These Top 5 hardwood flooring trends are not driven by mere fashion or some longing to keep up with the next-door neighbors. Instead, this Top 5 reflects the desire of homeowner to bring the art of nature into their homes so they can enjoy authentic natural beauty.
This is the Big Kahuna of flooring trends today—and for good reason. In this era of smarter and smarter phones, reality TV “stars,” and constant change, where do we find equilibrium and calm? Many of us look to nature and the appeal of slower times. Authenticity is behind a desire for floors that take inspiration from the past, charms us, or help us live lives more attuned to nature. It leads to these choices in flooring showrooms:
• Wide-plank, hand scraped, distressed floors. These replicate historical flooring, going back to early America.
• Exotics. These are unusual tree species from all over the world.
• Bamboo and cork. Though not hardwoods, these are also products of nature. No trees need to cut down to produce these sustainable products.
Each tells a story about you and your values. Your most cherished value is history, rare beauty, or the environment.
2. Hand scraped Hardwood Flooring
Through the 1800’s, finish surfaces for hardwood floors were commonly worked by hand with draw knives. These were simple flat blades attached to two handles. By pulling toward him or herself, the craftsman could scrape thin layers of wood off a piece of lumber, slowly smoothing the top surface. Inevitable, scraping marks were left behind; proving for generations to come that a piece of wood had been worked by hand. Hand scraped marks are commonly seen in flooring reclaimed from old structures. These signs from another time tell a story about craftsmanship that is now replicated by today’s flooring manufacturers who have planks hand scraped in a similar manner to get the look and feel of salvaged historical lumber. These beauty marks authentically reproduce a genuine look from the past. Today’s hand scraped floors are also distinctive to walk on barefoot. With each step, homeowners will feel slight variations in the surface—their feet feeling the evidence of a craftsman’s skills.
3. Wide-Width Wood Planks
The next time you are walking through a building from the 1800’s, look at how wide the floor planks are. Instead of the 2-inch to 3-inch widths common today, earlier floors were 5 to 8 inches wide—and more—depending on the species of wood. The reason is easy to understand. Trees were much more mature when cut in earlier times, which meant they were also thicker. Most of the old-growth trees are gone or protected from harvest now. So trees for flooring are thinner and wide planks rarer. However, 4- to 5-inch planks offer more authentic beauty than thinner slices. So manufacturers are finding ways to offer this wider lumber. These create a look that is more leisurely and languid. This is a hat-tip to less-hurried time.
4. Distressed Wood Flooring
Those who lived through the distressed-wood trend of the 1970’s can relax. Today’s distressed doesn’t go overboard; it merely replicates the look seen from use and age of authentic, reclaimed flooring. This second coming of distressed wood actually has its roots in the early 1990’s when reclaiming flooring from old warehouses and commercial buildings emerged as a hot niche market. Those structures, built in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, offered a wealth of old-growth lumber, marked by decades of rough use. The gouges, nail holes, stains, slices, and saw marks were scars of authenticity. By their interest in authentic distinguishing features that had pounded earlier flooring, homeowners today are showing their admiration for an era when skill rather than electronic technology was king.
5. Exotic Hardwood Floors
Exotic hardwoods appeal to a different sense of authenticity. What wins the heart here is the art of nature. How is it that trees can offer such elegance in form and still function so well as flooring? What a marvel. There is the bold striping of tiger wood, the depth of Brazilian cherry, the rich beauty of teak. There are looks for every taste. In addition to these authentic woods, manufacturers are also inventing ways to cut, bake and dye woods to mimic many of the exotics. This allows homeowners to obtain the look they want without endangering wood species in this country or abroad.
Courtesy of wfca.org