Distressing Hardwood Floors

Contractors who have perfected distressing wood floors have done so through a process of trial and error, using a variety of techniques to create different effects. Because of the level of skill and artistry required, this premium service is in high demand by consumers. Try these tips and techniques to create antiqued flooring finishes:

  • Walnut, oak, hickory/pecan, pine and similar species adapt particularly well to hand-distressing and scraping, while harder species such as maple and some exotics are difficult to scrape and do not lend themselves to the antiqued look.
  • Hand scrape with the grain of the wood, avoiding knots. (The raised area of the knots will provide much of the character in the floor and simulate wear patterns.)
  • Use chains, hammers and chisels to create dents and cracks on the wood that emulate age.
  • Drills and ice picks can be used to create worm-hole effects.
  • Use a soldering iron to add burn marks.
  • After the character marks are made, many contractors accentuate them by adding black wood filler, resin, acid, inks or dyes. Applying dark stain traps the color in the nooks and crannies of the floor. Experiment on test pieces.