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Tongue and Groove Connections

Hardwood flooring is milled (cut) with tongue and groove connections. There is a tongue on one side of each plank of flooring and a groove on the other. Also, a tongue is cut on one end of each plank and a groove on the other end (referred to as "end-matched" flooring).

Hardwood flooring comes in unfinished (finished on site) or prefinished. Aboveboard installs unfinished, i.e., site sanded and finished, floors almost exclusively. Prefinished flooring has either micro-bevels, creating micro-grooves, that tends to allow gathering of debris; or, it has "square edge" sides, creating "high" wood.

Parts of a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors consist of the "field" or main part of the floor. A "header" is installed where a hardwood floor ends and abuts against carpet/tile or stops in a door opening. A header is simply the last piece of hardwood flooring that transitions the hardwood to another type of flooring. Depending upon the layout of the floor, it can be installed either parallel or perpendicular to the field.

When a hardwood floor is elevated above the height of an adjacent room or at the edge of a descending stairway, a "stairnose" piece is installed. This creates a finished look to the exposed edge of the floor.

Upgrades in installations include "borders" and/or "inlays." Borders are generally installed along walls or utilized to define an area of the hardwood floor. Borders may consist of the same kind of wood installed in the field or accented with different kinds (and, therefore, colors) of hardwoods. Inlays create focal points in rooms such as dining rooms, foyers, etc. Inlays also may consist of the same or different kinds of hardwoods. An extraordinary floor can be created using a combination of both inlays and borders. Please see our Gallery section of this website.

Aboveboard's floors are 99% tongue and groove connected. When installing headers, borders and inlays, a hand-crafted groove connection is fashioned and locked in place over the tongue of the adjacent board.

Grades of Hardwood Flooring

Red Oak, and other species of hardwood, are graded according to appearance. There is no difference in the integrity of the floor throughout the differing grades of wood. Starting with the most variation free, the grades for Red Oak are as follows: Clear, Select, Number One Common, and Number Two Common. Clear is the most uniform in color and, as the grades descend, the variances of appearance multiply. A brief description of the various grades of Red Oak follows:

  • Clear:  Practically free of defects, made up mostly of heartwood. Most uniform color, while allowing for all heartwood natural color variations, with limited small character marks.

  • Select:  Almost clear, with more of the normal characteristics such as knots and color variations produced by differences of natural heartwood and sapwood. Unlimited sound sap wood.

  • Number One Common:  More markings than clear or select. Light and dark colors, knots and other character marks provide a variegated appearance. Often the common grades are selected because of their natural appearance.

  • Number Two Common:  The most knots, imperfections and color variations. A natural looking floor after knot holes, checks and other imperfections are filled, sanded and finished.

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