Tongue and Groove Flooring


The style used for a process of fastening materials is called tongue and groove. The method is simple: while allowing for some flexibility, two boards is seam in a way that it grips them together.  

In recent days, the traditional tongue and groove have been replaced by an almost identical method for some types of flooring.


Tongue and Groove Uses:


  • Conjunction with wood floorboards
  • Sheet paneling
  • Wainscot
  • It is also used in other materials where a tight, solid seam is needed between separate pieces.


For tongue and groove process, it also means that there is a protruding tongue side and a receiving groove side for each side. It runs the entire perimeter of the piece, all four sides for each of the tongue and the groove. It should firmly fit into the groove of the connecting board for one tongue. To control vertical movement between adjoining boards is the purpose of this process. To a small degree, movement horizontally is still permitted and since wood flooring will expand and contract, it is a desirable quality.


Lock and Fold Similar to Tongue and Groove

A straight tongue that horizontally slides into a straight groove is what a basic tongue and groove joinery.


Nails or flooring staples are driven into the tongues to avert the boards from moving. These fasteners are connected directly to the sub-floor.


A slightly different technique came about–floating floors as laminate flooring manufacturers generate new ways of joining boards. In this case, the floating floors affix only to themselves, from one board to another and omitting the sub-floor.


The production of luxury vinyl flooring profited from laminate’s breakthrough and improved on them in tons of ways.


The glue was utilized to join tongues to grooves in the beginning. An easier method was developed which is lock and fold, that allows tongues to fit into grooves eliminating use of glue or fasteners.  


The lock and fold method involves angling one board onto the adjoining board. After which, folding it downward. Still, there is room for some infinitesimal movement horizontally, but not anywhere near the type of movement as permitted by traditional tongue and groove.  




  • Requires little amount of nailing or use of glue to hold together to join tightly.
  • Provides tiny seams.
  • The groove can even be water-tight once properly coated. This only is applicable to site-finished flooring, excluding the pre-finished.



  • Especially with boards that have become swollen affected by humidity, it can be hard to fit the tongue into grooves.
  • Tongues can easily be broken but this factor can be eliminated if special care is taken.
  • It is hard to dismantle the pieces that were joined with tongue and groove. Without serious breakage, the tongue and groove wood floors generally cannot be disassembled.

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