One of the best ways to fill a room full of charm and style is to install a beautiful distressed wood floor.
It’s not often you see that word in a positive light. When it comes to interior design, it represents a creative and attractive way to make wood look artificially “old”. Having something that’s distressed creates an aged ambience and lots of character. Importantly, it also costs a fraction of the price of buying antique wood furniture or flooring.
This guide tells you everything you need to know about distressed wood flooring, including tips on choosing suppliers and installers for quality hand scraped hardwood.
What’s involved in creating distressed wood flooring?
Suppliers of artificially aged wood flooring can skillfully create a finish on the surface that replicates the look of well weathered, old wood. In other words, you get strong, durable wood flooring, made from virgin materials, but it looks antique.
To create character-rich wooden floors, you also have the option of using reclaimed wood. This too can look amazing, but it comes with a substantial price tag. Not all reclaimed wood lends itself well to underfloor heating too, or other situations in which temperatures or humidity levels vary widely.
Opting for artificially aged but new flooring materials manages the cost and resilience of your wood floor. It also provides the chance to choose from an incredible range of finishes.
The distressed appearance is created using a specialist technique and equipment to handscraped hardwood. Factories churn out distressed wood, but this simply doesn’t produce the same authenticity and character. The resulting flooring looks “mass produced” rather than having the appearance of being aged by the natural passing of time.
You want your hardwood flooring to look “well-loved” and well produced, with a surface that appears worn, but not weary!
Some distressed flooring materials are also “smoked”. This is a technique that expert flooring companies use to alter the density of the wood’s natural colour values. It sometimes takes place before the wood is hand brushed for the distressed look. Our blog on smoking (or fuming) flooring explains this in more detail.
One of the most important secrets to the best-distressed wood flooring is to only use quality hardwood base materials. All ours are sourced from sustainable and environmental certified forests and wood processors. This makes durability and a flawless finish a certainty, whatever type of distressed surface you commission in wood flooring.
Colours and styles of distressed wood
The wonderful thing about specialist hand scraped hardwood flooring materials, is that they come in many types and colour shades. They can still be oiled and lacquered for specialist finishes too.
Using expert brushing techniques, the flooring technicians work to bring out the natural features of the new hardwood. In other words, you can see the knots, swirls and natural wood grain even more clearly in your flooring, for that “full character” appearance.
How deeply the hand scraping goes - and any finishing stains and varnishes used - dictate the overall visual effect. For example, we supply oak flooring that is distressed and also smoked and lightly brushed to create a subtle aged impression.
You can commission a more sweeping and deeper distressed appearance if preferred.
The colour choice is also up to you. It includes options to match any colour scheme, in any room; from rich, chocolatey brown oak flooring, to white distressed floors.
You can even buy distressed wood flooring in stunning oak designs.
An added advantage of using distressed hardwood flooring (in any shade), is that it is a very “forgiving” floor finish in family homes. The whole point is for the surface to look well-loved and weathered by time. So, occasional scuffs, scratches or dents will simply blend into the fabulously varied appearance of your distressed wood floor.
What sort of interior design theme uses distressed wood?
Another major advantage of this characterful and stylish flooring is that it is highly versatile. It can be used in different rooms, to match decors.
Handscraped hardwood floors can look incredibly elegant in contemporary homes, for example, with bespoke finishes rather than antique. Natural and ambient lighting can “dance” off the feature-filled surface of your artistic flooring.
However, distressed hardwood is a particularly popular flooring option for shabby chic, rustic and country-style interior designs.
Some homeowners then use the same technique to artificially age other wood items, including doors, dressers, cupboards and tables for example.
Shabby chic interior design is hugely popular these days. Not least as it opens the way to freely blend in much loved and sentimentally important furniture and memorabilia, with soothing and pretty fabrics. Place all this on distressed wood flooring, and you have a lovely mix that makes any room warm and welcoming.
Distressed wood on a floor can also work brilliantly within a nautically themed room design. This is especially true if you opt for grey or paler coloured wood flooring. It creates the look of wood used in boats and beach huts, gently weathered by sea breezes and mists,
As this option for wooden flooring has that distinctive finish – full of history and the natural features of wood – it is particularly attractive for hallways, kitchens and other rooms which open to the outdoors. However, distressed wood flooring works throughout the house!
How to fit distressed wood flooring
As the process of distressing wood for floors can be used on various hardwood types, installation methods are exactly the same as for unbrushed flooring.
Check before buying to see if your aged wood flooring choice is tongue and groove fitting, for example, for ease of installation.
Care and maintenance of aged wood flooring
The process of creating distressed wood flooring does give the finished product a more textured feel, compared to unbrushed hardwood flooring materials.
If you buy from a reputable source of wooden floors, the quality of the materials and finish still make the result low maintenance for decades.
You would simply follow the stress-free steps to gently brush away dirt and debris, and clean your wooden floor using mild specialist products and minimal amounts of water.
Quality hardwood floors last a lifetime. The wonderful thing about a distressed-look is that your floor starts out with the dignity and charm of history stamped across each board!