Hand-Distressed Floors – What to know before you buy

As one of the original partners at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors I have seen dozens of different types of hand-scraped surfaces my time, and have also helped design authentic hand-distressed surfaces for our hardwood floors.  Given this experience I wanted to provide some recommendations to interested consumers who are considering a Hand-Distressed hardwood floor or pine wood floor.   Because this process can add to the overall cost of a wood floor it is important to understand the additional investment and make sure it is being invested wisely so you achieve the desired look and the highest quality. 

Here's some helpful information as you consider hand-distressed flooring:

 
1. There are several different styles of Hand-Distressing. 

Here at Carlisle clients can choose to just hand-scrape the edges, or they can select our Footworn Surface which will sculpt the entire board.

Additionally some clients don’t want the hand-scraped marks, they prefer the look of antique wood floors and use our Hit or Miss on Pine floors or Watermill on hardwood floors. 

It is important to have options so you are not limited to one particular look.  Working with a custom wood flooring company will also allow you to customize the hand-distressed look that is right for you.

2. Not all Hand-Distressed wood floors are done the same way

Hand-Distressed floors are classified by many different names – Hand-Scraped, Hand-Sculpted, Distressed, and many more.  There is no industry wide standard for the nomenclature or process when it comes to hand-scraping.   Every company uses different processes, different tools and/or machines to create their distressing techniques.  And the additional cost is determined by the extent of the those processes.  For example a floor actually scraped by a real person is going to cost more, but it looks better than a floor distressed by a machine. 

3. Not all “Hand-Distressed” wood floors are done by hand

Just because it says “hand-distressed” doesn’t mean it is.  Depending on the style of the distressed that you have chosen, this is not necessarily a bad thing. For example here at Carlisle we have a designed a special tool that creates our Brushed surface, it contains nearly 250 different toothbrush-like bristles to give our floor the right look. 

But with some styles having the boards distressed by hand is the only way to go to create a much more authentic appearance.   In fact you want to watch out for repetition in your hand-scraping!  Wood floors distressed by a machine will show the same scraping marks in a very noticeable pattern, but this lacks authenticity and demeans the look of the final floor.

4. Quality counts even in hand-distressed floors

When ordering a distressed floor you still want to invest in quality.  I have run into several situations with clients where they have seen samples or ordered a floor to regrettably be disappointed.  Many companies believe that just because someone ordered a distressed floor that means it can be of a lower quality allowing for more dings, dents, cracks, or knots. 

This is not the case, just because you order a hand-distressed floor doesn’t mean it has to be rustic, nor that you should settle for a lower standard of flooring.  The quality of the wood you invest in will not only affect the look of the hand-distressed surface but the stability and performance of the floor in its lifetime.

5. Understand what is involved to touch up and refinish your floor?

No matter how beautiful your floor is when you first install it, it is so important to find out what is required when you want to touch and refinish your floor.  For example, there are some hand-distressed wood floors available on the market that are finished with aluminum oxide.  This type of finish can only be touched up with significant sanding done to the floor, this will remove your hand-distressed surface (that you probably paid more for) and force you to completely refinish your floor.  This is costly and jeopardizes the look of the floor.

Here at Carlisle we offer Recoat Kits which requires no sanding and can be done in as little as 2-3 hours!  This will preserve your hand-distressed wood floor surface and make refinishing your wood floor quick and easy.

Wood floors are one of the most important design aspects of your home, if you are looking for more tips or advise, or just have questions call us at 800.595.9663, and our team of Wide Plank Specialists are happy to help.

You can also request a copy of our Free Color Brochure!


Filed Under: Planning for your New Floors | Residential Spaces |

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