Very Common Flooring Terms About Features and Dimensions

Posted on Dec 30th 2011 by David — Comments ↓

Standard Dimensions and Special Features that affect the look of your floor


Most of our laminate flooring comes in around 5″. Many have designs to look like thinner planks, 2 strip and 3 strip laminates. Common widths for hardwood planks are 5″ and 3″. There are varieties, of course, but these are our most frequently occurring widths.


Hardwood flooring can come in what is called “Random Lengths”, which means that each box will contain a variety of board lengths for better patterning. 4 foot, 6 foot and 7 foot lengths are also common. Most of our laminates are pretty close to 4 feet long. Our second most frequent size is 54″ lengths.


It’s just what it sounds like, thickness of the board or plank. With laminate, this measurament will often include the pad, if it is already attached. Our laminates range from 6 to 14.3mm thick, the latter being the thickest laminate manufactured. 5/16″ to 3/4″ (or 12/16″) is the range of hardwood thicknesses.

Wear Layer

This is the top layer of a plank of wood flooring, and can refer to the layer of protective coating on a laminate product. On hardwood, the thickness of a wear layer affects the number of times a product can be refinished, especially with engineered flooring. With solid, since the entire board is one piece of wood, the wear layer would basically extend all the way down to the tongue portion of the tongue and groove installation system. With engineered hardwood, the wear layer is the species of the product. When you buy an engineered Oak flooring, the top layer, the visible layer, is the oak, and those underneath could be any other type of wood in a series of layers placed with the grain structures perpendicular to each other. That gives a fair amount of strength and resistance to environmental conditions, but the result is that the thickness of the wear layer limits how many times an engineered floor may be sanded and refinished. In fact, unlike some other retailers, Floors To Your Home doesn’t recommend doing this at all with engineered flooring.

Multi-Strip Laminates

Multi-Strip Laminates

A Single Width Board

Single Width

Ply (or plies)

Ply is typically the word used to describe a layer of engineered hardwood. As we said, engineered wood is composed of multiple layers, anywhere from three to nine plies. The top ply is the face of the material, displaying the species you’ve purchased. The layers in the middle can be made up of different species, or just different grades of the species on the face. These are stacked at 90 degree angles to each other, and are glued together under high pressure and some heat. With engineered hardwood, more plies means more resistance to denting, greater durability and less response to changes in temperature and humidity.

Edge Design

This is the way the ends of a plank of flooring are cut, usually a feature to factor into a laminate purchase. The edge design will determine how the planks will look when installed, whether appearing like a single, smooth surface or more greatly resembling the imperfect alignment of actual hardwood boards.

Smooth, Square Edge Planks

Smooth, Square Edge Planks

Square Edge

This cut will hide the edges of the floor planks when installed. They will connect “squarely”. Laminate with this cut leads to a seamless, slide-on-your-socks appearance.

Microbeveled Edge

This is the slightest round edge on a flooring plank. It shows separation of the planks when installed, but to the smallest degree. Any of these three cuts of edges, this and the next two, will provide the additional benefit of hiding minor unevenesses of height between installed planks.

Eased Edge

The next level is the “Eased” edge. When the planks meet, a 45 degree angle will be formed where they join. It’s less than a full bevel, but still helps delineate individual boards.

Beveled Edge

This is the term you will see most regarding edging. “Beveled” describes an edge cut to form close to a 90 degree groove between two joined planks. It is probably the closest option when going for a genuine hardwood look, especially if you’re going for a less slick look, using distressed or handscraped, or aiming for a rustic look.

Beveled Laminates

Beveled Laminates


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David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+

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