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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.


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.

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