Well, this is the last in the series, folks. We’ve traced the history of hardwood flooring from colonial times, when the wood flooring was made accessible to all walks of life and economic standing with the new sources of hardwoods in North America. Then, we talked about how mass production and innovation to keep up with a more diverse market influenced how hardwood flooring developed into the first half of the 20th century. But, How did the history of hardwood flooring develop in the last half of the 20th century until now? Read on.
The invention of linoleum had been a rival to natural wood flooring for some time. And later with the advent of wall-to-wall carpeting, the market became extremely competitive by the end of World War 2. The development of wall-to-wall carpeting became a giant, and the market dominance of solid hardwood flooring became a thing of the past for decades. This meant that the quality of production wasn’t quite where it had been, given that few companies dedicated much effort into making it better. The cost to install it also dropped, meaning that a lot of installers had to split a pretty paltry fee between them to install hardwood flooring. It made more sense at the time to switch to carpeting in many cases.
By the 1980s, solid hardwood flooring began to make an impression once again as fashions shifted toward real wood flooring, and prefinished hardwood flooring began to improve in leaps and bounds as demand for it began to rise. By the end of the 1990s, the industry improved even more with improved milling standards and high-quality finishes which continued to make hardwood flooring a refined choice as well as one that people choose for a more organic effect in an interior.The health benefits of solid hardwood flooring with regard to air quality also had an impact in terms of how people approached how to choose flooring. And as a result, hardwood flooring represented about $7 billion in revenue in 2007.
The history of hardwood flooring shows that the needs of consumers haven’t really changed all that much from colonial times to now. Customers are still looking for a surface that delivers on practicality, performance, and long-term value.
So, what’s your own hardwood flooring history – got any stories of the successes or failures with your own floor? Do tell!
Big thanks to Wood Flooring Doctor for a lot of the factual information about hardwood flooring found in this series. Be sure to read the information on this site, which goes into even more detail about how hardwood flooring was developed.
Hardwood flooring image courtesy of decor8.