In case you haven’t given much thought to the symbolism that is associated with flooring, you might benefit from this brief introduction more than you imagined. Wood floors – above all other floor coverings – has been a symbol of home and comfort for as long as man has been building shelters.
While your first interaction with interior space is visual, the first physical contact you and your guests have upon entering your home is the flooring.
Wood is the seminal material for floors and despite time, it remains so.
Hand-scraped wood floors bring together the past and present, offering homeowners a dramatic, traffic-stopping focal point that is unique among hardwood floor options.
In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of handscraped hardwood floors in houses, the cost associated with such type of flooring, cleaning tips and much more.
Table of Contents
What is Hand Scraped Hardwood Flooring?
If the name of this flooring suggests artisans using manual scraping tools to move across wood planks thus creating unique surface patterns, you have a good idea how the process is accomplished.
Hand scraping has become a trendy and extremely popular contemporary option for homeowners seeking out-of-the-ordinary floors.
As the description suggests, hand scraping is akin to distressing surfaces so the finished floor appears to have been installed in the past.
The original idea behind hand scraping floors had nothing to do with aesthetics. In the past, there were no tools capable of leveling uneven wood floors, so hand-scraping methods were employed to ensure uniformity and create safer surfaces.
Craftsmen often soaked the wood in water to make the job go faster and easier. All types of hardwood can be used to craft these planks today and while real hardwood is preferred, folks can save quite a bit of money by choosing machine scraped planks for their homes instead.
Pros of Hand Scraped Hardwood Floors
- Hand scraped flooring adds character to any room, creates a sense of warmth and delivers an appearance that is so unique, no other hand scraped hardwood floor looks identical to the one that is installed in your home. The distressed finish suggests rustic, authentic, hand cut planks culled from the forest, giving your living space character, distinction and a look that suits all manner of decorating themes.
- Hand scraped hardwood flooring offers homeowners extended durability because the nature of the wood’s grain and texture won’t reveal traffic flaws that might ruin the look of a smooth wood floor. Bring on the kids, the pets and the normal wear-and-tear of daily living, yet these floors remain gorgeous. Scratches, dents and mars? They blend into the whole and may even enhance the floor. For these reasons and more, area rugs, while nice decorative touches, aren’t really necessary because you’re not trying to hide any flaws.
- Maintaining hand scraped flooring is easier to accomplish than the processes and tasks required to keep other floor surfaces clean and tidy. This floor option is so low maintenance, it saves homeowners time and effort. Surveys taken of homeowners point to all manner of hand scraped flooring materials as being the least time-consuming and laborious because a thorough cleaning only requires regular dusting and sweeping.
- You can enjoy the wood that you prefer for your home floors. Any type of hardwood can be hand scraped to create flooring planks which is why homeowners have so many choices these days. From oak and walnut to teak, each of these woods are ideal for hand scraping and for today’s homeowner seeking sustainable material for their abodes, bamboo is fast becoming a favorite material for fans of hand scraped floors.
- The durable anti-scratch finish used to seal hand scraped flooring materials has been proven to last for two decades on average, and you don’t have to bother with the periodic refinishing tasks required of other wood products – like sanding and re-sealing — because that anti-scratch finish is made to withstand time and wear. After 20 years have passed, you can consider screening and re-coating hand scraped hardwood floors if you have nothing else to do, but why bother?
Cons of Hand Scraped Hardwood Floors
- You will spend a fortune if you choose this floor covering because the manufacturing process is extremely costly, time-consuming and exacting. While all hardwood floor products are subjected to highly-automated production processes, there is no comparison to the specialized type of finishing techniques that are required to produce this unique type of flooring. Some companies hire artisans to do the work from start to finish, one of the reasons prices for this flooring are so high. In some cases, there may be a mix of machine and hand carpentry involved to achieve the desired end result.
- Installation is no walk in the park. Craftsman use the words “challenging” and “difficult” to describe the hand scraped floor installation process and the larger the area that must be covered, the longer the install will take. Installers must line up planks in a way that emphasizes the hewn look of the arrangement before joining tongues and grooves. The flooring job is completed via a flooring nailer that interfaces all of the planks while making sure that the rugged, rustic look of the flooring is not compromised.
- You can’t change the color of your flooring if you choose a hand scraped floor. Due to the uniquely textural surface finishing followed by the requisite anti-scratch sealant that is applied to to deliver that “I don’t have to do a thing to keep this floor looking perfect for 20 years” finish, changing the color of either hand or machine scraped flooring may prove to be an impossible task. That stated, there is one way to change the floor color and it is extreme, requiring a skilled contractor to completely re-sand every inch of the floor and then re-scraping all of it from scratch.
