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Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: Old World Walnut

Walnut is my favorite wood due to its distinctive, velvety grain pattern and beautiful color. So why don’t I have walnut floors in my home? (Full disclosure: I have walnut in a patterned border in my bedroom, but it’s a pretty small amount.)

Like some of those cute, popular people you knew in high school, walnut is pretty but not practical. It’s one of the softest woods that’s still considered a “hardwood,” but categorizing walnut as a hardwood is like saying I’m a ninja. I’m not even a black belt…yet. Although hardwood isn’t a fitting term for this fabulously figured natural beauty, it’s still installed in many homes. Often, people assume it will stand up to their lifestyle as well as other materials like Red Oak or Brazilian Cherry, NOT.

If you’re set on walnut, hiring a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Professional is the way to go, because a certified professional will always enhance a floor’s natural durability. A certified pro, like Joe at Artistic Floors, must adhere to technical standards, which ensures the floor is properly prepared for all color and finish applications. Proper sanding sequences with our Lagler machines guarantee the greatest finish adhesion and proper durability.

Niwot After Australian Cypress hand scra
Since most of the damage that occurs to wood floors is physics, plain and simple, prevention is key:
  • Put soft paws on dog claws Keep rugs at all entries and high traffic areas as well as at the kitchen sink
  • No shoes, especially high heels
  • Use a vacuum without a brush attachment
  • ALWAYS purchase cleaner made by the finish manufacturer
  • Get a maintenance coat every few years
  • Talk to a flooring professional about the variety of finish options PRIOR TO installation.

How We Work

If you regret your walnut floors because of the damage they display, there is still hope: texture can reveal even more beauty and hide some of the distressing kids and dogs are so skilled at creating. The best texture for walnut wood floors is hand scraped due to the tight but decorative grain patterns.

Artistic Floors by Design offers several types of hand scraping for new walnut hardwood floor installations or for existing walnut hardwood floors in the Denver area. Our technicians use a scraping tool to pull thin layers of the flooring material out in a pattern that appears naturally distressed for an old world style.


Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: Australian Cypress

Giant jellyfish, giant bats, giant spiders, insanely huge pythons, kangaroos, wondrous beaches, colorful coral reefs, glorious vistas…and vegemite. OK, not everything from Australia is awesome, but this continent is very well known for its beautiful unfinished solid hardwood flooring timber. In addition to some of the other fantastic finds from Australia, their wood flooring is phenomenal.


Australian Cypress: A Down Under Wonder

America can access some timber from Australia and one of those species is Australian Cypress. Found only in a semi-arid region of Australia, Australian Cypress is actually harder than Red and White Oak timber. The hardness of the wood is great for both residential and commercial specifications. Fun fact: Australian Cypress is used in cabinetry, healing oils, and cosmetics.

Each board can vary in color from cream- or straw-colored to honey-gold to brown, with dark knots throughout that add character.

We’ve worked on homes that have kept a natural look to their Australian Cypress flooring in a rustic setting; however, we recently had the opportunity to completely alter the look of Australian Cypress in a Niwot, Colorado home. Dissatisfied with the appearance of their current Australian Cypress floors, the homeowner contacted Artistic Floors by Design. The original sanded treatment, as seen below, had a dark color and appeared cloudy, as if the finish had been tinted. The homeowner was also concerned that the finish was even flaking off in spots.

BEFORE: Sanded and dark, the floors appeared cloudy and the finish was even flaking off in spots.

The Right Finish For All Types Of Floors

While the home is impeccably beautiful, the floors just didn’t match the overall aesthetic. Originally, we provided an estimate to sand everything flat with an option for a light hand scrape; however, the homeowner wanted a more dramatic texture and a much darker color after seeing the sample Joe built. The homeowner had heard of penetrating oil but was hesitant as to whether or not it would be an effective protectant for the floor with kid and dog traffic.

After a few texture, color, and finish conversations, we suggested a much more rough hand scraped texture, a dark stain, and an application of Odie’s Oil. Joe recently refinished our walnut bar top with Odie’s Oil and we love the silky look and feel.


Final results: the homeowner is thrilled with the extreme scrape, rich color, and silky feel!

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