What Is the Difference Between Hand-Scraped Floors and Distressed Floors?

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Textured hardwoods are very popular at the moment. There are several different types of textured hardwoods and several different ways to texture them. If you’ve been looking through different hardwood flooring trends, you’ve likely seen the words “distressed” and “hand-scraped” used. At a glance, they even look like they might be the same thing. They’re not quite the same, though. Distressing is a whole category of different techniques to make wood look older and more weathered. Hand-scraping is an specific process.


Before the advent of machines for processing wood, it had to be cut down and shaped by hand. To smooth out the rough wood, crafters would use a draw knife. That’s a knife with a handle on both ends. They would draw it towards themselves to shave off the surface of the wood until it was smooth. The wood would often be installed in the home and literally sanded; they would spread sand on the floor and rub it around until the floor was smooth. Obviously, a person could not scrape the floor in a perfectly uniform manner. The length, direction, and depth of each stroke is slightly different. That leads to an irregular appearance that evokes historical homes that were crafted by hand. Hand-scraped floors are growing in popularity as rustic interiors are growing in popularity.

Hand-scraped planks of wood are typically scraped before they are installed so that they look completely random. This is especially important if you choose a floor actually scraped by machines.

Distressed Floors

Distressed wood flooring is more of a category than anything specific. Wood is distressed by machines or by hand; it is a series of techniques to make the wood look weathered. Crafters will often add wormholes, burn marks, scrape marks, scuffs, and other signs of decay and age. They might add some nail holes or signs that the wood was once used for a different purpose. The idea is to make it look like reclaimed wood.

So, hand scraping is often an element of distressed floors. Hand scraping adds imperfection and irregularity to the wood.

If you’re looking for a wooden floor that evokes the look of classic homes, hand scraping could be the right choice. If you want the home to look antique but still well-maintained, hand scraping is the best option. If you want the home to look antique and worn, distressed is the better option for your interior design. In either event, if you are installing new hardwood in Detroit, call Natural Beauty Wood Floors. You’ll be glad you did!

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