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Categories Hardwood

The Wide Plank Flooring Trend Explained

Traditionally, hardwood flooring planks are about six inches wide. However, there is a trend towards wide hardwood planks emerging. Wide planks are typically between six inches and twelve inches. Wide hardwood planks are popular because the floor has fewer lines, producing a cleaner look. Also, it is the style that was more popular in past centuries, which makes the floor look rustic and antique. There are some concerns, though.

Cupping

Hardwood floors tend to absorb moisture from the air as well as from the subfloor. If moisture is absorbed by the wooden planks, the planks can cup. Cupping is when the edges of the wood planks lift up to create a bowl shape. The wider the plank is, the more likely it is to cup because there’s more surface area. You can reduce the likelihood of cupping through several different methods. You can install a waterproof subfloor that blocks water vapor from passing through to the wooden planks.

Also, you can choose to top nail the planks to prevent cupping.

Top Nailing

Top nailing is a process of nailing the planks to the subfloor through the top of the plank instead of through the side. Most floors are blind nailed now, which is nailing through the side of the plank at a 45 degree angle. Top nailing is the process that was used predominantly before the 20th century. The look of rows of nails holding down your floor will make the floor look very antique. It’s a perfect pairing for a wide plank floor if you want the floor to look antique.

Long Planks

In addition to planks being wider, wide planks are often longer as well. The longer planks take a little more work to install but they create a more seamless look. There are fewer vertical and horizontal lines throughout the floor. Fewer perpendicular lines means fewer breaks in the floor’s surface.

Rustic Stains

Wide plank floors are often stained in a way that looks rustic or antique. The stains used are often tinged with gray or green. A stain with gray and/or green hues reflects the changes that wood undergoes as it ages. These stains are often named after driftwood or swamps because they are designed to make wood look as if it has aged for decades. They pair very well with wide planks.

Wide plank floors will likely grow more popular in the future. Getting on the trend now will give you the widest range of options.

Categories Hardwood

How to Achieve Gray Hardwood Flooring

Gray comes in dozens of shades, it is classic, and it is very versatile. That’s why gray has been trending as a preferred color for hardwood floors. Gray is popular for many different type of hardwood floors from kitchens to foyers to living rooms. Gray, and greige, are both commonly listed among the most popular flooring colors. You can achieve a gray hardwood floor in a number of ways. It can be painted, stained, or naturally gray.

Painted or Washed

If you want to achieve a gray hardwood floor, it can be painted or lime washed. Lime washing, or white washing, is a process of applying a lime solution to the floor. It is made of a lime substance mixed with water. The lime protects the floor against mold, mildew, and pests. Also, it changes the color of the wood to a washed-out grayish white. It’s a color that was very common on the northeastern coast of the United States during the colonial period. For many interior designers, lime washing is probably most popular from Tom Sawyer stories. It was popular in the 1800s and is growing more popular again.

You can also paint the floor gray. That will offer you many more options than white washing. There are dozens of different shades of gray paint that you can choose from. You also need to decide how much coverage you would like. A thick latex paint will cover the grain as well as the original color of the wood. You can also cut the paint with paint thinner to allow the grain and the original color o the wood to shine through.

Stained

Staining the wood is another great option. Stain is designed to penetrate the top layer of the wood. It will color the wood gray while allowing the grain and the color of the wood to shine through. It’s the best way to create a greige color. A thin gray stain that allows some of the natural tan of the wood to shine through will create an authentic greige.

Naturally Gray

Some woods, such as blue mahoe and gray maple, are naturally gray. They’re not as gray as wood that has been stained gray but they look more authentic. You can also stain or finish a naturally gray wood in a way that will enhance the natural gray of the wood. For example, a clear coat can make the natural color of the wood shine through.

Categories Hardwood

How to Age Hardwood Flooring Planks

Hardwood flooring has been prominent for hundreds of years. That means that many hardwood floors have survived decades or even hundreds of years. Many of them have aged over time; they were often finished to prevent the aging but nothing can stop that from happening permanently. However, the signs of aging have grown more popular over the years. Now, distressed floors are some of the most popular new floors. Many people choose to buy aged floors from barns, antique homes, and other such places. Some people buy new floors that have been distressed by the manufacturer. Some choose to distress the floors themselves. If you want to distress the floor yourself, you can do several things to make it look authentic.

Wire Brushing

One of the best ways to age a floor is very simple. You can use a stiff-bristled wire brush on the surface of the wood. Brush the floor in the direction of the grain. The brush will remove the top layer of wood from the flooring to make the grain stand out. It also leaves minute scratches throughout the wood. The scratches will dull the wood somewhat, making it look subtle and aged. Make sure to brush with the grain so that the scratches don’t look haphazard and distracting.

