The History of Parquet Flooring
In the 1600 while most of the common people and merchants of Europe had flooring that was simply earthen, the homes of the wealthy and the Royalty consisted of Marble slabs. This marble required constant washing which quickly lead to the rotting of the wooden joints underneath the marble slabs. Then in 1684, a new type of flooring was introduced in Versailles, France. This flooring was made by hand cutting small pieces of various colored hardwoods into geometric shapes using squares, triangles, and lozenges.
Glued to the concrete floor these hand cut pieces of wood were then scraped, scrubbed, sanded and polished. The designs created by installing the wooden floors this way was called Parquet and it took a lot of effort and skill to lay. These floors were in and of themselves works of arts and took much time and skill to lay. This made these floors extremely expensive and they appeared only in the homes of the most affluent and royal families.
These floors were kept looking their best by servants and hired hands who spent long hours cleaning and polishing these floors to keep them looking shiny and new. Eventually, due to the fact that the materials used lacked durability the floors would start to crack and buckle and have to be replaced starting the entire process over again.
In America, with the abundance of trees, wood flooring became more popular and even the poorer families could afford them by simply laying planks of cut timber that were polished by years of scrubbing and walking over them, but parquet remained for those whose wealth could afford the laying and the upkeep of those floors.
Wood flooring and Parquet floors in particular remained popular until the 1930s when the advent of carpeting manufacturing made it possible for people to acquire carpeting to cover the wooden floors. For a while it looked as though wood floors would become totally obsolete as carpeting seemed to be the floor covering of choice.
However, beginning in the 1980s and 90s a renewed interest in wood flooring combined with better manufacturing techniques and more durable materials such as laminates began a resurgence in the wood flooring industry. Today, there are many styles of Parquet floors to choose from and these floor are affordable by more people than every before.
Parquet floors are once again popular, as the designs of these floors add additional beauty to the natural beauty and warmth of modern day wood floors. The three dimensional design works as well in the rustic home as it is does in the most ultra modern decors. The rich texture and various shades of woods make these floors glow and newer, better and more durable finishes only add to the luster of your wood floor.
While there are many designs of Parquet flooring, the herringbone design is the most popular. Gone are the intricate and more artsy designs of the 1600s in their place are more durable and longer lasting floors with a quiet beauty and design that make them even more sought after and popular than they were in the days of old.