Handscraped hardwood -- will it become dated?

carsonheimJune 17, 2013

So we are in the process of building a new home. We are considering a medium-dark handscraped hickory flooring. However, I'm wondering if this is the "avocado green appliances" of flooring. I know it is quite trendy right now, but I'm wondering if in 10 years it will be passe'.

I had a laminate counter in the first home I ever purchased, and it was textured. That counter collected dirt in each of those little crevices, and it drove me nuts. I often wondered, "what on earth were the builders thinking to put this in???" I'm wondering if future buyers of my home might wonder that about the flooring...

Anyone else care to weigh in on this?

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Yes, it will quickly be dated, as will most "flavor of the month" trends. Not to mention what it looks like in the meantime.

To anyone who knows what a hand planed/scraped wood surface is supposed to look like what they sell as "handscraped flooring" is just a bad joke. It's just another way to disguise a bad, cheaply done surface and market it as a feature rather than a bug, much like the prefinished flooring with the v-grooves between every board.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:37PM
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rwiegand, thank you very much for your information. What kind of floor would you suggest? I am still struggling.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:09PM
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We are going to have hand scraped hardwood floors installed in our new build. We are building a "french country" style house on a 5 acre country lot. The style of the house (and our style of decorating) will coordinate nicely with the flooring. As for it being "dated" in the future, I have seen these floors for years and years in this style of decorating....think Four Seasons in Scottsdale...rustic yet classic.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 4:10PM
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It's already dated. The next trend is a backlash against the too dark floors that show everything. Back to "limewashed" floors again. (Not to be confused with 80's whitewashed floors.)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:16PM
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I agree it will become dated eventually. In my area a few years ago everyone was getting a dark stained floor and now that fad is over. Not to mention many of those people are not happy with it.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you put in 3/4" handscraped it can be sanded in the future but will require a lot of meat to be sanded off to get the scraped marks out and thus limited the life of the wood.

Anything thinner you probably wont be able to sand at all.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 6:34PM
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I think it's more about taste and in the case of where Kathi resides it will remain in style. But for other areas it will eventually go by the wayside. What most are not recognizing in what Greg mentions, can the floor be refinished for a new buyer if you do go with hand scraped.

For most engineered the answer is most likely no. Not only because of the depth of the scraping but the bevel design. Some of them take quite a "dive" off the edge of the board. I think the idea below is ideal for those that have those resale concerns.

It's called cross scraped hardwood with common solid 3/4" inch hardwood. No bevels and no deep scraping, where the floor can be refinished flat if need be. It's different but not everybody is doing it. I first heard of the idea through a Dallas contractor.

I only wish he had a video that showed the entire procedure. Costs aren't that high either, but that's for a common 2 1/4" strip floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scroll down to custom hand scraped floors

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:17AM
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rwiegand said: "To anyone who knows what a hand planed/scraped wood surface is supposed to look like what they sell as "handscraped flooring" is just a bad joke."

That comment is spot on correct. Those distressed or hand scraped floors that look authentic will never 'go out of style' in a residence where the hand scraped floor treatment coordinates with the architecture and overall design concept. Much of what tries to pass as authentic is the joke.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:49PM
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"Those distressed or hand scraped floors that look authentic will never 'go out of style' in a residence where the hand scraped floor treatment coordinates with the architecture and overall design concept."


    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:48PM
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It may be dated in the design world, but it's something that is so practical for so many people that it may outlive the prediction of it's demise. Many people have pets and kids and don't want their new floors to look like they do. If they are "proofed" against the wear and tear by being pre-distressed, they can relax a lot more and let the cat chase the dog or the kid roll their Tonka truck across it.

Living has become much more casual, and this type of floor reflects that. All that's needed is to have a similar transformation for the architecture that surrounds the modern floorplan with the distressed floors. Typical architecture still has the outward formality of a a French chateau or a Federalist manor. Modern open plan living is dissonant when trapped in such an exterior. Not to mention the awkward top hat roofs that result from having a home almost as deep as it is wide.

