Wood is a beautiful material that we use for so many things in our daily lives. We use wood in our furniture, kitchen cabinets, the frames of our homes, our flooring, and so much more. Wood is strong, easily obtained, and if properly treated and maintained, will last for a very long time. Over the years, our use of wood as a flooring substance has changed and evolved, but hardwood flooring is currently one of the most popular choices for flooring in homes. Let’s take a look back at the history of hardwood flooring.
The first known uses for hardwood floors were in wealthy homes because of the limited wood available, and the expense it took to make the floors. Average people had hard packed dirt as their flooring. But when colonists came to America, there were plenty of strong, old trees to be used for housing and flooring. Building methods and tools were still rustic at the time, and not everyone had access to them. Tools were used to scrape the wood flat, while they used actual sand in an attempt to smooth out the floor boards. Most wood was not straight and created gaps in between floorboards. Even with these rudimentary methods, the floors were still meant to be covered with paint or textile coverings, as there were many imperfections.
The industrial revolution brought many advances in treating and preparing wood. Steam-driven woodworking technology allowed us to create finished wood boards in standardized measurements. Tongue and groove molding allowed the creation of a wood flooring without pesky gaps from warping and not meeting exactly. Wood flooring continued to be used as a flooring material until after WWII. Finishing on floors included a thick wax that treated the floors and needed to be reapplied to maintain the wood. Another reason that wood flooring fell out of fashion was the advent of industrialization. Industrialization brought synthetic fibers and more advances in carpeting which reduced the cost of previously very expensive carpeting in the home. Carpeting became extremely popular in every room of the house except for kitchens and bathrooms, where ceramic tiles were commonly used.
Hardwood flooring became popular again in the 1990s. The beautiful floors were seen as a symbol of investing in a longer lasting material that was easier to keep clean. Wood flooring with carpets on top were seen as an easier way to take carpets out and clean them and clean the floors. Additionally, advances in finishing materials made great changes to the maintenance of hardwood floors. Wood boards are now precision cut and planed with a perfect tongue and groove fit, stained with a wide variety of stain colors that is handpicked by the customer, and then treated with polyurethane to give it a super strong and durable surface that will last a homeowner more than a decade with only minimal maintenance.
Hardwood flooring has come a very long way in the millenia that it has been in use. From refining methods for cutting and standardized board measurements, to effective and durable finishing methods, hardwood floors have evolved into a beautiful, smooth, easy to maintain and long-lasting flooring material. Hardwood floors can be customized to any stain color and flooring design. Talk to Kruper’s specialists today to invest in the future of your home with the most popular flooring around!