Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The pendulum swings again. It seems the market for distressed, oil finished floors has grown tremendously. People are no longer clamoring for smooth, shiny exotics. Now it is all about wire-brushed white oak. Perhaps it is because these floors look and feel more natural, more like the hardwood floors of yore. 

It’s not surprising. In this fast-paced, digital, plastic world, people may be looking to create simple, peaceful retreats. And natural materials are often chosen for such environments.

These particular products look and feel ‘real.’ The wider width boards lend themselves to the feeling of authenticity. They also look more handcrafted, more like the floors of yesteryear, when people, not machines, took the time to create quality. There has been a trend towards rustic spaces reminiscent of European farmhouses: less stuff, white walls, solid wood furniture, and textured linens. Wide width, distressed, oil finished floors are perfect companions to such a design scheme.

But there is no need to box yourself in. These products work in a variety of interiors, from traditional to rustic to contemporary. They can be at home in a seaside cottage or a downtown loft. And although white oak is the most prevalent, there are other species available, including walnut, hickory and maple. There is also a variety of stained products, offering different shades of brown, red, grey, and ebony. White washed floors are also finding their way into the mainstream.

Oil finished floors require different care and maintenance regimens. The oil finish is absorbed into the wood, as opposed to polyurethane or aluminum oxide which create a protective coating on top of the wood. So, the more natural look stems from the fact the wood is “naked,” so to speak. This means the floor is a bit more vulnerable to spills, dirt, and water damage. And oil finish floors require special floor cleaners. You shouldn't use the same cleaners recommended for polyurethane finished floors, nor should you wet mop. Oil finish floors also require periodic re-coating.

Don’t let any of that scare you away from an oil finished product. Because they are distressed, and not shiny, their bumps and bruises are less noticeable than on a polyurethane or aluminum oxide finished floor. Also, an oil finished floor can be spot treated, unlike the others, which require the entire floor be sanded and finished, or damaged boards replaced.

Naturally (see what I did there), I am a big fan of these products. I appreciate their beauty and the fact that I can actually feel the wood. 

If you might be interested in a distressed, oil finished product, give us a call or send us an e-mail. We would be happy to help you in creating the beautifully serene space you desire.

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