1 Like    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Authentic scraped floors are scraped so well that you would never know they are scraped because they are meant to give you a flat surface without sanding. I have no idea why people want a floor that would make chairs and tables wobble. The aluminum oxide that covers the wood leaves horrible white marks at the slightest provocation. Face it, dogs and kids scratch floors. The best you can do is get one that you can refinish easily. Aluminum oxide white scratches do not come out easily. If you really care about a quality floor that you can maintain and hide scratches, talk to a professional finisher. Those flooring stores and builders only sell you plastic coated floors that do not hold up. Consider an oil finish on site because they are easy to touch up.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 1:48AM
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The hand-scraped finish does not have crevices like your counter top had. I happen to love that finish. It wouldn't become dated because it is just a finish on a flooring, like a choice between high gloss, satin finish or flat. Tiling is the same. You can get it high gloss, flat, hand-scraped and I don't know how many other choices there are. It isn't a fad or a strikingly different from anything ever done color trend, like the avocado kitchens. The problem with those was that one had no choice in color decor. A floor finish is entirely different.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 2:40AM
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I've never found a manufactured "hand-scraped" product that looks anything like the floor I had when there was a guy who actually came to my house and "hand-sculpted" the floors. Are the floors you are considering going to be finished on site or will there be a crew actually doing the work of hand-scraping it? When the flooring salesmen tried to convince me that the pre-finished stuff is scraped by hand, there was no way I would believe it - I imagined some poor soul in China at a rack with 100 planers affixed to it pushing and pulling mass quantity of hand-scraping "by hand." A technicality at best.

I think the extra wide, extra distressed floors are a fad. When I visit my friend's 100 year old house and look at her 2 1/4 strip medium tone oak floor, and it still looks good to me, I think it has more staying power. But we'll all be getting our bell bottoms out again in about 20 years - so like most things, I bet it will come back around, you'll just have to wait for it. Do what you like best and don't worry about anyone else.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:38AM
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These unnatural machined looking floors will surely go out of favor. But they will likely need to be replaced before too long anyway. Today's floors do not last forever like the old ones do. If you can do solid, site finished, it is worth it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Yes, flavor-of-the-month trends like handscraped floors, dark-wood floors, linear-random mosaic backsplashes, etc. will quickly go out of style in a few years time, and will be thought of in the same way that orange and yellow overload was done in the 70s, and brass beds and brass home accents were done in the 80s. It's just trend of the moment type stuff.Lime washed floors, if they indeed become all the rage, will also be passe in a few years. For this reason, I think it's best to add value by doing the MAJOR upgrades in a style that is timeless, rather than the trend of the moment. The majority of potential buyers will not be disappointed to open the door and see a classic, beautifully finished, grainy wood floor. But in a few years time, they might be underwhelmed to see a very specific floor whose 'trend heydey' came and went a few years ago like a flash in the pan.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:41PM
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I'm sorry but THIS

will NEVER go out of style.
But of course you get what you pay for.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 12:38AM
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Curious what tools are required for a "real" handscraped floor. I'm currently refinishing a small area of maple hardwood that's original to my house, and would like to try the technique. (And yes, I have patience for tedious work.) Any advice?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 1:54PM
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IF you are not going to be selling your house in the next few years, go with what YOU like. There is on right or wrong--these are just floors we are talking about!

I think they are pretty and add character but again that is my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Before sanding machines were invented, an artisan would come to a home after the floors were installed and take a knife and scrape off lumps and bumps and smooth the transitions between boards by hand. Remember that boards back then were cut by hand so you could have a few millimeters difference in the thickness of the boards and if you didn't smooth that transition, you would be constantly tripping) A good scraper would do such a wonderful job that you wouldn't know that the floors had been scraped. There were no grooves or other obvious marks of his work. That is what real hand scraping is. The floor could then be oiled and you would have a flat smooth floor. This is pretty much a dead art because a sanding machine does a wonderful job in a fraction of the time.

Now what is called hand scraping by flooring manufacturers is actually mimicking a completely separate thing. What happens over the years to old floors is that foot traffic wears the boards over time. Different boards show this wear differently based on the wood itself. So softer spots of the wood that get a lot of foot traffic will develop a sort of rut wear pattern within the board. After a long time, the floor may take on a wavy appearance over an entire room. On a floor that has been worn this way, you rarely see multiple waves within a single board and definitely not in a 4 inch wide board. What flooring manufacturers are doing now is putting these waves artificially on narrow boards that would probably never develop these waves naturally because the board isn't wide enough to develop these wear patterns. Sure these waves are put in the board "by hand" (mechanical or otherwise) but they have nothing to do with true hand scraping which would never allow for those waves. If a hand scraper left those waves in the floor, they would never get another job!

