What is a hand scraped wood floor?


What is a hand scraped wood floor?


Hand scraped wood floors are nothing new. In fact, American wood flooring craftsmen in the mid 1800's used a scraping tool to level out uneveness between planks long before modern electric tools such as the belt sander were available. Along the way, someone discovered that the artful application of the scraping tool could be used to create a unique hand-made, rustic texture. The custom scraped floors were a unique design feature but soon after, homeowners began to recognize some the practical advantages. These floors were finished with a texture that hides the typical bumps, bruises, and scratches that other floors can’t hide so easily.


Are all “hand scraped wood floors” the same? No. Almost every prefinished wood flooring manufacturer offers a line of “hand scraped” or “distressed” prefinished wood flooring. BUT these prefinished options fall short of delivering the same benefits and long-term value of real, solid, hand scraped hardwoods.


Authentic, solid wood floors that are finished in the home (site finished) may be a little less convenient up front than then engineered, prefinished variety but in the long run, they’re worth it! Why? Solid wood floors…

· can be refinished or repaired if needed

· can be recoated to rejuvenate the finish to like-new condition

· can be stained to match almost any color

· are sealed seamlessly to offer better stain and water resistance


Let’s talk about the wood… To create a real hand scraped wood floor, you need to start with solid wood plank flooring. Usually the wood is Common Red Oak, either #1 or #2. Plank widths start at 2-1/4” and go up to 3-1/4”, 4”, 5”, and on up. The question regularly comes up regarding what width to use. The wider the plank, the more expensive the material is. In our experience, hand scraping tends to visually blur the appearance of the plank width joints so spending a great amount of money on upgrading the plank size doesn’t translate into a more expensive looking floor.


Creating the hand scraped texture… The unique process of creating the "hand-scraped" finish requires tools which are customized for the task and craftsman-like attention to detail. The scraping tool itself is similar to a paint scraper with a steel blade and a sturdy handle. However, the skill of the technician is what creates the one-of-a-kind texture. It takes years of supervised experience to learn the craft and develop a “feel” for the scraping technique. But the scraping is only one part of the total process. The finishing procedure of staining, sealing, screening, and recoating the wood floors all contribute to the totally custom look of worn wood with deep color and subtle highlights.


Are the scraped wood floors too rough? This is a concern that we see a lot from homeowners who anticipate that these floors will feel rough underfoot or will snag on their socks. We screen the floors several times and apply 3 coats of sealer/finish which build up a protective layer on the floors without looking too “plastic.” This is usually enough to smooth out even the roughest spots but on occasion we have replaced a plank or two that turned out to be excessively rough.


Can I afford real hand scraped wood floors? If you’ve been to a local flooring retailer and seen the price of installed engineered, prefinished, “hand scraped” floors, we think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how affordable real floors are. The current cost per actual* square foot is $8.50 including a plywood subfloor, oak, all materials and labor.


*Actual square foot means the measurements wall to wall beforee adding a “waste factor.” Here’s why this is important. A recent visit to a flooring retailer revealed a sneaky and underhanded pricing method that we thought was unconscionable.

EXAMPLE: If a home project added up to exactly 1,000 square feet, the retailer would add a minimum of 10% flooring material to the job for waste, making it 1,100 square feet. Here’s where it gets hairy. Even though the actual size of the job is 1,000 square feet, they charged for 1,100 of labor, flooring, and glue. A material that started at $4.99 on the display ended up costing $9.98 out the door!! UNBELIEVABLE!!



This copyrighted content is provided courtesy of HSW Floors. To visit HSW Floors on the web, go to hand scraped wood floors dallas.

Comments 2 comments

James 6 years ago

Great article. I hate getting switched around on price.


Charles 6 years ago

My first question was if the real scraped floors are too rough. But you answered that. I like the pictures and I'm going to be looking around for a contractor to do this in my area. If I can't find someone, I'll give you a shout.

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