A history of flooring

If you’re familiar with flooring, then you’ll know that options such as hardwood are often described as ‘traditional’ or ‘timeless’. A lot of the time, this is used to make it sound appealing, but if you dive into the history of flooring then it’s actually historically correct. So what sort of flooring did our ancestors walk over?

The very first floors

This isn’t a hard one to guess – the very first floors were made of the actual ground itself. In most cases, the floors of huts were complete mud, with some straw or wood put down if you were lucky. You have to remember that our ancient ancestors, a lot of the time, shared their huts with their animals. Animal and humans would leave their waste on the floor, which would then get trodden down and make the surface as hard as concrete.

Tribal people in early northern America used a lot of sand for their floors. It would collect waste and absorb moisture and eventually turn mucky and clumpy, by which point it can be swept away and replaced with a fresh layer.

Another common practice was to spread seeds and shells on the floor to create some sort of protective layer.

Stone flooring – it goes back a long way!

With humans using stone for structure and tools since time began, it’s no surprise that we made use of it for our floors as well. There’s lots of evidence that stone was used as flooring in ancient buildings, from medieval castles to Roman bathhouses. This then developed to colorful tiles and stones – such as ancient Greek mosaics! Marble was another common material used too, often chosen in palaces and wealthy households for a symbol of prestige.

Heated stone floors 

If you’re into your history, then you’ll already know that the Romans were very sophisticated and advanced. Stone flooring hit new heights – they created flooring that was heated from below and thus under-floor heating was born. This was made so that tiles were propped up to make a gap between the surface and the floor, so the heat was able to fill this gap. This abstract and sophisticated invention was only used in homes of the wealthy and still continues to be used today. 

Wooden flooring

A beautiful and classical choice, we can’t ever see wood flooring going out of fashion any time soon. Although wood flooring has always been popular, sales have actually risen significantly in the last decade or so. With the world getting busier and technology always developing, a lot of us lust after something from a bygone era. Wood flooring is also incredibly durable, with many homes still having the same floor in their homes that were placed decades before.

Wood flooring’s origins can be traced back to the 15th century, with a lot of old palaces and manor houses still to this day having the original flooring that was placed down when it was built. Parquet and herringbone patterns are often associated with halls in manor houses, with many of us enjoying its interesting and luxurious pattern in our own homes today.

What about today?

Modern flooring consists of vinyl (now developed into Luxury Vinyl Tiles) laminate and cork. With technology always advancing and many of us being more mindful of our carbon footprint, there’s sure to be more materials and choices pop up in the next few years.

No comments