- You may never get your investment back. While you are impressed enough by the process of laying a floor that has no equal in terms of beauty, vintage styling and uniqueness to make a major investment in this type of floor, not everyone in the market to buy a new home may share your viewpoint. Even homeowners with no intention of ever selling can run into circumstances that require them to put their homes on the market and while architectural improvements like bathroom and kitchen upgrades tend to boost return on investment, hand scraped hardwood floors are unlikely to convince home shoppers to pay more for the home because it has hand scraped flooring.
- If you don’t hire someone skilled in this specific type of hardwood floor install, you could wind up living with regrets for as long as you live in the home. This floor specialty requires unique skills, patience and artistry. Homeowners choosing to cut corners by undertaking the install themselves — or hiring Uncle Henry because he has installed a floor or two in his day — may wind up with regrets in addition to an ugly floor. One homeowner hired a local contractor with zero experience to do the job and is still complaining about the finish he calls “solid wood planks that were clobbered with chains,” an early warning for DIYers who want to try creating this flooring themselves.
Many factors go into the installation of hand scraped hardwood floors: area size, type of wood, installation labor, material delivery costs and sales taxes. These factors should be taken into account before starting the job:
-The final cost will be based on underlayment installation on a level subfloor plus the arduous process of culling and blending the surface followed by blind nail wood flooring.
-You may have to factor in remediation of subfloors and surfaces that require repair or leveling.
-Labor rates in specific geographic areas are likely to dramatically impact the final cost.
-Complex layout configurations (corners, levels and unusual floor shape) can add considerably to the bill.
-High end hand scraped wood flooring is likely to come with extended warranties; low-cost versions may not.
On average, a 535-square foot floor with no extenuating repair or underlayment problems is likely to cost between $1,430.55 and $1,883.80, according to Homewyse.
Labor costs for the estimated 28 hour time period this resource projects is between $1,836.31 and $3,454.33 and includes set-up, surface prep, job completion, trash removal and cleanup.
Using these estimates, a homeowner can calculate spending between $3,517.01 and $5,635.53 to complete the 535-square foot project.
Homeowners considering the installation of a hand scraped floor can visit the Homewyse website , input the square footage of the job in question by zip code and factor in variables to come up with a general figure that can make a good starting point for the project.
Cleaning and Care
Despite the high cost of installing a hand scraped hardwood floor, the rewards are bountiful, particularly when it comes to care and maintenance of this type of surface.
You’ll need just a few tools to do the job (vacuum or dry mop; broom; dust pan, towels, hardwood floor mop and cleaner) and the process couldn’t be easier:
- Vacuum weekly to keep dirt and dust at a minimum and to make sure soil isn’t ground into the nooks and crannies created by the process of scraping the wood surface. Alternately, a dry mop can handle the weekly job.
- Don’t wait to clean up dry spills; clean them up immediately for the same reasons. Be especially vigilant if abrasives (e.g., sand) wind up on the floor because these materials can be ground into this type of flooring and wear away the finish and ridges if left unattended.
- Wet spills should be addressed immediately as well. Due to the way the surface is prepared, spills can be absorbed into the grain if left standing. Mop up spills using an absorbent towel and then rinse off the entire surface with water or a wood floor cleaner before drying the floor with another clean towel.
- Wash hand scraped floors only as needed, say experts — when there are spills. This type of flooring is a homeowner’s dream. Follow the aforementioned weekly vacuuming or dry mopping protocol and attend to spills and floor washing won’t be necessary for the life of the floor.
What types of hardwoods are best for hand scraped floors?
For homeowners eager to see the vast variety of woods used to create hand scraped surfaces, a visit to Pinterest contributors here is a good idea. As you can see, your variety of choices are expansive. Will any hardwood due? Actually, some candidates are better than others, so use these factors to make your decision:
-Domestic species like oak, pecan, pine and walnut are the most often-chosen woods for this flooring finish.
-While maple and teak are beautiful, these two woods can be difficult to work with thus you may spend even more for installation if you choose either type.
-Some bamboos are being used because this hardwood is an environmentally-friendly option.
-While engineered hand scraped wood lacks the quality of hardwood, it can be an acceptable alternative for homeowners who can’t afford the real thing.
What are the differences between hardwood scraped by hand vs. machine?
-While a machine can replicate the pits, scrapes and mars of hand-scraping, the finish will be more repetitive than original looking.
-Individual boards chosen by the contractor for workmanship potential make hand scraped floor patterns more distinct.
-You can customize the look if it’s hand-scraped; not so if it is a machined product that relies upon repetition.
-Get more variety with hand-scraping; a mix of deep grooves, scratches and other distress marks.
-Obviously, the price differential is the biggest difference of all: Hand scraping can easily be compared to artistry because, in the end, the finished product is truly one-of-a-kind.
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