Hand-Scraped or Smooth Hardwood Floors: Making the Right Choice

If you have decided to install new hardwood floors in your house, you will have to make choices such as choosing between hand-scraped or smooth hardwood floors.

The general decor of your living space and several other factors can make it easier for you to choose. Hand-scraped and smooth hardwood floors have a handful of differences, similar to the distinctions discussed in choosing hardwood floor finish. These differences determine the quality of the floor and the maintenance routine, and each has some added benefits.

One of the major differences between hand-scraped and smooth hardwood floors is their appearance. A hand-scraped hardwood floor is made to look coarse, worn, and aged. On the other hand, the smooth hardwood floor has an attractively shiny and smooth finish.

Though both flooring types are beautiful and made for different kinds of decors, using a comparison scale between these two types will allow you to make a more informed decision, and you will be able to pick the right flooring for your home.

What is a Hand-Scraped Hardwood Floor?

A hand-scraped floor is a smooth wood floor that has been hand-scraped lightly to give it a worn-out, rustic, and aged look. It gives your living space a unique look that is aesthetic and fits in with different home decors.

Previously, hand-scraping was performed to make hardwood look more regular and even, but now it serves an ironic purpose as it is used to make the wood more uneven and irregular. These days, hand-scraping is being done by machines instead of hands.

Hardwood planks that have been scraped using a machine have a repetitive pattern in each plank which makes the floor visually appealing.

Hand-scraped hardwood floor is a preferred choice of many homeowners because it can hide scratches and make them unnoticeable, which is also a feature highlighted in hardwood floor staining guide. However, they are more expensive than smooth hardwood.

What is a Smooth Hardwood Floor?

Smooth hardwood floors, as the name suggests, have a smooth finish that is beautiful, refined, and pleasing to look at. These floors are made from woods such as maple, oak, and birch.

Lumbered wood has four qualities; rustic, natural, select, and prime. A smooth hardwood floor is made from prime lumbered wood.

It is the best quality of wood for flooring. It has a consistent look with few knots, low sap content, and lesser color variations, giving the entire floor a smooth and uniform outlook.

A smooth hardwood floor can also be made from engineered wood, available in light and dark shades.

Types of Wood For Hardwood Flooring

Different wood species make hardwood floorings, such as walnut, oak, maple, cherry, and hickory. 


There are two kinds of oak; red oak and white oak. Red oak is softer than white oak. If you want something more practical, white oak is the best choice.

The grain of white oak varies from tree to tree, which gives you several choices for your decor and preferences.

Red oak has appealingly warm tones that you might enjoy.


If you are a fan of warm hues, cherry wood is for you. Its tones tend to deepen over time, making it a lovely choice for traditional rooms.


Maple has an alluring creamy light-wood look with a refined grain pattern. It is highly durable and can have some darker streaks and specks, which adds a certain depth to its appearance.

Hand Scraped or Smooth Hardwood Floors


Hand-scraped hardwood is more durable than the smooth variety. The durability of hand-scraped hardwood partly comes from its aged and worn-out look, which blends in every new scratch.

As hand-scraped hardwood floors are more durable and cover minor wear and tear perfectly, they are perfect for your home if you have pets, kids, and areas with high traffic.

Hand-scraped hardwood floors have a coating of a lasting anti-scratch finish for extra protection. It is a great choice if you don’t want to place rugs in your space.

Resale Value

Hand-scraped hardwood floors usually have a higher resale value than smooth hardwood floors. But, as few hardwood flooring buyers are on the market, a high resale value makes it even more difficult to sell.

Hand-scrapped floors have a unique look that matches only the special kind of home decors, making it difficult to find a homeowner with the same values in home decor.

On the flip side, smooth hardwood floors are easier to sell on the market, and you can get a good price.


Smooth hardwood floors are easier to clean and mop due to their smoothness, as detailed in our guide on how to fix squeaky floors. However, this does not mean they require less maintenance than the hand-scraped floors.

