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.