Boards placed against the bottom of walls. Conceals the joint between walls and floors and gives a finished appearance.

Base Shoe

Molding used to finish off the bottom edge of baseboard. Used to hide irregular floor and wall joints.

Blind Nail

Driving a nail into the tongue side of tongue and groove wood flooring which is then hidden by the next flooring piece.

Border Tiles

Tiles that lie along the perimeter of a room.


To drive a nail or screw below the surface.

Drum Sander

A specialized floor sander (about the size of a walk-behind lawn mower) pushed along the floor's open areas.

Edge Sander

A hand-held power sander that reaches close to the wall to get the area missed by drum sanding.


Wood putty/dough filler is used to patch holes and pores to create a smooth, consistent surface. These fillers are available in various colors to match different types of wood.

Flat Finish

A non-reflective finish.

Floor Joists

Parallel, floor framing members that support the subfloor, underlayment and flooring. Joists are supported by larger beams, girders or bearing walls.

Glossy Finish

Highly reflective finish that looks wet and is slick to the touch.


Growth patterns of wood. Wood grain produces different surface textures and patterns in the flooring.

Jamb Saw

A flat saw used to cut door jambs and casing at the floor. Handy for matching height to accommodate new flooring. Also known as Gent's saw.

Kraft Paper

A heavy, thick paper used to make floor layout patterns. Sometimes used as flooring underlayment. Also known as Rosin paper.


Thin layers of wood or plastic veneer that are glued to an inner core.


Water-based paint or finish. Generally non-toxic and easy to clean up


Catch-all term that refers to the glue or adhesive material typically used for gluing flooring or tile to an underlayment or subfloor surface.

Pilot Hole

A pre-drilled hole that makes it possible to drive a screw or nail without splitting the wood.


A piece of wood made of three or more layers of veneer wood bonded with glue. For strength, the middle layer is usually placed so the grain runs perpendicular to the layers above and below it.

Polyethylene Film

Large plastic sheets (usually 4-6 mil thickness) that act as a vapor barrier against excessive moisture that may penetrate and ruin flooring and subfloor layers.

Quarter Round

A small-sized molding that has the profile of a quarter circle. Frequently used as base molding.

Resilient Flooring

A general term for vinyl and linoleum flooring.


A soft-sheen finish.

Selvage Edge

The manufactured "excess" edge of sheet vinyl; cut to match pieces.


Staggered, flat lying lumber (like 2x4s) commonly used to make a firm, even subfloor base on concrete.


The first layer of plywood or planks laid over the floor joists.


A pattern that represents the floor's surface, usually made of kraft paper, used to cut out sheet vinyl. Pronounced "tem-plit."

Top Coat

The final coat of finish applied on wood flooring.


Any material placed over the subfloor to provide a smooth, stable surface for the finish material. Commonly plywood, particleboard, or foam pad.