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Posted: 9 Feb

2020 Flooring Trends #1 Fumed Wood Flooring

Trent and our Trusted team at Regina's Flooring Superstores have established a strong and loyal customer base through our commitment to excellent customer service. By being part of the powerful buying group that is the Flooring Superstores chain, we are also able to provide quality Regina flooring at unbeatable prices. In our latest flooring article we share infornation on fumed or smoked flooring.

Almost all types of wood flooring undergo some kind of staining to give them the desired final finish. Fumed wood flooring gets its rich color and grain without having to get any sort of staining. Instead, the wood is put through a process called fuming.  


Fumed and Smoked Wood Floors

Fumed, or smoked oak is oak wood flooring which has been treated to change its colour.  

Like many things, it is reputed that fuming was discovered by accident.  Dating back to the turn of the twentieth century, it is thought that the original discovery was made in horse stables.  At that time, it was noticed that the beams above the horses were considerably darkened compared to the beams in other parts of the stable and this darkening process was connected to the ammonia in the horses’ urine.  Fuming or smoking as a wood treatment process became common place with arts and crafts furniture makers and to this day, is extremely popular.  Although not difficult, fuming isn’t something which would normally be done on a DIY basis for floors, although it is commonly used on this basis for colouring small pieces of furniture.



Fuming or smoking involves putting the oak into an enclosed environment in which ammonia is introduced into the atmosphere.  This enclosed environment might be a closed tank ( such as the one on the left ) or a form of container into which only a relatively small amount of ammonia is introduced.  The effect of the ammonia in the air is that the colour of the wood is changed. Effectively what happens is that the ammonia causes the tannin in the wood to be brought to the surface.  The closer the tannin's are to the surface, the darker the wood will appear.  The longer the wood is exposed to the ammonia, the darker it becomes.  The results obtained from fuming or smoking will range from a rich brown colour to almost black.


Stronger Color & Grain


Essentially, the intensity of the colour and the tone of the colour will depend upon the length of time the wood stays in contact with the ammonia fumes.  Periods of as little as twelve hours will provide a lightly fumed effect and 72 hours a darker end result.  Furthermore, the higher the temperature in the chamber, as you would imagine, the quicker colour change results will appear, but not only that, the tone will be affected.  Hotter temperatures typically introduce red tones and cooler temperatures green tones allowing for creativity when it comes to the fuming or smoking process.


The reaction does not always result in the exact same changes. The final patina achieved depends on a number of factors including the type of wood, the outside environment and the atmosphere in the chamber itself.  So even among two similar pieces of wood, the resulting hues may vary. Generally, however, fuming gives the wood rich dark tones and enhances the natural grain of the wood. The final look is much more appealing and luxurious than what you get with stained wood flooring.  Do not confuse fumed wood with that which has had liquid ammonia directly applied to it. Using liquid ammonia directly on the wood risks damaging the fiber and could weaken its structure.  To manage expectations and safety concerns–do plenty of research if you plan to use fumed wood flooring.

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