. The rating is determined by the amount of force it takes to drive a .444 inch steel ball into a plank of wood .222 inches in diameter.


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The portion of a branch that has been surrounded by subsequent growth of the wood of the trunk or other portions of the tree. A knot appears on the sawed surface, but it’s merely a section of the entire knot, its shape depending on the direction of the cut.


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Lacy Act

Prohibits all trade in plant and plant products illegally sourced from any U.S. State or foreign country.

Laminate Backing

A thermo-fused backing that provides additional strength and protection and ensures the floor stays flat, even when exposed to bottom-up moisture, which is particularly common with installations over concrete.

Laminate Flooring

Hard surface flooring utilizing a fiberboard core and Melamine wear layer that is available in blocks, planks, and squares and can be installed as individual units.

Laminate Flooring Glue

Adhesive used to provide extra durability and moisture resistance in areas that might be exposed to high moisture, such as bathrooms and near kitchen sinks.

Laminate Image Layer

The look of your laminate floor, in a wide variety of domestic and exotic wood, stone, and tile visuals. Laminate Surface A clear wear layer for super protection, even against the harsh punishment of sunlight, stains, and burns.


The industry’s fastest and easiest type of hardwood installation system. The system locks planks together without the use of glue, nails, or staples. Can be used with both hardwood and laminate floors, depending on the product.

Locking Floating/Locking Installation System

Method of installing laminate or wood flooring with a unique tongue-and-groove profile that allows for easy installation of boards by just locking edges into place. No glue is required. Allows for installation up to 30% faster than standard installation. Locking floors “float” over the subfloor.

Lumber Grade

The National Oak Flooring Mfg. Assoc. (NOFMA) standard grading system for unfinished flooring that determines how many defects are acceptable in wood sold.


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Magnum HDF™ Core

The exclusive Bruce core that provides stability, lasting durability and moisture resistance.

Magnum Plus HDF™ Core

The exclusive Bruce core that provides stability, lasting durability and moisture resistance. Plus, the thicker core offers a more substantial feel and optimum sound absorption.

Masterworks Technology®

Print technology used to create highly realistic patterns. Colors are vibrant and natural with intensified depth and realism.

Masterworks Technology® with VTx™

Our premium laminate collections feature superior print technology with in-register embossing for realistic color, grain, intensity, and depth.

Micro Bevel Edge

Similar to a bevel edge, but with a shallower “v”-shaped groove.

Mineral Streak

Mineral matter in wood created by sap, more or less visible in boards, depending on the grade of lumber.

Mixed Media

A decorating term that refers to the use of multiple materials in one piece of furniture, art, or installation. Ex: Wood flooring with slate accents.

Moisture Content

The amount of moisture in real wood.


Trim or transition pieces that give an installed floor a finished look.

M.S.D.S. (Materials Safety Data Sheet)

Lists hazardous ingredients, safety precautions, and first aid information about a product.


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Nail Down

A flooring installation method that uses nails to attach flooring to a subfloor.

Natural Stain

Clear finish for wood that allows the natural colors and grain to show.


National Wood Flooring Association


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Refers to the ground level of a building. Solid wood floors should only be installed on-grade or above-grade (higher than ground level).


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Inlaid woodwork in geometric forms, sometimes of contrasting woods, used in flooring. A common example is individual pickets of wood flooring, adhered together in groups of six pickets – then four picketed squares are alternately adhered to form a tile pattern.


The change in wood color over time from light exposure and other natural elements.


A hardwood floor finish that features an extra-hard urethane coating with aluminum oxide for superior resistance to surface wear-through.

Photo Sensitivity

The likelihood that a floor’s natural color will change after long-term exposure to natural light.


Board width is 3 inches or greater.

Plain-Sawn (also “flat sawn”)

Standard way of cutting logs to make hardwood flooring.

Ply (Plies)

Another word for a layer of wood, typically used to describe engineered hardwood construction layers.


A type of finish used on hardwood to protect it from damage. Polyurethane finishes do not require waxing.


Hardwood floors that are stained with color and sealed with a protective finish by the manufacturer prior to installation.


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Quarter Round Molding

Detail piece that finishes the space where hardwood or laminate flooring meets the wall.