I agree, if you like hand scraped floors, by all means, get them. Your home should be what you like and there is no way to future proof anything. No matter what you do, it will look dated in 20 years. No way around it. I think hand scraped floors can look nice in the right spaces. I would never have them, but I definitely appreciate why people like them.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:37PM
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A friend of ours has miles of hand scraped walnut in a very upscale home.

They have a large dog and the dog's nails have still scratched the heck out of the floors...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Ocpoolguy, those are beautiful floors. I remember the company from Houzz. But I bet they are out of my price range.

It seems like I can't get away from handscraped. This finish was always last on my wish list. But for some reason, my final selections always ended up being handscraped. My criteria was based on species (had to be durable with a good janka rating), color (medium, not too dark), and a price range of under $10 per square.

But, handscraped suits the look of our Spanish ranch style home so I'm ok with it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Hardwood floors, handscraped or not aren't going any where any time soon! Get what you love, and don't worry about what will be "trending" on GW in ten years....

2 Likes    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 5:39PM
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I did not like or want hardwood until I saw the 5" handscraped.

I grew up with hardwood and remember the constant dust mopping and draftiness of a room with hardwood. After seeing friends install the 2-3" hardwood years ago and the scratches and damage that occurred (kids and dogs), it confirmed my distaste for the flooring.

I saw the darker distressed hardwood and changed my mind. I picked my product and tested it by taking a hardwood sample from a flooring company and scratching my housekey on it. It did not leave a scratch or mark. Mine was installed last year and I could not be happier. I wanted to install it in my entire house. I have talked 2 friends who were carpet people and hated hardwood into installing it in their houses.

As far as trends, I don't care about that. Everything comes and goes in time.

This post was edited by cricket49 on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 18:42

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Cricket49, did you get real hardwood or engineered hardwood? I've been out all day looking at flooring and decided on the engineered Bruce Hickory Golden Brown Frontier Collection. Then I read these comments...argh! It has an aluminum oxide coating and the comments about leaving white marks make me nervous. I would love to hear more about your floor. We have to go engineered because we are installing over concrete slab.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Cricket49, I forgot to check the box for email responses. Doing so now. I anxiously await your response!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:56PM
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I tried to send you an email but it does not allow from your profile page. Do you have it set up to receive emails?

I bought the engineered hardwood in elm which is dark. We installed it on a concrete slab, I don't know what the white mark comment means since we have not experienced marks or scratches. We did put down felt pads (sticky) on all our furniture legs because we knew that would keep the floors looking good.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Thanks, cricket49! It was set up to receive emails. Not sure why it isn't now.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I just had birch installed in my house. It's slightly less than 5" wide and mimics maple (color) but has more movement. It's supposed to be "handscraped" but there isn't much actual handscraped markings. My dogs will probably change that though. I love the color and look. I hope they last. If not, I may have to have them refinished some day. I wanted hickory but couldn't afford it. I had light orangy oak but ripped it out (I hated it).

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Just to respond to realtrlady re: aluminum oxide coating....

We have engineered hardwood with that coating. I've been EXTREMELY pleased with how these floors have worn. They don't scratch easily but when they do scratch, I take either a Minwax wax pencil or Minwax stain marker, carefully apply it to the scratch, and then buff. Our floors have a satin finish and I make sure to look at the floor from all angles in different light to ensure that the "repair" doesn't have a noticeably different sheen than the rest of the floor. Only certain scratches will look white and that disappears even if I just take a damp paper towel (or wet finger!) and rub the area. The stain also takes care of it. The stain typically doesn't penetrate, because the scratches aren't getting through the aluminum oxide surface. I'm not even sure how to explain what it does, but it just helps to blend out the scratch.

