Hardwood Flooring Colors And Styles
Much of the allure of hardwood flooring is the beauty that comes from the colors and patterns delivered by nature. Wood floors are natural products and as such the wood grain and coloring will have a natural variance from plank to plank. This variance can be lessened with various colored stains such as gunstock or butterscotch.
Plank vs. Strip
One determining factor in the appearance of a wood floor is the width of the flooring to be installed. Flooring is typically put into two basic categories: strip and plank. Strip flooring is typically 2 1/4" in width, though any plank less than 3" in width also is a strip floor, and will give a room far more variance. The use of strip flooring tends to make rooms feel larger and more formal. Flooring which is 3" or wider is referred as plank flooring. Planks tend to give a more comfortable, sometimes country feel and are very popular with exotic species. Plank flooring is becoming especially popular in higher-end homes and is more common in engineered or distressed/scraped flooring.
Natural Wood Styles
Natural wood floors come in a variety of naturally occurring tones. Typically wood colors change based on what portion of the tree they come from the sapwood or heartwood. The differences in color change depending species of wood, but typically the sapwood is lighter in color where the heartwood has deeper tones. This grain patterns and appearances of naturally occurring marks, such as mineral streaks, which add character to wood floors, will also depend on the grade of wood. Clear grades will typically have far more uniform color and grain patterns, with few, if any, character marks; whereas rustic or common grades of flooring will have far more character marks and variances in plank color and grain pattern.
Many lighter colored floors, typically domestic species like oak and maple, are featured in natural and stained varieties. Many stained floors are very popular as they still maintain the natural grain patterns of a wood floor, but provide a more uniform color and hue. Stains are applied over the top of the flooring, before finish coats are applied. Popular stains include butterscotch, gunstock, cherry, cappuccino and many others. Staining has also become very popular with bamboo flooring in order to obtain a variety of colors like cognac, jacobean and spice. Cork floors gain color through pigments which are added directly into the cork itself during production.
Hand Scraped and Distressed Hardwood
Before modern ways of machine based sanding were common, floors were hand scraped on-site to make sure they were flat. Nowadays people are turning to hand scraped and distressed floors to add texture and a unique feel to their floor.
Distressing is typically done by a machine, although some distressed floors are done by hand, these machine scraped floors can show a repeating pattern of distresses. Distressing is also seen as various ways to mark up a floor, which sculpt the floor in other ways beyond the typically hand scraped look. Although this makes for a less expensive alternative it can take away from the natural feel of the floor.
Actual hand scraped floors are done by hand. This old world approach, when properly done, creates a truly unique floor. Hand scraped floors differ 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.