Cutting method where logs are sliced perpendicular to the annual growth rings of the tree. This type of cutting creates a straight grain appearance.


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Radiant Heating

System installed under flooring to keep floors at a comfortable temperature. Typically used under stone and ceramic floors.

Random Length

Flooring sold in cartons with boards that have different lengths.

Random Width

Flooring sold in cartons with boards that have different widths. Random width boards create a traditional or vintage look.

Reclaimed Wood

Wood salvaged from an old structure and refinished for another project, like furniture or floors.

Reducer Strip

Molding that finishes the space between hardwood or laminate flooring and other flooring surfaces, like vinyl or carpet.


The act of sanding down a wood floor and finishing it again to reduce the appearance of wear and tear or to change the stain color. A solid wood floor may be refinished many times, while an engineered wood floor can only be refinished if the veneer is 2mm or thicker.


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The tree's pipeline for moving water and minerals up the tree trunk to the leaves. Sapwood is new wood. As newer rings of sapwood are produced, its inner cells lose their vitality and turn into heartwood.

Shoe Molding

Humidity-resistant molding for high traffic areas.

Site-Finished (vs. “prefinished”)

Hardwood floors that are stained with color and sealed with a protective finish at the installation site.

Solid Wood

Boards manufactured from ONE piece of wood, unlike engineered wood, which uses multiple plies to form the boards.


Type of tree, such as oak, cherry, or walnut. Different wood species have different levels of hardness that affect durability; graining, which affects the board’s look; and natural color, which can be kept natural or stained.

Square Edge

Floor board edges that are created to lay flush to the next board to decrease the appearance of lines between boards. Square edges give a room a more formal look.

Square Nose

Trim used along the walls of floating floors.

Stair Nose Molding

A finishing piece applied to the forward edge of stairs, step-downs, and landings, creating a rounded quality finish.

Strip Flooring

Board width is less than 3 inches.

Structural Integrity

A term often used in a guarantee or warranty to assure the floor’s composition/construction will remain intact.


The structural layer intended to provide the home's floor support, which may receive floor coverings directly if the surface is appropriate, or indirectly via an underlayment if the surface is not suitable.


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Measure of the wear of flooring through resistance. The industry standard is 300-600 cycles of abrasion testing.


The term used to describe the surface look and feel of flooring. Textures can range from silky smooth to hand-scraped and distressed.


Molding piece that finishes the space between two areas of hardwood or laminate flooring. For laminate, it also fills the gap at doorways.

Tongue and Groove

Refers to the profile construction of the board edges, which allows them to be pushed together and locked for a more stable construction.

Transition Strip

Installation accessory that bridges two floors of different heights to equalize the height differential. Transition strips are functional and decorative.


A finishing piece applied to the area where the wood transitions to another flooring level or another flooring type.


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Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of the light spectrum. UV light wavelengths cannot be seen by the human eye.


Layer of material usually installed on or over a subfloor that provides a surface suitable to receive a new floor covering.


A protective finish that maintains a like-new appearance without waxing, buffing, or polishing.

Urethane Finish with Aluminum Oxide

A hardwood flooring finish second only to diamonds in hardness. Provides high abrasion and stain resistance.


UV lighting bonds the molecular structure of the urethane finish to improve stain resistance and to make the floor easier to clean.


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An Armstrong® exclusive installation aid for sealing concrete with excess moisture, prior to installing the floor.


A flooring or furniture finish that uses oils that are cured slowly over time.


A thin layer of real hardwood glued to a core to create engineered hardwood flooring. Veneers can vary in thickness from 0.6mm to 6mm.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

VOC is an acronym for volatile organic compounds, which are gases that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma, and upper respiratory infections. All Bruce floors have very low VOC levels.


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White Wash

A type of wood finish that cures over time and provides a chalky, worn look. White wash is a cost-effective finishing option.


The width of the individual wood boards that make up the floor. “Strips” are narrow boards measuring less than 3 inches wide. “Planks” are wider boards, measuring 3 inches wide or more.


A distressing technique to give wood boards a time-worn look.

Wood Species

The primary species from which the wood floor is made, e.g., oak, hickory, maple, etc.

Wood Stain

A type of paint that is very "thin" or low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. The stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder.


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