The Distressing Process of Hand Scraped Flooring

Distressed flooring has become increasingly popular over the years, and more and more homeowners are looking for unique ways to make their floors look worn. The distressed look is modeled after century old, antique flooring and is usually created by a machine. Either the planks are sent through a distressing machine before installation, or a machine passes over them after installation. The only problem with having machine distressed wood floors is that they all tend to have similar patterns. Reoccurring patterns in the same floor are commonly visible after using a machine. For those homeowners who want a unique, authentic-looking distressed wood floor, hand scraped is the only way to go.

The art of hand scraped flooring is achieved just as its name suggested, by hand. Either the homeowner or a paid professional literally scrapes, dents, chips, and rubs the hardwood until a weathered, worn look is achieved. In order to get the best results, certain tools are commonly used when distressing by hand, the following are some of these tools.

  • Sanders - Hand scraped floors are rarely polished and almost never shiny. To get the wood to have a soft worn look, sanding is a must. Either by hand or with a power sander, one must sand down the wood until it lacks luster and shine.
  • Awls - Many who distress hardwood by hand highly recommend the use of awls. Awls are long, pointed spikes perfect for creating indentations in the wood. Indentations and knicks are ideal in distressed flooring, as they hide future dings and damages. The more indentations, the more authentic the wood looks, and the better it is at hiding future scratches.
  • Chains – It may sound barbaric, but beating down on hardwood with heavy chains is an effective means of creating a distressed look. The chain method will provide a random yet natural looking pattern of abuse that is common on old wood floors. This tool will also give the floors a pattern-less dented look that is unique to other distressed floors.
  • Glass – Another way to get the random pattern of abuse is to scatter shards of glass, nails or other sharp, small, yet strong, items on the wood floor and then hammer them into the wood with a rubber mallet. You may have to dig the glass or nail pieces out afterward, but the wormhole affect is worth it. Make sure you use a rubber mallet and not a metal hammer to avoid creating hammer indentations.


Contact Hurst Hardwoods
Convenient Online Ordering 24 Hours / 7 Days a Week