Tannins

You can also age the floor by staining it with natural tannins. The process is fairly simple. Soak iron in vinegar for a few days. You can use iron nails, steel wool, or basically anything with iron. The longer you allow the metal to sit in the vinegar, the stronger the color will get. Once it’s a desired color, you can apply it to the floor to stain the floor that darker color.

Black tea is another way to stain a floor a darker color.

Paint Thinner

If the floor is painted or stained in some manner, you can apply paint thinner haphazardly to the wood. Applying it randomly will cause the stain or paint to thin in unpredictable ways. Since wood ages unpredictably, it will better mimic the aging process.

If you don’t want to use actual paint thinner, you can use a wire brush or a paint scraper to scrape off a lot of the paint or stain that is already on the wood. Removing that will leave behind distressed looking wood.

Once you’ve achieved the look you want from your flooring, you should apply a layer of polyurethane to protect the desired look.

Categories Hardwood

Leather and Hardwood Floors Are Catching On

There are several different types of natural materials that are used for flooring. Hardwood is one of the most common. However, there are also options for materials, especially recycled materials, that are growing more popular. The popularity is fueled by trends that lead many people to creating new and innovative interior design ideas, especially on social media. Furthermore, these recycled materials are growing in popularity because many are trying to reduce their environmental footprint. One of the most common new materials is recycled leather.

Recycled Leather

Leather and hardwood have been paired together for centuries; however, leather is not as commonly used for flooring. It’s growing in popularity, though. The trend typically involves using recycled leather for tiles between hardwood planks. For example, a floor might be made predominantly of hardwood, but there might be a strip of tiles running from the front door to the kitchen. Alternately, you might have leather tiles in front of a fireplace or anywhere you need to create a visual change.

Recycled leather comes from two different sources; there is post-consumer leather and post-producer leather. Post-consumer leather is leather that is recycled by someone who bought it at a store; that would be the consumer. For example, you might recycle a leather coat you no longer need or some leather boots you don’t wear anymore. The flooring company would then process the leather into usable sheets and produce flooring tiles from it. The other option is post-producer leather.

Post-producer leather is leather that comes from manufacturers of leather products. The leather has to be cut, tanned, and processed, which often results in scraps of leather. Those scraps can then be turned into flooring tiles.

Matching With Hardwood

Leather is often matched with hardwood because they come in many of the same shades and patterns. Leather has grain patterns, much like hardwood has grains. Also, it comes in shades ranging from light blonde to a dark ebony. Those colors pair very well with hardwoods of similar shades.

There are two basic ways to match leather tiles with hardwood planks. You can choose a lightly-colored white oak to go with a lightly-colored leather. Alternately, you can choose dark leather to contrast with a light stain. That’s the route most people choose. The contrast looks great and really makes the hardwood stand out.

Leather might seem like an odd choice for flooring, but when you pair with hardwood, it can look great.

Categories Hardwood

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

There are several different types of hardwood floors and processes for manufacturing them. When you have the floor installed and then finished with a varnish or polyurethane coating, that’s considered a site finished floor. It’s a very common way for floors to be finished; however, it might not be the most reliable. If you want a floor that is incredibly resilient, with a long warranty, and with guaranteed quality, you should consider prefinished floors.

Prefinished Floors

Prefinished hardwood floors are those that are coated with the stain and finish before they ever leave the factory. Typically, they’re coated with a factory-grade chemical mixture of urethane and aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide crystals embedded in the urethane and the high temperature baking process makes the finish on a prefinished floor incredibly hard. A site finished floor is typically warrantied for three to five years. A prefinished floor can be warrantied for as much as twenty-five years.

Advantages

The advantages of a prefinished floor are pretty straightforward. The finish is harder and lasts much longer than a simple polyurethane applied after installation. That means you won’t have to worry about having it refinished for over a decade. Also, prefinished floors are easier to install. Once you lay them down and affix them to the floor, they’re installed. You don’t have to worry about staining or finishing them, nor do you need to worry about waiting for the finish to dry. As soon as they’re installed, you can move your furniture back into the room.

Finally, the upkeep of a prefinished hardwood floor is simpler. Since the finish is harder and more resistant to stains or damage, it’s easier to keep clean.

Disadvantages

The main disadvantage to a prefinished floor is that you can’t control the finish on the floor. When you seal a floor on site, the sealant will also seal up the space between planks. With prefinished flooring, each individual plank is separate. Therefore, there won’t be any seal between planks. Also, it is very difficult to repair or refinish a prefinished floor.

The factory-installed sealant is very hard and very durable. If you want to repair it or refinish the floor, you will have to do some pretty intense sanding to get through the hard finish.

In summary, a prefinished floor is easy to install and lasts a very long time. If you want a hardwood floor that requires minimal upkeep, it’s a great option. If you want a floor that you can customize, it might not be your best option.

