We field a lot of questions about flooring options and solutions from our diverse client base. One of the topics that often arises pertains to the history of the most common types of floors found in peoples’ homes. Here we cover the history of the floor types, their best uses, and some general knowledge on how to care for that type of flooring.
A Brief History of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is also called ‘resilient’ flooring because it characteristically is more resilient and durable and has long been one of the most popular hard surface flooring types in the United States.
New technologies in recent years have greatly improved vinyl’s performance – especially in the areas of durability against rips, tears, and gouges. Because of this, it is easier to maintain and more moisture-resistant than many alternative materials. Vinyl is preferred for use in residential kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in healthcare facilities, along with commercial and retail establishments.
Linoleum was first invented and patented in 1845. It was manufactured in Scotland in the 1860s, and the first U.S. plant was built in 1872. Linoleum remained popular until after World War II when easy-to-maintain and durable vinyl flooring was introduced.
Then, in 1933, vinyl made its big splash when the vinyl tile was displayed at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. Because of the scarcity of vinyl during the war years, vinyl flooring was not widely marketed until the late 1940s, but it quickly challenged its competitors. Originally used only in high-traffic areas, vinyl flooring eventually became the most popular choice for flooring in just about any hard-surface application.
Best Applications & Care
Today, vinyl flooring is second only to carpet in floor covering sales in the United States.
Modern-day vinyl sheet flooring and tile are available in a myriad of styles and colors. Virtually any look can be obtained to suit any decor, including classic looks that simulate wood and ceramic. Vinyl flooring reduces noise and provides quality comfort underfoot but there are many other reasons that this flooring option continues to be so desirable to consumers. It is durable and time-tested, maintaining its beauty under heavy foot traffic and lots of use. It is most importantly moisture and stain resistant, so spills can be easily removed or wiped away without any concern of damage.
When compared with alternative materials, vinyl offers an attractive installed cost with economical maintenance over the life of the floor.
The Compact History of Tile Flooring
Tile flooring has been a popular choice for many centuries and is still a strong flooring option for homeowners. You may not be aware but pottery originates in China and is estimated to have been invented as early as 20,000 BC. Tile flooring is most closely connected to pottery because most tiles were and still are made from fired ceramic clay. The Chinese developed ceramic pottery and tiles from white porcelain and even painted stunning images on the tiles. This style of ceramic pottery was then popularized and quickly spread throughout the world via trade with ancient Persia.
From there, the practice grew and was improved upon by the Egyptians who frequently incorporated stone and ceramic tile flooring into their impressive structures. The earlier forms of Egyptian tile were created from ceramic clay that was left to bake in the hot sun but as the process became more industrialized and sophisticated, they developed the kiln to fire the tiles. Historians even believe the Egyptians were the first to develop the method of kiln-firing pottery. As with the Chinese, Egyptian ceramic practices were popularized and spread by nomadic Persian traders, and kiln firing spread throughout the whole ancient world.
The people of Ancient Greece took the design of their tile floors to new heights, with the development of elaborate mosaic floors used in homes and temples throughout the Mediterranean. The Greeks used stones to create not only patterns and designs on their floors but also images of the gods or the patron families who funded the artwork. Many of these mosaic tile floors can still be seen to this day and many more are still being discovered and excavated even now, serving as a testament to the durability of tile flooring.
Best Uses & Ways to Care for Tile
Because it’s a contender for a large number of different applications, ceramic tile represents a versatile and popular choice for tile in commercial and residential applications. Depending upon your taste, the affordability and durability of ceramic tile make it the ideal choice for any room in a residential setting, including the bathroom, kitchen, and front entrance. One of the few negatives to consider with tile flooring is that it does not retain heat so it is usually cold to the touch. In this incredible time that we live in, this can of course be corrected with thermal heating installed underneath the tile. Tile makes a lot of sense for many people because of how common of a material it is and how frequently it is used. This means that there are always contractors willing to install it and there is typically a steady supply and demand of most styles and types of tile.
Clean up loose debris by sweeping or vacuuming your tile floors regularly to keep them from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull the glazed surfaces.
Next, clean the tile with mild detergent and clean water using a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. These mops are best for cleaning tile because sponge mops tend to push dirty water into the grout lines, making them harder to clean. Be sure to change the water frequently while mopping; dirty water equals a cloudy floor. If you find discoloration, first try to determine what type of substance made the stain. Use the appropriate cleaner for the stain for the most effective result Lastly, don’t let your glazed tile floors air-dry as the sitting water will form water spots. Take care of that by drying the floor with a clean, lint-free cloth immediately after washing.
Like any other floor type, ceramic tile suffers from its own problems but with the proper care and concern, the condition and lifespan of the floor can persist indefinitely.
Hardwood Flooring History
The history of wood flooring truly begins in colonial America when the first floors were wide, thick planks cut from the continent’s abundant old-growth forests. Because of the trees’ age and massive diameter, the desirable heartwood was extremely tight-grained, making the lumber harder and more durable than the relatively immature wood of the same species that is harvested today.
Converting the timber into usable lumber was an arduous process; the introduction of the circular saw was decades away, and the predominant method available to create dimensional boards was to pit-saw the logs into planks. This required two men: One stood in a pit beneath a huge log that had been squared with hand tools, while the other perched atop it. Working together, they pushed and pulled at opposite ends of a long-bladed saw, carefully following chalk lines that indicated the direction of the cut. These rough-sawn planks were finished with plain, squared edges; laid side by side; and face-nailed into the floor joists. The lumber was often left bare and was eventually burnished by years of use.
It wasn’t until the late 19th century that average Americans began to have what we now think of as polished hardwood floors in their homes. Appearing first in public rooms and kitchens, finished hardwood flooring quickly spread to bedrooms and other private areas. Along with the technology that permitted its mass production, fashion, and health concerns created an increasing demand for hardwood floors giving way to its mainstream adoption into an array of commercial and residential applications. Authentic wood floors can now be located in most homes in America and beyond with a whole smattering of wood varieties, styles, colors, and arrangements.
Hardwood Floors Installation & Maintenance
Wooden floors are best installed in homes that wish to achieve a sense of timeless elegance that typically supersedes the duration of the homeowner who had it installed. Many hardwood floors successfully make a home significantly easier to clean and present a surface that is more durable and long-lasting than other mediums. This isn’t to say that wood floors don’t get worn down over time because honestly they do but it is not often that these detract from the appeal of the home unless it is in bad taste.
When life gets messy, you need a floor that’s easy to clean. With kids around, it can seem as though floors are a magnet for spilled food and drinks. Rest assured that wood floor maintenance is quick and easy.
Proper maintenance is essential to keep wood floors looking beautiful and performing well for the lifetime of the floor. Routine cleaning involves sweeping, dust mopping, or vacuuming using the bare floor setting to remove dust and dirt. Clean spills immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Don’t use wet mops or steam mops, which will damage the finish and the wood over long periods of time.
Over time, when your wood floors start to look a little dull, they can be renewed through recoating. This involves applying a new coat of wood floor finish or otherwise known as polyurethane.
The Process to Repair or Replace
If you know the damage is only on the surface, yet many of your boards are still in good condition, it is better to repair the flooring instead of replacing the whole of it. Even so, a professional must evaluate your floor before deciding whether to repair or replace it.
At Clean ReCoat, we provide complete hardwood floor repair, top coating, color correction, and restoration services at affordable rates. We have experts experienced in dealing with all kinds of flooring issues. Our team will be more than happy to help you make the right decision for your home or business. Contact us today to learn more about our repair and restoration services.
Are you ready to bring your floors back to life? Contact us today!