Many homeowners work hard to avoid scratching the surface of their hardwood floors. Through protective rugs, furniture pads, and regular sweeping, they do all they can to maintain the glossiness of their flooring. But for others, imperfections in the hardwood give a floor character, highlight the beauty of natural wood grains, and add a vintage appeal to their homes. For these homeowners, hand scraped hardwood is an ideal choice. But what exactly is hand scraped hardwood – and how do you know if it will work in your home? Check out this guide from Carolina Flooring Services to find out.
What is Hand Scraped Hardwood?
The name says it all! Hand scraped hardwood is a wood flooring option that has been treated by a professional craftsman with hand-held tools to produce a rustic appearance. The goal is to mimic the look of hardwood in homes built before the industrial age, when planks had to be individually sanded and floors were not protected by polyurethane coats. To accomplish this look, a craftsman might use a wire brush to produce shallow grooves along the boards. Some may use a tool to gauge out mock wormholes, or even sand wear patterns in the planks to suggest high traffic in that area. The level of distress is customizable, so a homeowner can choose just how worn they wish their floors to appear. The final product will also be sealed with a conventional polyurethane coat to protect the floor from further damage.
The hand scraped option is also available in engineered hardwood, which offers more durability than solid hardwood flooring and is preferable in below-grade areas. Laminate flooring can technically not be hand scraped, but can be treated by an extrusion process to produce shallow grooves on its surface. This process is mechanical, so the grooves will be a repeating pattern, detracting from the uniqueness that makes hand scraped hardwood beautiful.
Should You Install Hand Scraped Hardwood?
Hand scraped hardwood is the obvious choice in historic homes that no longer have the original flooring. It’s also a fantastic option for homes whose floors are already susceptible to scratches from pet nails, stiletto heels, or cleats, as any damage these may cause will blend in with the intentional distressing. Choosing hand scraped flooring is really a matter of personal style; if your home’s esthetic is rustic or vintage, hand scraped wood is complimentary; if your style is more sleek and clean, the patterns in the floor may be distracting.
How to Care for Hand-scraped Hardwood
While a distressed floor may hide minor nicks you still want to be sure not to cause stress and damage that will detract from the hardwood’s natural beauty. The floor care for hand scraped hardwood is no different from that of smoother flooring options – to protect your floors you should sweep regularly, wipe up any spills as soon as possible, and only use manufacturer recommended cleaning products on your hardwood. Check out our article on hardwood floor maintenance for more details.
Other Flooring Techniques for a Vintage Style
Pulling off an antique style is really in the details. To complete a vintage look, consider using wider floor planks, or using a lower-grade wood that will show more grain detail. You may even consider using a “French Bleed” staining method, where the edges of a plank are darker than the center.
Whether you love the rustic appeal of hand scraped hardwood or prefer a chic, glossy finish, Carolina Flooring Services is ready to help you create the home of your dreams. Contact us today to learn more about our products and installation services.
Photo Courtesy of: Matt Baume