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Monday, 29 December 2014

Why Hand-Scraped Flooring?

So many types of flooring possibilities exist on the market, so why hand-scraped hardwood and why now? Trends for hardwoods come and go. In recent years, the demand for exotic species has grown, and even more closer to the present, requests for hand-scraped flooring are also increasing. As a result, nearly all species are available hand-scraped, but walnut, hickory, cherry, and oak are the most popular.

In the past, parquet was a popular style of flooring, and while seldom seen in the present, parquet was characterized by an angular style and contrasting woods. Not relying on color, hand-scraped flooring instead goes for texture. The wood is typically scraped by hand, creating a rustic and unique look for every plank. But rather than be exclusively rough, some hand-scraped products have a smoother sculpted look, such as hand-sculpted hardwood, and this flooring is often considered "classic."

Texture, as well, makes the flooring have additional visual and tactile dimensions. Those walking on the floor may just want to run their hands over the surface to feel the knots, scraping, and sculpted portions. However, tastes for hand-scraped flooring vary by region. According to top hardwood manufacturer Armstrong, the sculpted look is more requested in California, while a rustic appearance of knots, mineral streaks, and graining is more common in the Southwest. The Northeast, on the other hand, is just catching onto this trend.

There's no one look for hand-scraped flooring. Rather, hardwood is altered through scraping or brushing, finishing, or aging; a combination of such techniques may also be used.

Scraped or brushed hardwoods are sold under names "wire brushed," which has accented grain and no sapwood; "hand-sculpted," which indicates a smoother distressed appearance; and "hand hewn and rough sawn," which describes the roughest product available.

Aged hand-scraped products go by "time worn aged" or "antique." For both of these, the wood is aged, and then the appearance is accented through dark-colored staining, highlighting the grain, or contouring. A lower grade of hardwood is used for antique.

A darker stain tends to bring out the look of hand-scraped flooring. For woods that have specifically been stained, "French bleed" is the most common. Such a product has deeper beveled edges, and joints are emphasized with a darker color stain.

No matter the look for hand-scraped flooring, the hardwood is altered by hand, generally by a trained craftsman, such as an Amish woodworker. As a result, every plank looks unique. However, "hand-scraped" and "distressed" are often used interchangeably, but not all "distressed" products are altered by hand. Instead, the hardwood is distressed by machine, which presses a pattern into the surface of the wood.


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