Smoking is a craft that creates a unique depth of colour on oak floorboards, with contrasting and lively tones that are full of character. Fumed or smoked hardwood flooring describes an eco-friendly process that produces some amazing looking flooring. This is achieved by an intense process where smoke reacts with the oak tannin and brings out a darker color, usually a grayish-brown. The smoking process enhances the natural contrast of the wood making possible innovative wood surfaces.
Fuming or smoking involves putting the oak into an enclosed environment in which ammonia is introduced into the atmosphere. Ammonia is a natural substance, which does not harm the environment. This enclosed environment might be a closed tank or a sealed tent or some 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.
With the smoking process, differences in the tannic acid content of the wood cause slight variations in color with unique light-and-shadow effects. In timber where the formation of heartwood is incomplete, areas of light-colored sapwood remain visible after smoking. These characteristics are typical of the European oak and give smoked oak its unmistakable natural identity.
French Oak is the preferred species for fuming/smoking because of its high tannin content. American White Oak is sometimes fumed/smoked, but it tends to react less intensely, has more variation, and sometimes takes on a greenish color. Aayers Floors uses premium French Oak species harvested in France. Sourced from sustainable forests, our French Oak is harvested with correct chain of custody documents. In general, French Oak has roughly double the tannin content of American White Oak. The higher tannin content makes French Oak more durable (rot-resistant), which is why it was the preferred wood for ship-building throughout European history.