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Douglas Fir Facts

Patina on Douglas Fir Floors

February 19, 2011 by | nell | There have been 0 comments

Douglas fir flooring is widely admired for the way it looks after years of use. That use results in its distinctive patina. It’s like I’ve seen numerous times on Antiques Roadshow™. (No shame – I really like that show.) An antique furniture expert is appraising a 100-year-old table and says something like, “It’s really too bad this was refinished at some point.” Boom, the piece suddenly loses value.

But why wouldn’t an owner want to refinish their furniture? Or floor? Doesn’t the refinishing process give the wood a new lease on life? Yes, but it takes away the original patina, that much sought-after condition that tells you something has a history. A Douglas fir floor that looks old lends a room character and charm. It’s one reason why they cause people to ooh and ahh over the warm feel of a place.

Wood takes years to naturally patina. It happens through years of use, and exposure to the sun, as well as other environmental factors. Refinishing a floor may take away some original patina, but the wood has still aged, and will therefore look aged even when a few layers have been peeled away. In general, when new flooring is laid to patch or match older flooring, it will take a while for the new to blend with the old.

For homeowners who want their Doug fir floors to have an aged look there are a number of methods used to patina floors. One common trick is to “fume” flooring with ammonia, which makes it darker. To make flooring look distressed, professionals and DIY’ers alike use tools such as hammers, steel wool, wire brushes, chains, and sandpaper. Another method for prematurely aging wood is by applying petroleum jelly, vinegar, or shoe polish. The list of tools and methods goes on and on. Anyone who has made a science out of aging wood has their own method.

Of course, time also ages any floor, but waiting for it to happen would be like waiting for water in the pot to boil, times 100. All sorts of tricks will get the floor closer to an aged look, if done properly. Perfecting the process takes experimentation and, yes, time. But it can be a worthwhile route for homeowners wanting floors to look aged earlier rather than later.


This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, douglas fir patina

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