hardwood flooring in a home

brief history of hardwood floors

It has been discovered that the earliest known wood floors came into use during the Middle Ages. As late as the 17th century, most houses in Europe lacked a wooden floor, unless they belong to the nobility. For most of the houses, there was a beaten earth floor and only those with a second floor would have wooden joists and plank flooring of elm or oak. These planks would had been sanded or smoothed by rubbing them with stone or metal.

In North America, the abundance of wood led to the common use of the wooden floors during the Colonial Era (1607-1780), which would bring comfort, resistance and warmth to the houses. Early those periods, the floors were not sanded or finished, but because they were made of slow growth pine, the polishing was being made by people walking in the house everyday. Wooden floors started to be produced on a large scale during the American Victorian Era (1840-1910).

In the 20's and 30's of the last century, wooden floors started having some powerful competitors: linoleum and cork floors, which offered easier installation and less maintenance. Housing boom which occurred after World War II, was not accompanied by the same trend for the hardwood industry, due to the pricing issues. So although for a while hardwood was still laid, sanded and finished it was promptly replaced with wall to wall carpet before the new owners moved in. Due to the lack of specialized professionals in the 80's, prefinished hardwood grew in popularity, because of the relatively easy installing process. After a period of bad quality products, prefinished manufacturers have greatly improved their quality control. Therefore, these days, customers can choose from a large variety of hardwood products or replacements to cover their floors.