If you’ve ever been in the market for flooring material, there’s no doubt you’ve come across promotional materials boasting terms such as “timeless,” “rustic” or “traditional.” But what were the original floors actually made of? You might envision the stone or dirt floor of a cave. But beyond using whatever already existed underfoot, the actual history of flooring materials used in ancient times is quite interesting and ingenious. In this article, we’ll try to answer the question of “What is the oldest type of flooring found in ancient history?” The answers might surprise you.
Ancient North America Flooring
Many native tribes of North America led a nomadic lifestyle that followed animal migration patterns, but they would also settle in specific areas during specific seasons. This led to semi-permanent housing structures that needed a flooring material that could be “cleaned.” Sand was typically used to cover the floorspace of the teepee since it was good at absorbing moisture and waste. Once it became soiled it would simply be swept out and another layer of fresh sand would be poured.
Ancient India Flooring
Ancient India also utilized dirt floors for the ease of replaceability, but they also took decoration to another level. They would mix flower petals with coloured rice or flour to create a scented and coloured powder that could be mixed with different colours of sand to create decorative floors. Design patterns would be handed down through the generations as they were thought to provide good luck. This type of design, known as rangoli, still exists in India today.
Ancient Egypt Flooring
The Ancient Egyptians were the first to use manufactured stone for construction. Some of the earliest instances of constructed stone floors appear in the pyramids. The fact that they still stand today are a testament to their durability and stability.
Ancient Greece Flooring
It appears the Ancient Greeks were the first civilization to create decorative mosaics by embedding small stones into beds of mud or mortar. Ancient Greeks were also the first to use marble as a flooring material.
Ancient Rome Flooring
The Romans took flooring technology to another level by introducing the concept of heated flooring. Laying stone “floorboards” on top of joists allowed spaces in which heated air could passed underneath to warm the slabs above.
Hardwood floors are undeniably beautiful, but there are some things you should know when trying to keep them clean. For that reason, in this article we’ll give you some tips on how to clean your hardwood floors right.
Floor Finish Types
First of all you’ll need to know what type of floor finish you’re dealing with. There’s three main types: surface sealed, oil treated (or penetrating sealed) and lacquered (or varnished/shellacked.) You can tell what type of floor you have by rubbing your finger on it. If there’s no smudge you have a surface sealed floor. If there is a smudge you’ll have an oil treated or lacquered floor.
Surface Sealed Floors
For surface sealed floor you’ll want to sweep them daily and mop them once or twice a week. When you mop, use a solution of about a quarter cup dishwashing soap added to a bucket of water. Make sure to wring most of the water out of the mop before using. You only want it to be damp, not dripping wet.
Whether oil treated or lacquered, you’ll still want to sweep your floors daily. You can also vacuum them if you’d like. However, you don’t want to be mopping these types of floor finishes. Treated floors are easily damaged by water. These types of floors will also need to be waxed every so often to keep them looking shiny and new.
When it comes time to wax your floor give it a good sweeping or vacuuming to remove all the dirt and dust. You’ll need to use a wax stripper to remove the old wax before you can apply a new coat. Apply the wax stripper according to the instructions. You’ll typically need to rub it into the floor and then wipe it off. Once the floor has dried you can add a new coat of wax. If you plan on adding more coats, make sure the first layer has dried before going over the floor again.
To get the best shine out of your floor you’ll need to buff the new wax coating. And although you can do this by hand with a cloth, it’ll save you a lot of work by getting a buffing machine to polish the wax for you.
Vinyl flooring has had a poor reputation for quite some time. It’s been labelled as an ugly material that’s installed in lesser used areas simply because it’s cheap. However, technological and aesthetic innovations have been able to reverse opinions of this once denigrated flooring material. This article will go over how the material has changed and give answers to the question, “Why choose vinyl flooring?”
The fact is that vinyl flooring is still cheaper to install than many other materials. However, this is not a reason to hate vinyl. As will be shown in in this article there are plenty of other benefits to installing vinyl. The fact that it won’t break your budget makes it that much more attractive. Save your renovation money for other things by choosing vinyl flooring.
