Wooden flooring is beautiful, natural and aesthetically pleasing, as well as being able to fit into almost any interior design or space. With the vast choice available there is nothing dull about choosing an engineered hardwood floor, but have you considered opting for a smoked floor?
"The smoking process gives the floor a unique range of complimentary tones..."
The smoking process gives the floor a varied range of complimentary tones which give a completely unique finish and unlimited design options, as no two boards will be exactly the same colour.
Smoking (also known as fuming) is a traditional method for enriching and darkening the floor’s appearance. The tannic acid within the oak reacts with ammonia to produce the final colour. Not every tree, or even every board contains the same quantity of tannic acid, therefore the colour and appearance can vary significantly from board to board and throughout the finished floor.
It is a common misconception that fuming or smoking involves application of ammonia directly to the oak. In fact, the smoking process occurs when the oak reacts to the presence of ammonia in the atmosphere.
The smoking process involves wood being placed in an enclosed, fully sealed chamber with all of the surfaces that require treatment being exposed to the circulating air. Ammonia (ammonium hydroxide solution) is introduced into the atmosphere by placing a container with the solution on the floor of the chamber.
The ammonia in the atmosphere causes the tannins in the wood to be brought to the surface changing the wood’s appearance. The concentration of tannins within the wood determines the final colour and appearance of the oak, including overall darkening and interesting colour variation.
Different parts of the wood contain varying amounts of tannic acid and therefore react differently to the process. For example sapwood typically has a concentration of about 1%, whereas heartwood can contain up to 13%. As such, a board showing fairly high levels of visible sapwood will result in an interesting marbled pattern when smoked, due to the sapwood not changing in colour as much as the rest of the board.
The colour variation that results for the smoking process will be apparent between different boards, but also throughout each individual board.
Whereas a stain is a colour applied purely to the surface of the oak top layer, the process of smoking creates a chemical change throughout the entire oak top layer. This means that the resulting colour runs all the way through the oak wear layer, so unlike stained products if you scratch the surface the colour is not removed.
To recap, here is a list of handy points:
- Smoked oak boards will have large colour variations
- It is best to hire an experienced fitter and to ensure they work out of at least 3 packs at a time to ensure an even colour distribution throughout the finished floor
- The colour extends throughout the oak top layer so any scratches will not result in a removal of the colour
- Smoked floors are perfect for high traffic areas as they can withstand more damage. If you need to sand and refinish a simple re-oil will get them looking good as new.
View our full range of smoked products. Call our sales team on 01695 573234 to order samples or get expert flooring advice.