Categories Hardwood

Varied-Width Hardwood Flooring Is So Popular Right Now

In the recent past, hardwood flooring trends valued uniformity. The floor was prized if the planks were all the same size and if the grain closely matched the neighboring planks. Many people wanted their flooring to look like a seamless piece of wood. This is not at all how floors used to look, nor is it the current trend. The current trend in hardwood flooring has trended towards older styles that are often found in antique homes, even dating back to the 19th century. In those homes, as much of a tree as possible was used to make the flooring. Therefore, you would end up with flooring planks of different widths and lengths because the crafters were trying to utilize as much of the tree as possible.

Varied-Width Flooring

In the early history of the United States and especially in low-income areas, the flooring was made from trees that were sourced locally. Therefore, the crafters were limited in the resources they could use to create the floor. That meant that they had to cut planks from every part of the tree, which led to planks that were different widths and lengths. Some were heartwood and most were sapwood; there was very little consistency. Now, that style of flooring has re-emerged as a trend.

Many people are choosing varied width flooring for their homes. Some are even using varied lengths of planks. There are several benefits to this. First, the floor looks great; it mirrors the classic look of antique homes. Also, it makes it much easier to find planks and to repair the floor.

Finding Floor Planks

If you’re looking for floor planks in a specific type of wood, specific finish, and specific size, you’re going to have very few options. That will lead to you spending more on your planks or having a much more difficult time finding the wood you need. Alternately, if you have a varied width and varied length floor, you can find just about any plank of the proper species of wood to repair your floor. You won’t be looking for wood that is a specific size; therefore, you’ll have far more options.

It will also be easier to source the original planks. Many companies offer surplus wood or damaged planks for a lowered price. However, that might not be a sufficient amount of wood to cover your floor. If you’re using planks of various widths and lengths, you can source discounted wood from a different supplier to get to the needed amount of wood.

Categories Hardwood

Explaining The Hand-Scraped Wood Trend

Textured hardwoods have grown in popularity over the years. They’ve become even more popular in the past few years and are poised to remain popular as the distressed wood trend continues. Distressed wood is designed to mimic antique reclaimed wood that has been weathered over the years. Of the different types of distressed and textured hardwood floors, the hand-scraped floors are some of the most attractive. They’ve grown very prominent lately.

What Are They?

Before the invention of sandpaper and other methods of smoothing wood, hardwood was still used in flooring. To get the wood smooth, a crafter would use a draw knife. This is a knife that has a handle on each end. The crafter draws the knife towards them, scraping up a thin layer of the wood. That leaves behind a smooth section of wood. However, since the crafter cannot scrape the wood each time with the exact same length, direction, and pressure, it creates an inconsistent appearance. The wood is full of what are often called “waves” because they look like tiny ocean waves in the surface of the wood.

The floor is drawn completely smooth while being dynamic and innovative. Every plank is different from all of the planks around it. It also creates the subtle appearance of an antique floor.

The Options

There are several options for hand scraped wood. The most common choices are authentic hand-scraped wood or machined wood. The machined wood is scraped by an automated process designed to mimic the hand-scraped wood. The result is exciting and attractive, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they are somewhat uniform. Because they’re scraped by a computer, they have to work on a pattern. The pattern will eventually repeat itself. In contrast, you could choose an authentic hand-scraped wood floor that is scraped by a professional. This will be authentic to the antique process but it will take longer and cost more.

Hand-scraped wood is available in many different types of wood and many different plank styles. Typically, hand-scraped wood works best with wide planks because wide planks are also correct to the period. A dark wood will show the scraping better and make it more prominent. A lighter wood will be more subtle. If you intend to refinish the wood at some point, you’ll likely ruin the hand scraping. You’ll have to have it scraped again, which could be expensive in the future.

Categories Hardwood

Why Are Wide Planks So Popular For Hardwood Floors?

Two features common to hardwood floors in the past 50 years have started to go by the wayside; those are skinny planks and uniform-width planks. In the past, almost every hardwood floor came with planks that were all about four to six inches wide. They were all of the same width as well. That’s not the case anymore. The most popular hardwood floors being produced now are wide plank hardwood floors with varied width planks. What does that mean?

Wide Planks

Typically, any hardwood flooring plank that is over six inches in width is considered a wide plank. These planks are more reminiscent of older styles of hardwood flooring. When local hardwood was the only way to create a reliable floor, as opposed to a luxury, the carpenters would cut the planks as wide as possible. Cutting wider planks meant that less work was needed to lay the floor. They were choosing to cut planks for construction purposes instead of aesthetic purposes. Paradoxically, those choices they made are now considered aesthetically pleasing.

In addition to cutting planks as wide as possible, carpenters of the past used as much of the tree as possible. That meant that the planks were not uniform.

