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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Hand Scraped Flooring: Points to Keep in Mind

The demand for hand-scraped flooring is growing. Yet, this type of flooring, in terms of appearance, isn't like any other. If you are one of the many considering it for your home, what points do you need to keep in mind as you look for the right type of hand-scraped hardwood?

First, nearly all species – domestic and exotic – are available as this distressed variety. Species from white oak to Brazilian cherry are all available with this distressed and rustic look. And, any floor of a building can have hand-scraped flooring, as both solid and engineered types are distressed. As you look at different types of hand-scraped flooring, think about where you will be installing it into your home, and plan accordingly with the right type of solid or engineered hardwood.

What's most notable about hand-scraped hardwood is its creation. All planks are distressed by hand, and as a result, no two appear similar. Multiple methods are used for distressing hardwood, including the following techniques for aging, scraping, or finishing.

Aged hardwood goes by one of two names: Time Worn Aged or Antique. Both are similar, but a lower grade is used for Antique flooring. In addition to being aged, the hardwood's distressed appearance is accented further through darker staining, highlighting the grain, or contouring.

Scraping techniques alter the texture of the hardwood, making an otherwise smooth surface rough. Wire Brushed is a term used to indicate hand-scraped flooring with removed sapwood and accented grain. Hand-sculpted, on the other hand, still has texture but is smoother than other varieties. Hardwood that is Hand Hewn and Rough Sawn has the roughest texture for hand-scraped flooring, with even saw marks visible.

Flooring that uses finish to give hardwood an aged texture is usually sold as French Bleed. Such hand-scraped flooring has deeper beveled edges, and the joints of the floor are highlighted with darker stain. Also a somewhat superficial type of hand-scraped flooring is pegged. Considered to be decorative only, pegged flooring must not be fastened directly onto a subfloor.

If you want an even less uniform appearance for your floor, consider having it custom distressed. In this case, after the unfinished hardwood is installed, a professional comes in to alter it through beating with chains, pickeling, fastening with antique nails, or bleaching. After, a finish is applied.

Also as you look at hand-scraped hardwood, think about your flooring long term. Will you want a distressed appearance a decade or more down the line? If not, plan ahead by going with flooring that can be sanded down: solid hardwood or an engineered variety with a thicker wear layer.

If, on the other hand, you plan to keep the hand-scraped flooring, think about how you will refinish it years down the line. Ideally, to keep up the distressed look without diminishing it through sanding, you will need a floor abrader to remove only the finish, or be prepared to have a professional refinish your floors.


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