French Bleed Flooring
What is it?
French bleed is the term used to describe a (usually distressed) hardwood floors sanding with darkened (usually black) chamfer points on the boards. This dark colour defines the contrast between the colour of the actual boards and the outline bevel, giving the floor a pleasingly rustic and aged appearance.
Do I want it?
A typical French bleed will look dusty between the boards (you will never be able to sweep it away or vacuum it out – it is integral to the style). Bottom line, if you don’t like dusty looking wood then French bleed is not for you. For those who think it sounds cool and funky (it is!) read on and discover how you too can acquire stunning French bleed flooring.
I like it!
From a distance a well made French bleed looks like wooden bricks on the floor with each board length clearly defined. Whereas from close up a well done French bleed looks like… wooden bricks on the floor! If you like the French bleed style but are not too keep on distressed wood then worry not for the French bleed looks equally sublime on any type of smooth surface wood.
If you fancy trying your hand at giving your floor the French bleed look then you should always sand and refinish the floor first before doing anything else. If you have never sanded a floor then rule of thumb is unless you have at least a little carpentry knowledge – don’t do it! Call in the experts to do it for you. That way you can avoid costly mistakes and less than perfect results.
I want it!
After the sanding and finishing and/or distressing process you need to use quality black stain, which you will need to painstakingly feed into the chamfer of every floorboard. There is no machine you can hire to give you the French bleed look, so be prepared to get down and dirty with your floor and do it all by hand. Alternatively of course you can call in a professional flooring company to do the job for you.
Carefully does it…
If you decide to go it alone then work the stain well into each bevel slowly and carefully. Correctly done, the French bleed gives any type of floor the rustic, antiquated look, which is extremely a la mode today. This method also adds the appearance of density and breadth to the wood. Whether distressed or smooth, the French bleed look is hugely popular, especially in larger rooms and rooms with minimalist furniture.
Keeping your French bleed looking perfect
Maintain your beautiful French bleed look by polishing regularly with a quality hardwood polish with waxing every 12 months. Sweeping with a soft-bristled brush or a light vacuum cleaner should be carried out weekly. Never use any harsh detergent or bleach-based cleaning solutions on any type of wood floor.
Wood types and other stuff
Although the French bleed works particularly well with flat-grain woods (woods with a chevron-like pattern) it can be used on any type of wood. French bleed blends extremely well with hardwoods cherry, chestnut, maple and oak.
If you have a concrete under base for your flooring then don’t worry because all is not lost – you can still enjoy a French bleed by customising your boards and nail, staple or glue in place. Laminate is the less costly way of getting the wood floor you want, but remember that will not last as long as a genuine hardwood floor. That being said a well-maintained laminate should give you at least 10 years of good service before it will need to be renewed.
French bleed can be applied to laminate too, the maintenance on which is exactly the same as it is for hardwood floors Sanding.
One caveat, avoid French bleed flooring in bathrooms, shower or utility rooms and in any room which is regularly exposed to moisture.