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What is Distressed Wooden Flooring?

Ageing and distressing — giving a sense of history to your new floor

To distress a wood floor is to weather flooring by hand or by using machinery, tools and/or treatments. The aim is to add enough imperfections to age the board and give it character, whilst keeping it fully functional.

Distressing boards is a great way to add timeless charm to any home. We’ve had great successes with aged and distressed boards in listed buildings and period homes.

Chaunceys' Regency Russet distressed wood flooring at Hatfield House project

Ageing Agents

Most flooring manufacturers and finishers use their own closely guarded secret combinations and recipes of ageing agents and finishes. Ageing agents react with the wood’s tannin effectively raising and highlighting the grain.

How is distressing achieved?

Achieving an authentic distressed look is a bit of an art. This can involve various techniques, hand distressing and tumbling being the most popular.

Hand distressing

Using various tools and techniques, craftsmen can give a wood flooring the distressed wear marks by hand. This process is very time-consuming and costly.


A process called tumbling involves rotating the floorboards in a sizeable purpose-built metal drum. The boards roll over and bounce off each other to distress the faces and the edges of each plank. A lot of care is taken to ensure each plank has wear marks that are created entirely at random. We’re a bit biased and think this is the best technique if authentic distressing is the look you are going for.

Other distressing methods involve a purpose-built machine scraping and indenting the planks as they go through a conveyor belt.

Chaunceys’ distressed boards

Distressing is an option available on most of our boards, and we are incredibly proud of our distressed Regency® flooring collection. Our Regency® floors are near indistinguishable from original face reclaimed oak boards and are a testament to how beautiful distressing can be. 

Regency® Tectonic® oak boards appear authentic and traditional and are suitable for areas susceptible to temperature change and UFH.

Grey Aged and Distressed Oak Flooring

For those with their hearts set on solid oak flooring, we always recommend our aged and distressed solid planks. These boards have the wear and patina of naturally aged floorboards.

Aged & Distressed Solid Oak Flooring - Wood Flooring Product