Technological advances have made vinyl flooring even more sturdy than it has been in the past. Engineered vinyl has several layers which can make it last as long as natural materials such as hardwood or stone. You can choose wear layers of varying thicknesses which protect the vinyl top layer. Underneath the top layer is a cushion layer which creates stability, a nice underfoot feel and protects against water damage and underfloor imperfections.
It used to be that vinyl was only available in large sheets that needed to be cut down to size to fit in a room. Nowadays, vinyl comes in a wide variety of options. Vinyl sheeting is still available and by far the cheapest option, but you can also now get vinyl tiles. These can be glued down or assembled as floating floors which can be clicked and locked into place. Vinyl planks are also available and do a very good job of mimicking hardwood floors without the associated cost.
Vinyl floors are easily cleaned and require very little maintenance. You won’t have to worry about spills or moisture like you do with hardwood. Vinyl is simple cleaned with a broom, a mop, a vacuum cleaner or even a damp cloth. Vinyl flooring takes out all the worry of cleaning and maintenance that you’ll come across with other types of flooring materials.
Because it’s very unlikely that you’ll be changing your flooring year after year, some people think that following flooring trends for the upcoming year is a waste of time. But the fact is that keeping on top of trends allows one to understand the ebb and flow of style and fashion and gives one the ability to make an informed decision when the time comes round to actually redo the floors. So whether or not you’re thinking of upgrading the floors in your house or place of business this year, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on what’s happening. To that end, we present three flooring trends for 2019.
It wasn’t that long ago that when it came to wooden floors that consumers only had a choice between cheap looking laminate floors or incredibly expensive solid hardwood floors. Engineered hardwood planks have changed the game completely. Cost effective, yet stable, durable and good looking, engineered hardwoods have allowed home and business owners to get a good looking floor that’s durable without having to break the bank. If you’re looking for the benefits of solid hardwoods without any of the drawbacks, engineered hardwood floors are an easy choice.
Sustainable Exotic Hardwoods
Exotic woods had a bad name for many years due to unscrupulous harvesting practices and real environmental harm. The flooring sector has since come to terms with the negative effects for both the industry and the environment and has gone out of its way to repair its reputation with a set of guidelines that promotes sustainability and good environmental practices while respecting indigenous communities and fragile ecosystems. There are a number of exotic woods that can be harvested sustainably while still providing the consumer with a great look. Expect to see more of these sustainable exotics in the coming year.
Long And Wide Boards
It’s been a trend for a few years now, but longer and wider floorboards are more popular than ever. And you don’t necessarily need to cut down the biggest tree in the forest to get them anymore. Engineering has allowed the creation of longer and wider boards even if the largest trees no longer exist. This allows for fewer seams to show on floors and gives a more rustic, old timey feel to the room.
The holiday season is typically a time of higher traffic throughout your home. Having friends and family over will cause greater wear and tear on your flooring then it’ll normally receive during the rest of the year. However, the good news is that you can protect yourself and your flooring with some preventative measures that aren’t too hard to implement. In this article we’ll over a few tips on how to keep your flooring looking like new for the entire holiday season.
Sweep And Vacuum Beforehand
Giving your hardwood floors a good sweep and your carpets a thorough vacuuming will not only impress your guests, but it’ll reduce the wear and tear on your floor. Dust, dirt and tiny pebbles can wreak havoc on wood floors and carpets. Removing as much as possible before any guests arrive will ensure they start off clean and will reduce the amount of dirt that accumulates throughout the holiday season.
Invest In Doormats And Area Rugs
Laying down doormats and area rugs in high traffic areas will reduce the amount of wear your floors receive. Consider laying down rugs at the base of any stairwells, in front of your kitchen sink and at the entrance of the main entertaining room. Placing doormats on both the inside and outside of your front and back doors will trap dirt and prompt your guests to wipe their feet.
Use A Shoe Rack Or Boot Tray
Placing a shoe rack or boot tray in your porch will encourage guests to take off their shoes when they arrive. Not only will this prevent them from tracking dirt and mud into the house, it’ll contain any melting snow or moisture and inhibit its spread. A shoe rack or boot tray is also a great way to keep your porch area neat and organized.
