Since the 1980’s and the evolution of environmentally responsible products, trends toward timeworn, authentic floor stylings have evolved as well. In the world of flooring, natural materials such as stone and cork are being used more and more. But the trends toward aged or authentic styling is more evident in hardwood flooring trends than perhaps in any other interior finish category.
Replacing Hardwood Floors Versus Refinishing
Virtually every week, we are asked to determine whether it is less expensive to replace tired, worn hardwood floors with new or to sand, refinish, and attempt to restore the existing hardwood. As a rule, it’s less expensive to refinish floors than replace them. But not every hardwood floor is suitable for sanding. Homeowners should have one or two qualified, reputable refinishing companies inspect the flooring and offer their opinions.
However, even if your floor is a good candidate for refinishing replacement may still be worth considering. The majority of hardwood floors installed between 1970-2000 in the U.S. – typically traditional 2¼” and 3¼” strip oak – are no longer the go-to choice for designers and decorators of better homes. The major manufacturers are innovating designs in wider, longer planks, reclaimed and barnwood looks, and open grain styles such as wirebrush styling.
If you decide to replace rather than refinish, other than styling and product benefits, an important conversation to have with your flooring company is whether solid (3/4” thickness, typically) or engineered (usually 3/8” – 9/6” thickness) is appropriate for your application.
Wider and Longer Planks
Wider width hardwood – 5”, 7”, and more – harkens back to an era of handcrafted materials and true craftsmanship. For visual effect, wider and longer planks tend to make spaces feel larger and more open, making it ideal for rooms where people gather.
Panorama Dusk Hardwood by Shaw, seen below, is our go-to when recommending a wide plank hardwood to customers.
Distressed Wood Styles – The “Barn to Bedroom” Movement
On several home décor TV shows you may see a designer repurpose an old farm house’s lumber for use inside a fantastic renovation project. For the majority of people, that isn’t an option, but you can still capture the look and spirit of reclaimed wood in a number of ways by choosing a distressed style.
Distressed and hand-scraped wood floors offer a historic, timeworn aesthetic. Removing the top soft layer of wood, leaving only the hard lower surfaces, reveals character – and the passing of time. Terms you may hear a lot are “chatter marks”, “saw marks”, nail holes, etc. These are characteristics that one would find in real reclaimed materials but now the manufacturers have been able to replicate these effects in the manufacturing process.
A style that is trending way up is wire brushed hardwood. Wire brushed styling has fewer “special effects,” meaning little or no handscraping or chatter marks. The face of the wood is ‘dry’, recalling the era when wire bristles were used to open the grain and enhance the finish. No more shiny, glossy urethane finishes. Wire brushed hardwood is also very effective at masking chips or scratches. The icing on the cake is that many wire brushed and handscraped hardwood lines alike are very affordable.
Have any questions about what hardwood is going to look best in your home for years to come? Not yet sure if you need to refinish or replace your existing hardwood? We’re happy to help you with your flooring decision, drop us a line and get a free in-home consultation, on your time.