Distressed & aged wood floors - what are they?

If you’ve ever pored over glossy images of smart, newly done-up interiors, you have no doubt spotted spaces with what appear to be vintage, warm and slightly worn wood floors running throughout them. You may have wondered how the folks who inhabit these environs managed to inherit such a genuine, old-wood, flooring surface. The truth is, there is every chance that what you are admiring is not what it appears, and it is not antique at all. It's quite likely that this floor is actually a clever creation known as a distressed & aged wood floor. But is it old, you ask, or is it new?

TATTON reclaimed livingroom 2
Distressed & aged Landmark Tatton in mixed-width plank format
TATTON reclaimed bathroom
Design: Emma Milne Interiors

What is a distressed & aged finish in timber flooring?

To put it simply, a distressed & aged timber floor is a new wood floor designed to look like an old wood floor. It is not made from old or reclaimed timber. It is just as new as any other new wood floor, but it looks aged and patinated, as though it has seen service for decades if not centuries. This is achieved by clever, near-secret techniques in the milling process involving tumbling, hand-scraping, and other sorts of wizardry.

Distressed & aged timber flooring, being newly manufactured, will possess all the many advantages of modern, engineered timber, including the fact that it will be entirely compatible for use with underfloor heating. Additionally, it is available in any quantity you need and in all the colours and finishes you expect.

Oak Landmark Compton wide board engineered flooring in rustic distressed  finish with steel doors plants and bronze sculpture
Distressed & aged Landmark Compton, mixed-width plank format
Engineered oak flooring landmark scotney in reclaimed finish and mixed width

A new floor that looks old

Why would you want a new floor that looks old you ask? The answer is that distressed & aged timber floors give the impression that they have always been there. They look great in period properties, as they give the impression that they are an original or vintage feature that has been lovingly retained. They blend in, adding to the overall sense of age. Equally, these timber floors sit well in modern, contemporary properties, as they add texture to spaces that can sometimes find themselves dominated by smooth finishes. More crucially, they add contrast, suggesting that the designer has purposely juxtaposed something old and unique with the modern - for sheer drama and effect.

TATTON reclaimed herringbone kitchen
Distressed & aged Landmark Tatton in herringbone format - Design: Emma Milne Interiors

Reclaimed timber

For decades, there has been an active trade in seeking out and procuring timbers from old, often derelict structures. Enterprises dedicated entirely to collecting and offering these materials for sale, including floorboards, have done good business over the years. When one speaks of reclaimed floorboards, this is exactly what they are referring to. Bear in mind that these floorboards can be tricky to install and need finishing on-site, making it a laborious and often costly operation - usually without certainty of the exact outcome regarding colour and texture.

At Solid Floor, we also offer genuine reclaimed timber floors. These are, however, all pre-finished in factory environments so many colour and texture options are possible. Mostly salvaged from old train wagons, they are finished like any other pre-finished floor undergoing various processes before a final colour is applied. While a few are solid wood, most are engineered - where the top wear layer is made from genuine reclaimed wood. These floors have a stunning texture and patina, coming with a heftier price tag due to the many processes involved.

STANDON distressed timber in herringbone parquet
Distressed & aged Landmark Standon in herringbone format
STANDON distressed timber herringbone parquet in kitchen
Design: Selencky Parsons Studio

Distressed & aged finish in plank and parquet

Most of our floors at Solid Floor have the option of having them distressed to give an authentic aged look. This finish is available in plank format and parquet (herringbone and chevron). Our panels are manufactured in distressed & aged finish as standard. In plank format, combining a distressed finish with a selection of mixed widths makes a particularly effective vintage look. In our Landmark range, Dalton, Tatton, and Dyrham are popular choices, not to mention Knole, Scotney, and Compton. In our Strata range, Dale and Palisades make a great distressed & aged finish, as well as Glen.

Versailles interior
Distressed & aged Landmark Tatton in Versailles panel and plank
Oak landmark tatton versailles panel with leather sofas and tri-pod light