Janka Hardness Test

Also referred to as Janka Hardness Rating. It explains the species of wood with its respective hardness in pounds of force. This test measures the hardness of wood. It will explain how hard it will be to nail or saw a particular species of wood. For more information, go to (The Doc's Total Wood Species Guide) in the Product Reviews section of the web site.


Kiln Dried

A drying process that the manufacturer does before you get your hardwood floors. For example, oak is kiln dried between 6-9% depending on your climate.

Knee Pads

These are important for protecting your knees on the job. You will get sore from putting your weight on your knees constantly. Wood flooring knee pads usually have a metal plate to protect your knees.


An imperfection in wood. It usually has a circular shape. It is caused by a side branch or a dormant bud. Knots give character to wood. For example, in old pine floors, knots give a rustic look. However, if the knots in the floor are loose, it will probably cause the floor to self-destruct in less than a decade if it is a #1 or #2 plank floor.

Also, there are finishing issues with knots in floorboards. For example, you cannot seal a knot with shellac because the urethane will not adhere. Knots tend to move and shift with time. This means that your finish may possibly peel away or separate from the surface of any knots in your floor. It is also possible that you may experience minor cracking around the knots. Knots are the strongest part of the wood itself. However, the wood is fairly weak around the knots. Knotty wood is beautiful but don't expect the knots to remain perfectly problem-free. Many finishes typically do not adhere well to knotty areas. A good test is to coat a small knot in finish and try and scratch it off. If it scratches off, it is not a good finish.

Knots often contain sap. Sometimes the sap will rise to the surface of the wood. An oil-based finish will not even dry on a resinous area of your floor. Typically, an oil-based finish will just sit on top of the sappy area. This means that an oil-based finish will have very little or no adhesion to the knotty area of your Australian cypress flooring. Sometimes a large knot will have cracks through it. If it seems like the crack is big or will grow overtime, don't use that section of floorboard. It will only cause you aggravation later!


Lacquer Finish (Nitrocellulose)

A very durable finish. It dries quickly. This type of finish is non-yellowing. Lacquer finish requires 2-3 coats done in one day. However, it is difficult to apply. Lacquer finish requires a professional to apply it. It is only moderately resistant to chemicals and water. Lacquer finishes are outlawed in some states because they can easily create fires. For more information, read my article (Lacquer Finish Floor Fires) in the Product Reviews section of the web site.

Lacquer Sealer

Also referred to as lacquer based sealer. These are not as good quality as lacquer finishes but they are related. Lacquer sealers have been used to replace shellac as a quick dry finish to provide a base for floor varnishes. Applying lacquer sealer is only a two-day process. However, because it is very soft stuff, it causes the polyurethane overtop of it to crack. Today, applying lacquer sealer with a drywall trowel is the cheapest option for refinishing your floor.

Lambswool Applicator

A tool used for applying varnish. It is common in the wood flooring industry to use a lambswool applicator, but I do not recommend using one because it leaves bubbles in the varnish. A brush will do the job much more evenly without leaving bubbles in the varnish.

Laminate Flooring

Refers to fake wood laminates, which are just pictures of wood encased in vinyl. There are two basic types of laminated wood flooring. It can either be 3-ply or 5-ply. Both types of laminate are about 5/16" thick. Personally, I think that the 5 ply is the better of the two varieties. The 5 layers (or 5 plies) of 1/16" hardwood make for a more moisture stable, longer lasting and harder plywood. Now it's true you could never re-sand this thin top layer of veneer, but as long as it doesn't get too dented, you can treat it with the professional prep and re-coat systems. However, these floors cannot be sanded down, so if you have a large scratch, it may be impossible to repair it. Laminate floors are typically 1/3" in thickness. These floors are installed as floating floors. For more information, read (Prefinished Hardwood Floors: How to choose!) in the Product Reviews section of my web site.

Latex Putty

A colored filling product for cracks and holes in your hardwood floors. This flexible putty is also known as wood putty.


The opposite of the width. It is the measurement from the longest side of the floorboard to the other side.

Light Aromatic Naptha

More commonly referred to as odorless mineral spirits. This is a cleaning product used on waxed wood floors. It is a mild solvent. Light aromatic naptha should be used instead of water on waxed floors. To learn more about odorless mineral spirits, read the second part of (How To Clean And Maintain Wood Floors) in the How To's section of my web site.


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