So, what is tongue and groove wood flooring and why is it such a big deal? Have you ever gotten a piece of lumber from the hardware store and accidentally left it out overnight in the rain? What does the board look like the next morning? Indeed, it is often twisted and bowed; a tongue and groove are designed (in part) to prevent that from ever happening to your wood floors.

Wood, like all living matter, is composed out of cells. When a tree is cut, those cells still retain the ability to absorb moisture and when that happens, the cells swell. Because moisture is not evenly absorbed by the whole piece, the cells tend to swell unevenly, creating warping and bowing in the hardwood flooring material. The older it gets, the less elastic the cells are and thus the less likely such warping will take place, but this is generally a very lengthy process.

Now, imagine you have new hardwood flooring installed in your home. As the humidity of the air changes, the cells swell or shrink. If the boards were not connected somehow to each other, every board on your floor would twist and warp in a slightly different direction, giving you a very uneven surface. A tongue and groove installation can prevent this.

Milling

Hardwood flooring is made by cutting logs into a set of planks. Those planks are then dried, typically in a kiln. Once dried, before they ever come to your home, they are milled. The milling process begins by cutting the planks to a given thickness, but then the planks are moved through a router designed to form a tongue and groove. The tongue sticks out on two sides of the board and the groove is cut into the opposite two sides, the groove being just slightly deeper than the tongue to allow for a snug fit.

Installation

When your floor is installed, the tongues will be fitted into the grooves of the boards adjacent to them. Once the floor is complete, every piece is interlocked. That way, as the humidity in a room increases and decreases, the boards are not able to twist or warp away from each other. The floor functions as if it were a single piece of material.

Tongue and groove hardwood floors are a very old technique, but it works well and no “better” techniques have arisen for the creation of stable wood floors. At A&D Carpets & Hardwood, we spend a lot of time with tongue and groove flooring and we know just how stable and practical it is. Why not stop by and let us show you what these floors look like and what they might look like in your home. Our showroom is in Augusta, GA, but we also serve the surrounding areas of Martinez, Evans, and North Augusta. Pay us a visit and one of our knowledgeable sales representatives will be happy to show you around.