The subtle textures and range of colors in distressed flooring pay tribute to Old World craftsmanship, when things were done by hand. The cherished, time-honored tradition of handcrafting is joined with the benefits of modern engineering and prefinishing, to create floors with antique appeal with the benefit of contemporary innovation.
Distressed Wood Flooring
The character of wood—with its color variations, grain patterns, and knots—is one of the reasons it remains a prized material for flooring. Distressed wood flooring adds that extra element of charm. The texture produced from wire brushing, scraping, and other finishing techniques transforms the look of new wood into that of an old piece worked by hand or aged by weather and wear.
Why Distressed Wood?
Distressed wood is a popular option for today’s aesthetic, lending a casual and timeless atmosphere to a space. It also serves a practical purpose. If you have an active household with children and pets, dents and scratches will inevitably arise and blend right in with your distressed wood. And for any household, distressed wood is a sensible flooring choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways.
Creating the Distressed Wood Look
Distressing wood floor planks gives them an old and well-worn appearance—for instance, to mimic a floor that’s spent generations in a historic home, or flooring made from wood reclaimed from an old barn, factory, or ship. Various techniques are used to add a distressed look to hardwood planks. Wire brushing involves scraping the wood with a hard-bristled wire brush, which adds texture while removing the softer surface layer of the wood. This gives a gently-distressed appearance. Heavier distressing involves scraping to wear away parts of the plank and recreating the effect of marks from sawmills and hand tools from earlier eras. Finishes can give it a patina that appears to come from decades of wear and sun exposure.
Distressing can be machine-produced or performed by hand. Because of its layered construction, engineered hardwood will generally have a less pronounced distressed texture, as the procedure is performed on the top layer only. You can also achieve the appearance of distressed wood on laminate, tile, vinyl, and engineered bamboo flooring.
Using Distressed Wood in Your Décor
Most people would immediately associate distressed wood flooring with rustic décors, but you can create a variety of other looks with distressed wood. A lot depends on other factors such as the color, the width of planks, and the amount of distressing. For instance, Tobacco Road Acacia solid hardwood can evoke a hunting lodge atmosphere, but its contrasts and deep texture can also make for a striking statement in a variety of décors.
Rustic Cabin to Country Cottage
Use distressed wood with rich brown tones and wide planks to give your space a rustic cabin feel. For the full effect, use laminate planks with a wood-like look on your walls. In the kitchen, distressed wood flooring will create a farmhouse look. Choose a lighter tone for a bright and airy country cottage kitchen.
Cozy and Creative Living Rooms
Distressed wood planks are a great way to maintain the character of your historic home when you upgrade your flooring. And even if your home isn’t historic, you can use them to infuse a time-worn, traditional appeal to your living room. Or make a strong contemporary statement with contrasting distressed planks.
Breezy Beach Condo
Distressed wood in pale gray tones can give the floor of your beach house or condo the look of wood that’s been weathered by sand and salty sea air. Choose waterproof options such as CoreLuxe XD Rigid Vinyl Plank in Moonlight Pine or Pyrenees Maple.
Solid wood flooring isn’t recommended for basements because of moisture concerns, but you can enjoy the beauty of distressed wood in laminate, vinyl, and wood-look tile. As a bonus, there's no need to fret about the scuffs, scratches, and dents that come with heavy use or home gyms.
Flooring Options With Distressed Wood Looks
Distressed wood looks aren’t limited to solid and engineered hardwood. We have laminate flooring, such as waterproof AquaSeal, in distressed color variations and textures that replicate hardwood. Our vinyl plank is another affordable way to get the distressed wood look. And with our distressed engineered bamboo, you get the benefit of a popular and budget-friendly natural flooring option.
Installation methods will vary depending on the flooring material. While an experienced DIYer can install flooring, we recommend hiring a professional installer. Solid hardwood takes the most skill to install, and is often best left to the professionals. Highly distressed hardwood, because of its variations in thicknesses, can be particularly challenging. Quick-click flooring, as found in many of our laminate and vinyl products, provides a streamlined installation process.
Caring For Distressed Wood Floor
When it comes to caring for your distressed wood or distressed wood-look floor, follow the methods prescribed for that particular flooring material. The big difference with distressed flooring is that the additional grooves provide more places for dirt to hide. Clean your floor with that in mind, being sure to focus on areas where dirt may collect.
Just like with installation and cleaning methods, the cost of your distressed floor will depend on the material. Distressing usually to the cost of solid hardwood because of the labor involved.
If you’re looking to add character to your home décor, consider distressed wood flooring. At LL Flooring, you can choose from distressed solid and engineered hardwood to waterproof options such as vinyl and AquaSeal versions of our laminates and engineered bamboo.