Protect Your Floor From Your Tree
Real holiday trees drop needles and require water to reduce the risk of a fire. You should protect your floor from your tree by using a tree stand that acts as a water catcher and a tree skirt that will stop needles from spreading throughout your entire house.
People choose engineered hardwood floors for many reasons. Compared to solid hardwood floors, they’re typically cheaper, easier to install and when they’re installed properly it’s tough to tell the difference between engineered and solid planks. But to get the most out of your engineered planks, it’s a good idea to seal them once they’re installed. This article will go over four reasons to seal engineered hardwood floors.
Reduce Water Damage
Neither engineered nor solid hardwood flooring planks are completely resistant to water damage. It’s simply the nature of their composition. However, adding a sealant gives an extra layer of protection when it comes to spills, leaks or moisture problems. To reduce the need of replacing water damaged planks, a sealant is good preventative measure.
Reduce Wear And Tear
Although engineered floors are created with a wear layer designed to absorb a certain amount of wear and tear, adding a sealant gives you an extra layer of protection. Not only will the sealant reduce the ability of water and moisture to cause damage, it will also cut down on the damage caused by accidental scuffs, scrapes and dents.
Adding a sealant to an engineered hardwood floor is much cheaper than replacing the whole floor or even a few simple planks. The fact is that it only costs a few dollars to seal a large section of your floor. The added protection it gives you will reduce the chances that you’ll need to repair or replace sections. Spending a little bit of money on prevention will save you a lot more money in replacement costs.
If nothing else, adding a sealant to your engineered hardwood floor will increase its shine and make it look better. A floor that’s free of scrapes and scuffs is undoubtedly more attractive than one that’s been used and abused – and looks like it. By adding a sealant you can rest assured that your floor will remain good looking for a longer period of time.
For people who haven’t heard of cork flooring before they may find it hard to believe that the same material that comprises the stopper in wine bottles or the board that you stick thumb tacks in can actually be used to cover a floor effectively. But the fact is that cork makes an excellent flooring material. It won’t look or feel exactly the same as your wine stopper or bulletin board, but cork has some properties that make it an excellent choice to cover your floors. We’ll compare cork with hardwood flooring to prove why cork can be the better choice when it comes to flooring materials.
Unless you’re outlandishly rich, and sometimes even if you are, when shopping for anything, price will come into play. Hardwood may be the traditional go-to material when it comes to flooring, but it’s typically at least twice as expensive as cork flooring. If you’re looking for a good looking flooring material but need to reduce your costs, cork makes a great alternative to hardwood.
As mentioned in the introduction, cork flooring won’t look the same as your wine stopper or bulletin board, but it does have the same property of flexibility that you find in both those items. Cork flooring has a much softer underfoot feel than hardwood and will be more forgiving on your knees and ankle joints if you spend a lot of time standing or walking on it. Similarly, cork floors are much quieter than hardwood floors because of their cushioning effect.
The material used to make cork flooring is actually the bark of the cork tree. The bark is removed as it matures while the tree itself is allowed to continue growing unhindered. Unlike hardwood flooring materials, you don’t need to chop down cork trees to manufacture the final product. This means that cork flooring is harvested much more often than hardwood, grows back more quickly and is therefore a more sustainable option. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly flooring material, cork easily beats out hardwood.
Halloween decorating is a fast growing sector when it comes to seasonal household enhancements. No longer is a carved pumpkin with a candle inside considered “going all out” when it comes to Halloween decorating. People have taken to covering their entire front lawn, stairwell and house with Halloween decorations. You can take this even a step further by including decorations on your floors. In this article we’ll present three ways to decorate your floors for Halloween.
Duct Tape And Floor Chalk
By using black duct tape, it’s quite easy to lay down a large spider web in the middle of your floor. Simply make a large angular shape and make successive smaller ones within it. Attach each shape to the other at their corners and you’ll end up with a quick, but visually effective spider web. If you have concrete floors, you can use floor chalk to great effect by sketching various Halloween themed characters in seasonal colours. You can also use duct tape or chalk to create crooked pathways that can lead Halloweeners in a desired direction.
