Wood flooring may seem like something that exists from the first day of the planet and this is quite the truth. Wood flooring is definitely not a child of the last century and it has its own, very rich and interesting history. Without further ado, let’s have a look at how wood flooring was born and what transformations and changes it has gone through to have it the way it is nowadays. Our trip through wood flooring history starts with the 17th century when for the first time wood was used instead of the popular back then stone in the mentions and castles of the wealthy and rich ones in France.
In fact, wood floors definitely are a major part of the picture we made up in our minds when thinking and envisioning historic interiors. Since then wood is associated with class, elegance and luxury in our minds, but if this is not enough, wood was considered to be way more hard-wearing and long-lasting than stone even back then. This is why you can find original wood floors in the most existing castles and mansions in Europe even to this date.
Next, we continue with a visit to colonial America, when the first wooden planks used were wide, thick and cut from continent’s abundant old-growth forests. Because of these specifics of the wood sourced, the grain of the wood used for planks was extremely tight and because of that, the constructed floors were very solid, sturdy and more durable. Many decades away the introduction of circular saw cut was made, but the predominant method to create dimensional boards back then was to pit-saw the logs into planks. By pushing and pulling the opposite ends of a big saw, two men were needed to carefully follow the chalk lines that worked as guidelines to indicate the direction of the cut.
In the 18th century, decoratively painted interiors were introduced to the world, applying the trend to wooden floors too. Monochromatic or with rich ornaments, painted and decorated with many different patterns, this was the end of the “rough” and rustic wood era and the beginning of the finer and designer wood floors. However, the use of varnish or stain was relatively uncommon for this time. During the first two-thirds of the 19th century, the carpet was becoming more and more popular and affordable to the growing middle class and with that, the use of wood flooring reached one of its deepest points. During this time, hardwood parquet in a few public rooms can still be spotted in the wealthiest homes, but since arranging parquetry boards was a hugely labour-intense and expensive job, parquet quickly started to lose its popularity in favour of carpet.
It wasn’t until the last few decades of the 19th century that average people began to have what we now think of as a polished hardwood floor. With the progress of technology and especially the progress of wood flooring technology and new methods (mainly initiated by manufacturers with the hope to reborn wood as the most popular material), hardwood floors quickly spread to all rooms of the entire house. Now technology permitted mass production, the trends were all about wood incorporated into the interior and wood was considered to be highly recommended for health and hygiene reasons, so the demand for hardwood floors increased significantly. Influenced by different styles, eras, cultures and trends, today we have the advantage of enjoying wood flooring in all possible shades, forms and designs.