Varied Width Planks

When hardwood floors were sourced only from local trees, the carpenters would attempt to use every bit of the tree. That meant they would cut the widest planks they could from the trunk. Then, they would cut smaller planks from other parts of the trunk and even from some of the larger branches. If there was a bend in the branch or the trunk, the plank would have to be cut before the bend. That meant that some planks would be wider than others. Also, the planks would all be different lengths.

Once again, this was a construction and function decision, not an aesthetic one. However, it’s so iconic of antique homes and barns that it has become a preferred aesthetic. For those reasons, varied width and wide plank hardwood floors are very trendy.

In addition to the size of the planks, different parts of a tree have different shades. For example, the heartwood is likely a darker and deeper color than the sapwood. Since the carpenters were using the entire tree, they would end up with planks of different widths, colors, and lengths. Those patchwork floors are very popular now. It’s expected to remain a hot trend for years to come.

Categories Hardwood

How to Safely Move Furniture On a Hardwood Floor

There are several ways that you can damage your hardwood floor by scratching it; one of the most common ways to scratch your floor is with furniture. When you’re moving furniture, you need to make sure that you’re protecting the hardwood floor. The heavier the furniture, the more likely it is to damage your floor. Also, furniture with wooden or metal legs is likely to harm your furniture. The best option is to lift your furniture, carry it to the new spot, and then set it down. However, that doesn’t protect you from all scratches.

Furniture Pads

There are two kinds of furniture pads. The furniture pads used for moving are heavy blankets that are designed to go around the furniture and underneath it; that protects the furniture itself form nicks and scratches in the moving process. Then there are furniture pads that go underneath the bottom of your furniture. For chairs and tables with legs, you can invest in little squares or circles of soft material. Typically, these furniture pads are felt because felt is soft but resilient. It will allow you to move items around on your hardwood floor without scratching the hardwood.

As long as the furniture is not too heavy, you can simply slide it across the floor on the furniture pads. Make sure that the pads are on all of the feet.

Area Rugs

You can also keep your hardwood sfe from bigger furniture with an area rug. Many people choose to put a rug down underneath bookcases, dressers, chests, and entertainment centers. Since these often don’t have feet, small squares of felt won’t’ suffice. You need to cover the entire bottom so that they stay stable. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the area rug completely covers the bottom of the furniture. If you want to move that furniture, you’ll likely need to flip the rug upside down so that the carpeted portion is down and the rubber backing is up. Then, you can slide the furniture across the hardwood.

Wheels

If your furniture has wheels, you might be able to roll it across the hardwood; however, make sure that the wheels are a soft material such as polyurethane. You shouldn’t roll anything with hard plastic or metal wheels. They’ll scratch up your hardwood as well.

If you can, yous should always use a team to lift up your items and move them to their new locations. If that’s not possible, make sure you keep a buffer between the hardwood and the floor.

Categories Hardwood

The Trend Towards Textured Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring has been trending towards several different types of stains recently; most specifically, dark and cool stains are growing popular. There are also trends in the texture of the flooring itself. The most common hardwood flooring is simply a sanded and polished hardwood floor. These are smooth floors without blemishes. However, other textures have grown more common. The most common types of textures are two kinds that are reminiscent of older hardwood floors.

Hand-Scraped Floors

Before sandpaper and many mechanical processes, wooden floors were smoothed by hand. To smooth a floor by hand, a crafter would use a draw knife. A draw knife has a handle on both ends. The crafter would drag the knife across the surface of the wood. The sharp knife would scraped the wood smooth. However, the crafter could not create each draw with the exact same depth, length, and direction. That means that hand-scraped wooden floors have inconsistent patterns of smoothing. Many people find those patterns very attractive because they make your floor look like a classic floor built before mechanized production.

There are also two kinds of hand-scraped wooden floors. An authentic hand-scraped wooden floor is scraped by a professional who does it by hand. The alternative is one that is scraped by a machine that is designed to mimic authentic hand scraping. The machine scraping will be more uniform and regular than authentic hand scraping but it can effectively mimic the style.

Wire Brushed Floors

A wire-brushed floor is one that is scraped with a stiff-bristled wire brush. The brush scrapes away the surface wood and exposes the growth wood underneath. That means that the wood will take on more texture than a typical glossy finish. Furthermore, a brushed wooden floor will look more like reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been used for a different purpose and has weathered over time. Then, the wood is used as flooring. To mimic that weathered, antique look, you could turn to a brushed floor.

As with scraped flooring, brushed flooring can be made by hand or by a machine. A hand-brushed floor will be more authentic and less uniform. A machined floor will be more uniform and look more like a weathered floor.

Both of these types of floor are very on-trend at the moment. They help create a classic and timeless look for your floor. They also pair very well with wide planks or varied-width floors.

The post The Trend Towards Textured Hardwood Floors appeared first on hardwood marketing.

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