Everything You Need to Know About Distressed Hardwood Flooring

There are different types of hardwood flooring based on the wood species, plank-type, finish, stains, and textures. The choices are varied, and many homeowners often have a hard time choosing the right one. Your lifestyle and the requirements you have influences the decision. Distressed and hand scraped hardwood is a trending option because of the rustic appeal and character it has.

This post shares the basics of how distressed looks, is created and the benefits of choosing this texture for your home.

Making of distressed hardwood

Distressed is the term used for hardwood planks that have worn down with age. However, these days, it can be created from new floorboards by distressing them with machinery and using the right finish and stain to mimic the distressed look. Machine-made distressed flooring has a repetitive pattern that sets it apart from the real thing. But since it is machine made and mass-produced, they are cheaper than hand scraped or reclaimed wood.

Choosing between distressed or hand-scraped

Distressed Vs Handscraped Hardwood Flooring - Know the Differences

Many homeowners believe that distressed and hand-scraped are the same style which is not the case. While they are identical to a certain extent, the method of production is vastly different. As the name suggests, hand scraped hardwood is created by adding character to the new floorboards by hand. The texture can be variable and depends largely on the skills of the person scraping the floor.  It goes without saying that the hand-scraped floor is more expensive of the two because it is labour-intensive. Choosing between distressed and hand-scraped hardwood is a matter of your budget and personal choice.

Benefits of distressed hardwood

This unique texture has several benefits which make it a popular choice among many homeowners. Though comparative expensive to other textures of hardwood due to its production method, the advantages associated with it make it worth the price. The following are certain benefits which make distressed hardwood a beloved choice among many people looking for new hardwood flooring for their home.

  • Hides damage

Distressed hardwood has a dramatic texture with prominent knots, irregular colour and graining that has a lot of character. Due to this look, any minor scratches and dents which appear over time, blend in with the texture, enhancing its rusticity further. Since the flooring is already distressed for aesthetic reasons, any signs of damage get camouflaged. Homeowners will not have to meticulously maintain the floor to retain its polished appearance as the chosen texture itself has a rugged vibe.

  • Versatile

Despite its dramatic style, distressed hardwood blends with almost every type of interior décor, whether contemporary, rustic or traditional. These floors have character marks like worm holes, discolouration, and overall worn out look that imparts a rustic charm to any room where it is installed. A combination of proper lighting and the flooring can transform any room into an interior décor masterpiece with minimum effort.

  • Enhanced durability

Any home or place with high traffic will find this type of flooring particularly beneficial as it can mask the damage the floor experiences from so many feet. The distressed floor will look as good as new despite the scratches and dent marks that appear over the years due to its dramatic texture. Hence, you can post-pone refinishing the floor to a significant extent. Do note that major damage which goes beyond basic repair should be addressed. If you have children and pets in the house and the chances of floor abuse are high, this is the ideal texture to opt for.

  • Low maintenance

The distressed texture hides minor scratches and dust accumulation easily, making it easier to maintain. Even if you skip the routine cleaning service once in a while, the floor will not look too bad. The grooves are shallow so it only requires simple sweeping as the dust and debris will not set into the depths of the grooves. Distressed hardwood flooring has a matte finish by default to retain its natural appeal.


There are certain drawbacks to this unique texture. Keeping them in mind will ensure you are making an informed choice after considering your needs.

  • Carbon footprint

Though the result looks very natural, distressed hardwood is machine-made and produces a larger carbon footprint compared to other flooring options. A more environment-friendly choice would be reclaimed hardwood though it is difficult to procure making it more expensive.

  • Expensive

Compared to other types of hardwood textures and finishes, distressed floorboards are expensive because of their production process. If you love the distressed look but have a tight budget for the flooring project, choose engineered hardwood, Luxury vinyl or laminate which can mimic the same look at a much more affordable price.

  • Resale value

While the distressed texture is trending, it is a style that is not universally appealing. If you want to sell your home in the future, consider elements which will add to its resale value. There are many people whose aesthetic sense will differ from yours and they may be hesitant about the dramatic impact that distressed wood has in the interior décor.

Major considerations

There are certain important criteria that you must take note of to determine whether distressed wood is the best option. They are:

  • Personal preference and taste
  • The average foot traffic
  • If there are kids and pets among the residents of the house
  • Amount of time you can spare for maintenance
  • Resale value of the chosen flooring
  • The overall budget limit

Distressed hardwood texture has a rustic charm that appeals to many homeowners. It is also practical when regular cleaning and maintenance is not feasible. The various benefits, drawbacks, and factors associated with distressed hardwood flooring are discussed so that you are aware of what you are investing in.

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