For the longest time, hardwood floors basically came in one texture. You could get a perfectly smooth hardwood floor that had been sanded too perfection. It was then stained and sealed with layers of glossy polyurethane until it looked almost wet. That was the preferred look for everything from a blonde white oak to black mahogany. Fortunately, that has begun to change with rising trends in the hardwood flooring world.
1 — Open Grain
Open grain flooring can only be achieved with certain hardwoods. Oak and hickory are ring-porous hardwood species, and thus, can be used for open grain looks. Essentially, the wood between the grains is softer than the grains themselves. So, the wood can be brushed with a stiff brush that is hard enough to remove the soft wood but not so hard that it scrapes away the grain. The grain then rises up somewhat; it is said to be open.
2 — Hand Scraped
Before there were machines to plane wood smooth, it had to be smoothed by hand. A crafter would use a draw knife, which is a knife with handle at both ends. The crafter would draw the knife across the surface of the wood to scrape away the rough layers and leave behind a smooth layer. Since the crafter can’t use the exact same amount of pressure each time, itl eaves behind irregular waves in the surface of the wood. This has become a very desirable look for wood.
3 — Wire Brushed
A wire-brushed floor is similar in some ways to an open grain floor. The difference is the amount of texture that is left behind and the nature of it. A wire-brushed floor is brushed with stiff bristles. They remove the wood in very tiny scratches. You can do this by hand or with a machine. A machine creates a uniform texture on the wood. Doing it by hand creates an unpredictable, rustic look.
4 — Smooth
Though it is somewhat the opposite of texture, a smooth finish is a texture. The smooth finish is classic and clean. It’s simple and doesn’t draw attention to itself. A smooth hardwood floor is a very trustworthy design that will match just about anything you want to do in your home.
These four textures aren’t the only textures that are popular with hardwood floors; they’re just the most popular. You can also find hardwood floors that are rough sawn or even unfinished.