White Wood Flooring: How to make it work for your project

White wood flooring - is it right for your project? 

The practical aspects of white wood flooring...

Clean, bright white spaces lend an uplifting feeling of contemporary simplicity, and this palette of white sometimes extends to the floor in the form of white-washed, bleached, lyme (limed) or lye treated, soaped, cerused or even painted wood plank flooring.  If you are thinking about using a white wood floor in your project, there are a few things to consider to help you assess how good of a fit it will be long-term.

Patina vs. Pristine:
Inevitably, a white floor will wear (as all floors do) but you can care for it to extend the original look.  If your goal is to maintain the pristine white look of your floors for as long as possible, keep them clean.  That sounds like an obvious statement right?  By clean, we’re talking about shoes being left behind and clean stocking feet providing the only traffic.  If the space you are considering white floors for will receive traffic from many people other than you, are you prepared to chase each person to the surrender of their shoes?  If the answer to this question is no, then embrace the flip side of patina & wear.  Part of the journey of any floor is wear, and embracing that wear emphasizes a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

This article from Architectural Digest offers additional insight to white wood floors in an interview with Kevin Greenberg.

How to embrace white wood floors in a user-friendly way:

White – but not that white:
We love a tinted white oil finish (zero VOC) to give a soft, pale and minimalist/Scandinavian influence to wood floors and wall paneling.  As a white finish that is not “bright white” your floor will show wear in a more subtle manner.  A white oil can also be re-applied as needed without having to move all of the furniture out & re-finish everything together – you can even just do spot touch-up.  Our Sugared Teak at Chillhouse in New York features this kind of simple subtle white finish.


A wood species with an active grain and a live-sawn (aka european sawn) or flat sawn pattern will create increased variation, as will reclaimed character.  With a more casual feel to begin with, floors will age more gracefully.  Below is an image of our Pacific Madrone in Select Grade showing off an elegant sweeping grain with a white finish.  In addition to flooring, this look is available in classic wall cladding & our ThinClad wall paneling as well, in a variety of widths.


A textured surface will help hide scratches and will create increased variation as well.  Wire brushing is an easy way to add texture (and you can create either a subtle wire brushed texture or something more aggressive, depending on aesthetic preference).  Our Left Coast White Oak: Oxley pictured below has a wire-brushed texture:


If you would like guidance in your wood selection or more information on what Anthology Woods can offer, please reach out for more information!