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Friday, September 2, 2011

What's Hot At Enhance?

We are installing a lot of distressed and handscraped hardwood floors this year. You may be wondering what the difference is and why these looks are so popular.

Distressing a wood floor is using one or more of a variety of techniques to intentionally give the floor an imperfect look. The hardwood floor is gouged and nicked and basically given the look of a much older floor. Characteristics include intentional sanding and chatter marks and uneven sanding to create a worn look. Some manufacturers dent, scoop, and rough the floor. Still others are scraping the entire surface to create a unique, handmade look. Wormholes, splits, and other natural character marks are not considered imperfections but instead are highly desirable.

Scraped and distressed floors come in designs and colors so rich that they seem to be the main feature of a room. Distressing wood flooring makes scratches and dings not show as readily. The floor is very low maintenance and is a good choice for homeowners with children, pets, and a lot of foot traffic.

Handscraping is done to add texture, richness, and uniqueness to the floor. Scraping is duplicating a very old floor that, from years of traffic, as people walked on the wood the softer grains were worn away, leaving a distinct pattern. There are varying degrees of scraping available, from heavy to light.

Distressing and scraping is done by machine or by hand. As you can imagine, machine scraped floors are less costly than true hand scraped hardwoods. With machine scrapes, sometimes the pattern can become repetitious if you look closely enough

Handscraped and distressed floors are primarily available as prefinished (also called factory finished) hardwoods and are made in both solid and engineered construction. There are many species as well as stain colors to choose from. Most of these looks are in wide plank (5" is the most prevalent) format.

Techniques used include using wire brushing to bring out the grain in the hardwood and using a lower grade of hardwood and darker colored stain to bring out the highlights of the grain. In this case, lower grade does not demonstrate lower quality, but more color variation and character. A newer design option is called French bleed. These floors have a deeper beveled edge (sometimes pillowed) that was treated with a rich black or dark colored stain prior to the staining process so that the side and end joints are darker than the plank face.

Distressed and scraped flooring complements any interior design. These floors offer a unique, one-of-a-kind look that holds up well to the normal wear and tear of every day use.

How Much Did It Cost?

We thought it might be helpful to share some recent typical installations with you. We installed 1034 square feet of Bruce hickory handscraped in a family room, hall, foyer and three bedrooms for $10,507. Another Bruce hickory handscrape, 924 square feet, was installed for $7,610 in a living room, dining room, family room, foyer, and half bath. These are all "turnkey" prices that include everything needed to complete the project.

A Mohawk maple handscraped was installed in a large (472 square feet) master bedroom for $4,280 and a Mohawk oak handscrape in a den and hall for $4,585. A Mullican distressed maple was installed in a family room and hall in Woodstock for $3,336.

Another Bruce hickory distressed was installed in a living room, dining room, and hall for $3,444. A Mohawk handscraped eucalyptus was installed in a large (644 sq ft) living room, dining room, foyer, and powder room in a home in Roswell for $4,610. A solid oak hand sculpted floor was chosen by a Woodstock family for their family room, dining room, hall and foyer and their investment was $5000.

Remnant Pieces

Odds and ends and leftover thoughts:

~~Financial experts have cautioned homeowners and homebuyers that a house should no longer be considered a high-performing asset, but rather a place to enjoy living over a long period of time. As you update your home, do it for you, not the next homeowner.

~~For the economy to improve, a meaningful rebound in housing is needed. Each new home built creates the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. So smile when you see new home construction beginning around you.

~~Sales to look for in August and September: computers, Labor Day weekend appliance and furniture sales, china and flatware (know anyone getting married?), and patio furniture.

~~Thinking about remodeling this fall? A major trend is the vanishing living room. The room most likely to be featured in the average 2015 home will be a great room that's combined with the kitchen. Is there a way to merge your living room with your kitchen or some other room by knocking out a wall? If not, can you repurpose your living room to make it a more usable space?