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By far the most popular type of hardwood flooring is a rich, deep natural color enhanced by a glossy finish. The almost wet-looking finish on a hardwood floor is very distinct and very attractive. However, it’s being challenged in some places by a new trend; the new trend is bleaching, or blanching, your hardwood floors. It is very popular in seaside locations and farmhouse style homes. The look reflects the bleached look of many old, coastal homes. The coastal homes of the 18th and 19th century achieved the look through the use of lime. Lime protects wood from termites, mold, mildew, and moisture. It also turns the wood a washed-out color. The color became synonymous with breezy beach homes and rustic coastal getaways. For those reasons, bleached wood has been trending. There are several ways to achieve the bleached wood look. Each way has benefits and disadvantages.

Prefinished Hardwood

The simplest way to achieve a bleached look is with prefinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood, as the name implies, is hardwood that has been finished with a stain and a sealant at the factory where it was produced. If you’re looking from a bleached look, it was probably stained with a grayish white stain that will achieve the look. It’s then sealed with  polyurethane and aluminum oxide that has been UV cured. It’s an incredible durable finish that will last for a very long time.

It will also be easy to replace damaged planks if that situation arises. You’ll just buy the same planks you bought before and they’ll arrive in the exact same shade. You don’t have to worry about human error or stains not quite blending properly. Prefinished hardwood limits your options, though.

Site Bleached Wood

 When hardwood flooring planks are finished after they’ve been installed, they are called site finished. Site finishing typically involves staining and then covering the floor with a  layer of polyurethane. This takes more time than prefinished hardwood, but it offers you more options for your bleached look. You can customize the stain color to be exactly what you had in mind. You can also use more traditional processes if you so choose.

There are several ways to bleach a floor. Lime washing the floor will give you the most authentic seaside look. You can also apply an ammonia bleach to your floor; this is the same bleach you use to keep your white clothes white but at a higher concentration. This will remove stains and dyes but it doesn’t alter the wood color. To alter the wood color, you would need a two-part bleach. If you’re working with  contractor, he or she can walk you through how to do that.