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What is a French Bleed floor?

While it’s not a super common technique, a ‘French Bleed’ is still something you’re likely to come across when you’re shopping for a new floor. It sounds cool but what is it? Simply put, it’s blacking or darkening the bevels and edge of a flooring plank. Similar to the outlines in a comic book, this gives more definition to each plank by contrasting with the stain on the face of the floor.

Ark Birch Butterscotch Rm1
Ark Birch Kahlua Rm1

This effect is more visible on lighter stains like the Birch Butterscotch on the left, than darker ones like the Birch Kahlua on the right.

Pros & Cons

A French Bleed, or Black Bleed as some call it, is purely aesthetic and it doesn’t impact the wood itself so a majority of the pros or cons depend entirely on your style. Some people love the rustic vibes and eye-catching outlines while others prefer a more uniform look without the black borders. Since it isn’t a common technique, the main drawbacks of French Bleed floors are that they’re harder to find and can end up being more expensive due to the extra effort of darkening the edges of the wood. On the flip side, the darker bevels can hide dirt a little better, so this may be more ideal for higher traffic areas.

The differences more or less end there. Installation and maintenance are the same regardless of the color of the edges (though you may need to be a bit more careful during installation to make sure the bleed effects line up how you want them to), and the flooring is just as durable as any other floor from the same species.

To Bleed or not to Bleed?

Hopefully this helped answer some of your questions, and gave you a quick look at a unique aesthetic. Whether or not a French Bleed floor is right for your home comes down to your personal style, and now that you know a bit more about it you can tell if it’s a good fit for you. If you’d like to see a sample, or have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable staff at any time!

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