Distressed Hickory Flooring
Out of all options for hand-scraped flooring, distressed hickory is one of the more popular choices. Why, out of all possible domestic and exotic species? With hand-scraped products, customers have held preference toward domestic species, but which hickory, particularly, the installation process ends up being more straightforward.
Known for its distinct tan to reddish heartwood and white to cream-colored sapwood, hickory is one of the densest domestic species, with a Janka scale rating of 1820. This quality is additionally coupled with closed, rough grain with some definition. Together, these aspects make hickory hardwood difficult to saw, machine, sand, and finish, and the installer – you, as the do-it-yourselfer, or a professional – have two options: take a less-typical approach to sanding and finishing the flooring or opt for a distressed product.
What's involved with the less-typical approach? A belt sander is recommended, and the user should go with an 80-grit belt to sand the grain, 120-grit to smooth it, and 220-grit for any finishing touches. Then, to add a stain, the grains must be fully opened or closed. Water-popping opens them. To do this, the unfinished hardwood must be wiped with a damp rag; immediately as soon as the wood is dry, the stain should be added. Closing off the grain involves a wood conditioner. After all imperfect grain is sealed off, the stain should be applied. If neither of these approaches are taken, finished hickory hardwood develops a mottled, blotchy patina.
However, the contouring, rough texture, aged look, and character marks easily camouflage any uneven finish. As a result, both solid and engineered distressed hickory flooring is available. Not all such products are identical, on the other hand, and several techniques are employed to create a rustic or classic hand-scraped appearance. For distressed hickory flooring, the hardwood may be aged, sculpted or brushed by hand, highlighted with a darker stain, or custom hand-scraped. For custom distressing, hickory, by a professional, may be bleached, pickeled, fastened with antique nails, or beaten with chains. The result is a unique hand-scraped style without repetition across the floor's surface.
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