A Brief History of Wood Flooring
Wood flooring made its appearance in the Middle Ages, with some of
those 800-year old floors still in use today. The upper levels were the
most common placement, with the most expensive floors being stained
colors, laid in patterns, parquets and even marquetry. Less costly
floors were decorated with painted patterns and designs starting in the
early 1600's, with the genesis probably being painted oilcloths which
are still popular today.
Colonial times brought smooth pine
boards, and the 18th century saw painting to simulate stone and simple
checked patterns combined with floor cloths in elaborate designs and
marbelized diamond patterns being very common. These were used primarily
in hallways, dining rooms and parlors. Finer cuts of wood and inlayed
designs were limited to the formal and nicer rooms.
century was characterized by unfinished pine that evolved to being
stained and finished by mid-century. Pine soon became subflooring as
parquet got popular, with prefabricated parquet patterns being sold to
install on cloth yielding "wood carpet." Herringbone oak
parquet patterns abounded with the emergence of custom borders featured
in dining rooms, libraries, and drawing rooms.