All About Distressed Wood Flooring

Distressed Hardwood Flooring

Distressed flooring is an option that continues to grow in popularity. Available for both solid and engineered hardwood floors, unfinished distressed flooring allows you to choose a stain and get the exact look you want for a space.

With a rustic and aged character, the appearance of unfinished distressed flooring is created through scraping, brushing, aging, or finishing. Additionally, all distressing is done manually. As a result, no two distressed planks look alike. At the same time, though, several techniques are used to distress unfinished hardwoods including:

  • Time Worn Aged creates the distressed appearance through aging. For emphasizing the aged appearance, the unfinished hardwood may have the grain highlighted, contouring may be used, or a darker finish may be applied.
  • Wire Brushed emphasizes the hardwood’s grain and, at the same time, removes the sapwood.
  • Antique is another approach to aging unfinished hardwood. A lower grade of flooring, however, is used.
  • Hand Sculpted creates a distressed look with a smoother texture.
  • French Bleed is a term used to describe deeper beveled edges added to the hardwood. The joints on the floor may be additionally accented with darker stain.
  • Pegged is a decorative type of distressed flooring but should not be installed directly onto a subfloor.
  • Hand Hewn & Rough Sawn is the technique used to create the roughest distressed flooring available.
  • Custom Unfinished creates a unique distressed appearance. After the unfinished hardwood is added, the wood is distressed through beating with chains, bleaching, fastening with antique nails, or pickeling. A finish is applied after.

While a finish is applied initially in installation, another may need to be added several years later. To preserve the look of your distressed floors, use a floor abrader to remove the old finish, and then apply a new coat on top. If, however, you want to get rid of the distressed look but still keep the hardwood, solid and most engineered distressed hardwoods can be sanded down and refinished. Thinner engineered hardwoods, however, may be distressed through the wear layer, and sanding ends up exposing the lower plys.

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