Hand-scraped floors do not require extensive cleaning; they can hide scratches and other types of minor damage very well. However, you must perform the basic periodic cleaning to maintain it as the grooves and seams can accumulate dirt, debris, and pet hair.


Hardwood floor begins to look battered after years of use, making you want to seek restoration for your floor. One of the popular refinishing methods is sanding, but it cannot be performed on hand-scraped floors as it smoothens and removes the irregularities from the surface.

You can refinish the smooth hardwood floor when it starts to look worn out and has several minor scratches, similar to the refinishing process discussed in refinishing bamboo flooring guide. However, you cannot refinish a hand-scraped hardwood floor, unlike the process described in hardwood floor refinishing guide. If you still want to refurbish your hand-scraped wood floor, you can use screening and re-coating without sanding it down. 

When screening or re-coating the hand-scraped floor, you should also note that you can do it only a few times because, after a while, it will need a complete refinish.


Hand-scraped hardwood floors are 20% more expensive than smooth hardwood floors. The cost of hand-scraped wood is higher because of its time-consuming manufacturing process. 

Hand-scraped hardwood floors are made using a specialized and unique technique leading to higher manufacturing costs. Hand-scraped flooring is similar to smooth flooring, but a different surface texture is more expensive per square foot.


A hardwood floor generally lasts for up to 70 to 80 years or even more as long as you have it refinished from time to time.

Between smooth and hand-scraped hardwood floor, smooth hardwood floor would last longer even if you coat the hand-scraped wood floor with the two-decade anti-scratch finish.

Also, you cannot refinish the hand-scraped wood floor without the loss of scraping, and without the scraping, it will be a smooth hardwood floor that you paid extra for.

Not All Hand Scraped Hardwood are “Hand” Scraped

When you are buying hand-scrapped hardwood flooring, you cannot be sure if it is scraped or machine distressed.

To make sure it is hand-scraped, you can work around it and buy a solid hardwood floor and scrape it yourself, but that is a tedious and tough task. Moreover, if you scrape an engineered wood, you risk scraping through the veneer.

You can differentiate between a machine distressed and hand-scraped hardwood floor by checking the quality of each plank. Machine-scraped wood will have the same pattern on each plank, whereas hand-scraped wood will have unique scrapes.

Pros and Cons of Hand-Scraped Hardwood Flooring

Hand-scrapped flooring creates a vintage and aesthetic look in your home decor, but this is not all there is to hand-scraped hardwood. Here are some pros of installing a hand-scraped hardwood floor.


Anti-Scratch Finish

Hand-scraped hardwood floors have a durable anti-scratch finish that lasts up to two decades. This finish eliminates the need for sanding, refinishing, recoating, and resealing too often.

After twenty years, you may perform the recoating and screening, but quite possibly, you will not need it.

Visually Pleasant

Hand-scraped wood floors add character and create a sense of warmth in any room. It gives a feeling of culture that is hard to find.

It has a look of wood culled straight from the forest, giving a calming and soothing look for all themes and decor.

Scraped Flooring

You can make hand-scraped wood floors from any wood type and color. Though softer woods like oak and maple are easier to scrape, they are less durable than the tougher woods such as bamboo, which are becoming popular for scraped flooring.


Where hand-scraped wood floors are durable, look beautiful, and are easy to maintain, there are some downsides to smooth hardwood floors.

You Cannot Change its Color

As hand-scraped hardwood floor finish lasts for a couple of decades, there is no way you can change the colors. If you want to change the color, it would be impossible to sand and paint the wood without losing the scraping.


Hand scraped hardwoods are more expensive than smooth hardwood floors. Depending on the wood type, it can cost you anywhere between $15 to $30 per square foot.

A professional hand-scrapping on your hardwood floor can cost you $5 to $10 per square foot. Removal of the old floor can cost you $2 to $5 per square foot and $4 to $7 to install a new hand-scraped floor.