Innovations in vinyl graphics have allowed manufacturers to produce large graphics that temporarily stick to floors. You can get a wide variety of scary designs – some related to Halloween and some just plain scary. Lay silhouettes of witches on brooms or jack o’ lanterns on your front steps or porch hallway to let people know they’ve come to a house that celebrates Halloween. Laying down a striking vinyl graphic on your bathroom floor can have a startling effect for those who step into it for the first time. Use your imagination to find spots on your floors that work well with floor decals.
Stairs can be a great area to decorate because you have both horizontal and vertical surfaces. This gives you double the area on which to place graphics and decorations. If you have a set of stairs leading up to your front door, or there’s a stairwell facing you when you enter your front door, adding fluorescent graphics to the “rise” part of the stairs gives you a lot of room to work with and will be instantly visible to anyone approaching.
With global commerce making the world ever more smaller, we have unprecedented choice when it comes to exotic woods used as flooring materials. With the world at our fingertips, choice doesn’t become easier, it actually becomes much harder. How are you supposed to decide on the right exotic wood when there’s so much to choose from? This article will go over a few basic ideas that will help make your choice easier.
Your Existing Home
Although you may be able to access almost any type of exotic wood in the world, if it doesn’t fit in with the rest of your house, it doesn’t make much sense to bring it in and force it to assimilate. Take a good look at your existing structure, your decorating style, the period your home was built and the colours of your walls and furniture. This will give you a good starting point when it comes to choosing an appropriate flooring material.
Engineered Vs. Solid
Knowing what room your floor will be installed in will play a key role in the decision between engineered and solid hardwoods. Solid hardwoods don’t do as well in moist environments as do engineered floorboards, so if you’re choosing wood flooring for your bathroom or kitchen, you’ll have narrowed down your choice already. Although solid variations exist, many exotic hardwood floor panels are engineered to cut down on costs and increase stability.
Certain exotic woods do not take to regular finishes very well. If you’re planning on buying an unfinished exotic wood, talk to your dealer about the options for finishing before making your purchase. You may find that the finishing techniques suitable to your wood choice will change the characteristics so much that it would no longer work as expected. Save yourself the surprise and ask questions first.
You’ll also want to make sure you can get matching and compatible mouldings with the flooring material of choice. Trying to find appropriate mouldings after the fact could have you ending up with completely mismatched pieces. Make sure to take an overall view of the installation process.
Reclaimed wood is previously used wood derived from a variety sources such as old factories, barns, ships, wine casks and more. It has become a popular flooring material of late, although its uses are as varied as its sources. In this article we’ll go over the four best reasons to choose reclaimed flooring when installing your floor.
The demolition of old buildings creates a lot of waste materials. Without reclamation schemes most of this waste ends up in our landfills. By reusing these old building materials they can be rescued from the garbage dump and put to new use. At the same time, using reclaimed wood reduces the need for living trees to be harvested. By giving a new life to previously used wood you also allow a living tree to continue its life cycle.
Reclaimed flooring has a certain look and patina that you can’t buy off the rack. Previously used wood has a unique beauty that results from the fact that it’s been aged and has endured wear and tear. For certain design projects, reclaimed wood flooring is the only way to get a look that matches the rest of the architecture. If you’re looking for a specific character in your flooring materials, sometimes reclaimed wood is the only way to go.
Stability And Durability
Reclaimed wood is typically much more stable and durable than freshly harvested timber. This is due to the fact that it’s been able to dry properly and has already experienced several fluctuations in humidity and temperature. It’s also true that older structures tended to use only the most stable old growth woods that may not even be available to us today.
Inaccessibility Of Old Growth And Exotic Woods
Due to environmental protection laws surrounding old growth and exotic woods, it may be impossible to buy these materials at a lumber yard. One way to get around these laws is to repurpose old growth or exotic woods that have already been used in a previous construction project. Because using reclaimed flooring doesn’t involve harvesting lawfully protected wood sources you can still use materials that would be otherwise unobtainable.