Smoking or “fuming” as a wood treatment process has usually been reserved for craft furniture makers. Recently, the eco-friendly process of smoking flooring has gained popularity that’s leaving customers shocked with how good their floors look.
A chemical process which naturally darkens the timber to a deep and rich colour as an alternative to standard staining. Newly manufactured floorboards into a sealed chamber and apply ammonia as a gas. The ammonia reacts with tannins present in the wood, creating a wonderful, natural variation of warm, dark tones.
Manufacturers have perfected the process of fuming or smoking hardwood flooring so that your floors can look better than ever with a true rustic and timeless aesthetic.
The process of “fuming” Oak is done to bring out the natural tannins. Ammonia brings the tannins to the surface. The natural colour variation you will see is due to the fact that each piece of wood is unique and some will have tannins closer to the surface than others. The closer the tannins are to the surface the darker the finished product. You can get a rich brown to a virtual black colour. The longer the boards are left in for processing the darker they become. Because the intensity of the reaction to the ammonia depends on the tannin content of the wood, each board reacts a little bit differently from the next. As the process colours the wood right through the board it means that any scratches will not show as “white” because it is not a stain but natural colours throughout.Adding additional will enhance the process further for a much better look.
In Europe, where fuming/smoking is a traditional technique that has been used for centuries, consumers are accustomed to these variations, but in the North America, many people are unfamiliar with it and can be a bit surprised by how much variation can be present in the floor.
It’s important to note that the trusted process is not to apply ammonia directly to the wood as it can not penetrate the total thickness of the wood. Rather, it means that the oak wood is subjected to ammonia in the atmosphere.
“Smoked” wood is treated in the same way but with a different mix of ammonia and in some cases to get the warm golden colour without the extremity of colour variation.
A 48 hours process usually suffices for light fuming vs several days for fully fumed planks. Increasing temperatures for select lines will create reddish tones while cooler temperatures green hues to the tone.
You should know that when you buy smoked or fumed floors, you are getting flooring that is naturally colored without staining. Unlike surface staining, which promotes a very uniform appearance, fuming leaves the natural variations from board to board and deepens the tones of the wood permanently. The colour is not just on the surface so it’s great for a higher traffic area as you won’t see a different colour if the wood is scratched.
Interestingly, smoked wood has a tendency to fade and amber slightly with exposure to light, similar to natural Walnut, which is a similar color. Customers who are worried about natural color change over time might consider a dark stain rather than a fumed/smoked color process, as traditional stains don’t tend to fade as much as naturally-occurring colors. Of course, the downside is that traditional stains don’t look this natural, which is the true authentic experience one should have when procuring smoked floors.
Find our Smoked and Fumed Hardwood Products below. We have been carefully producing smoked and unique floors for generations.