Our floors also happen to be that machined "hand-scraped" finish. Fortunately the satin finish makes the waviness less obvious than would a higher-gloss finish. I do think it will ultimately seem dated, but fortunately the floors are otherwise very standard-looking.... typical oak floors and you need to be viewing the floor from a certain angle to even notice the hand-scraped look. I think a very dark floor that is hand-scraped will ultimately look more dated, mainly because dark floors are also a trend. We went with the hand-scraped not because we loved it, but because we wanted the easy installation of a floating engineered floor, really wanted the low-gloss of a satin finish, wanted boards a certain width, and wanted to stay in a certain price range. We couldn't find all that without the hand-scraped finish.

This post was edited by lizzie_nh on Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 17:37

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Thanks, lizzie_nh! That's exactly what I needed to know. You said you floated your floor? I have a slab and they said they would be gluing to the slab. No underlayment of any kind.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:13PM
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In our last home we installed engineered hardwoods with an aluminum oxide finish. I believe the color was gunstock. We have 3 big dogs. If one looked closely, grooves from the dogs' nails were visible. There were no white scratch marks, and I never had to fill in a scratch. We moved about 6 months ago and I'm looking at the same type of flooring for this house. I really like the look. The care is so easy, and that is a HUGE factor for me.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:38PM
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Semi hijacking....
realtrrldy, did you have those bruce floors installed? Would love to hear feedback and see pictures!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 5:47PM
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I'm so glad there is so much information here. After reading a lot and visiting stores, I've decided on real handscraped hickory from a wood flooring supplier. They'll oil it for us and it should look beautiful. And the price isn't that much more than the mass-made stuff I saw at Flooring America and Home Depot and Lowe's. We are still in the framing stage but I will post pictures in a few months. I love the look and really don't care if it's a fad. But the difference between the real flooring that you can finish or oil and the factory stuff is night and day.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 6:54AM
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Be sure that you are OK with the extra maintenence requirements of an oiled floor. It has to be periodically re-oiled. That means every couple of years, moving out all of your furniture and applying the oil. Then waiting for it to cure. That's in addition to the more frequent spot repairs of the traffic paths. Many people love the look, but don't realize about those upkeep requirements.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 1:28PM
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That's pretty intensive maintenance. foes it depend on the type of oil finish?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 5:50PM
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We finished our fumed white oak floors with clear Rubio Monocoat and they still look great. I love the oil look and am not a fan of shiny plastic-looking floors. It is pretty easy to maintain. I bought a big bottle of their cleaning solution and one tablespoon in a squirt bottle full of water will last a month or so. One spot had to be refinished because we were touching up some paint on a wall and a little bit of paint got on the floor. Easy enough to hand sand that one spot and oil it. Maybe took 10 minutes. It is true that every few years you do have to refinish high traffic areas but we do it right before vacation so it is no big deal. Rubio Monocoat makes a product that only needs 2 days to cure. You don't have to refinish the whole house every few years, only high traffic areas like a hallway or the foyer and kitchen. The portions of the floor that are under rugs or furniture are like new and don't need any redoing.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2015 at 8:56PM
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The manufacturer's rep that we just had the seminar with recommended spot repairs as needed, but when recoating, to recoat the whole floor so that the floor would maintain the same film thickness, miniscule build though it might have. If you only recoat the wear paths that show the scratches, you end up with a subtle difference in visual depth between the areas. He said that the recoating should be every 3-5 years if the customer keeps up with the spot repairs. He also said that the hardwax oils are more difficult to refinish down the road, as they penetrated the wood, and the wood would require more sanding to remove the stain and finish before being able to accept a new finish. But, the only reason that they would ever need refinishing was a color change, or water damage that didn't flatten out.

Look at the particular manufacturer's website for the care requirements for the wood that you are considering. Since this is newish to the American market, the care requirements may vary. And some folks may be the guinea pigs for them finding out what works in the real world, and what doesn't. :~/

    Bookmark   January 2, 2015 at 12:46PM
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Legacy Floors

Good quality handscraped oil finished floors are here to stay. Why? Because they ARE the traditional way of doing hardwood floors the right way. They are beautiful, practical and have so much personality. For the last 20 years, we have been pouring layers of plastic on our hardwood floors, and we all know the results. It only looks best on day 1, after years of abuse, you're talking about refinishing, only to start the whole process all over again. I could not love my oil finished hand scraped white oak any more than I already do.
Polyurethane is the fad. Hand scraped oil finished wood is a rich tradition, and a beautiful one at that.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 8:56PM
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