Hand-Scraped vs. Smooth Floors
Hand scraping is a technique used on hardwood floors that gives the floors a unique and textured look, but increases the cost of a floor installation. Most wood flooring falls into the smooth floor category, however, as the boards roll out of the factory with a uniformly smooth surface. Other types of smooth flooring include laminate and tile.
The texture of hand-scraped boards is quite different from generic smooth wood planks or other manufactured floors. Instead of a smooth and consistent feeling, hand-scraped boards are full of valleys, ridges and a variety of textures. This is not only noticeable when you touch the boards, but even when walking on them without shoes. Some smooth floors, such as laminate, lack texture all together.
Visually, there is much more variation in a hand-scraped floor than a smooth floor. On a smooth floor made from high quality wood, there will be variations in the planks thanks to the grain, knots and color variations in the boards. Manufactured products such as vinyl and laminate often have a repeating pattern that appears random, but is not. However, hand-scraped floors have different actual levels on the board because of the scraped grooves. This creates shadows and gives the floor a different look depending on how the light hits.
Hand-scraped floors are more expensive than smooth floors because of all the added labor during installation. In addition to the normal installation, laborers also have to stay and manually scrape the floor after installation. Even when scraping is done in the plant instead of the home, the additional time and effort in making the floor increases the cost. Sometimes machines are used to created "hand" scraped floors. Floors actually scraped by hand cost even more.
The one large downside to hand-scraped floors is that the grooves and gouges provide the perfect place for dirt to hide. Even when you sweep the floor it may still hide in these cracks. This is problematic for people who suffer from allergies and who need to keep very clean floors. Smooth floors are much easier to clean quickly and completely.