The Education Centre: What is Distressed Flooring?

Before modern ways of machine based sanding were common, floors were hand scraped on-site to make sure they were flat. This gave each floor a unique texture and character with their own subtle imperfections.

Today, most floors are sanded completely flat, so distressed flooring is increasingly rare and considered a luxury that really compliments and reinforces traditional design schemes. As well as giving the impression that the floor has been crafted with care, it also exaggerates the natural qualities of wood and reflects light in a varied and attractive manner.

Distressed flooring you can buy today is typically finished by a machine, and unlike the original hand scraped boards, these can show a repeating distressed pattern. While still attractive and more affordable than hand distressed floors, some people feel that these machine distressed floors lose something of the natural feel.

Real hand-scraped distressed flooring is also available, though it is more expensive. This old world approach creates a truly unique floor. Hand-scraped distressed flooring can vary greatly in texture dependent on the skill of the person scraping the floor. Hand-scraped floors have become popular in upscale homes and commercial buildings.