Oak Flooring History
The history of oak flooring is marked by many factors, but the one that is perhaps most interesting is the fact that it has been able to overcome seemingly innumerable odds to emerge as the premier flooring material. Oak floors have been in existence for a lot longer than people give credit. They have endured not just the test of time, but more importantly, they have outlived not just the wooden flooring boom but also the much maligned carpeted flooring era. How did this happen? The oak flooring history traces its origins back to the ancient world.
The term “rubber oak” was utilized to designate the birch tree, which was extensively used in Europe as an aromatic wood for making furniture and other household articles. The rubysuckle, which was closely related to the oak family, grew in abundance in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was this rubysuckle and oak that was used to make the finest of oak floors. A close relative of the oak family, the beech, was even more highly valued and prized for flooring, both indoor and outdoor, when the Roman Empire ruled the waves.
Oak flooring is often used with shiplap cladding
After a brief respite in the hands of the Tudors, the popularity of shiplap cladding came back to life during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Soon after, the new king, Edward IV, decreed that all Englishmen over age twenty-five would be required by law to buy and use solid oak flooring in their homes. Although the ban did not extend to Spain or the possessions of Spanish nationals, it was soon followed by the French, who decreed similar laws. The whole process seems to have been sparked by the French desire to assert their own authority on oak floors. The solid oak floors were seen as a challenge to the absolutism of the French crown, whose power had been growing steadily over the previous centuries.
One of the most important developments regarding oak floors occurred during the Renaissance, when new ideas began to circulate regarding how to best preserve and display this exotic hardwood. This new thinking had to do with both aesthetics and function. When the French began to use their oak floors for decorating and interior decoration, they created works of art that were unprecedented in their beauty and scope of detail. Some of the most beautiful examples of French oak furniture are still viewable in Europe and are accompanied by awe-inspiring murals. One of the reasons why the oak was chosen is because of its strength and resistance to damage, which were a definite bonus when it came to decoration.
Iroko wood can also be used effectively
During the nineteenth century, when urbanization and rapid development were beginning to shape the landscape of many towns and cities around the world, there was a trend toward mass production and mechanization of iroko wood. Machines and technicians soon replaced the natural advantages oak provided. As this took place, the need for sturdy oak flooring disappeared along with many of the traditions and pride oak flooring was known for. However, this has changed over the years and more people are starting to recognize the beauty of solid oak flooring once again.
With the resurgence of interest in interior design in the twentieth century, people started to question why oak flooring had become so popular during earlier periods. Part of the problem was that people did not have as much choice when it came to interior design and decoration, which are what oak flooring was used for. While other materials such as wallpaper and vinyl flooring were being chosen, oak was often used in order to make interior design items that were unique and very appealing. The use of oak became such a popular trend that in many cases it led to the destruction or covering of existing oak floors in order to make way for modern flooring materials such as tile and vinyl. As a result, we have seen a recent resurgence in interest in this type of flooring. Now, however, we are seeing more people trying to get hold of old oak pieces and reusing them in new ways.
In addition to this, the fact that oak flooring is extremely durable and strong has helped it remain popular throughout the years. It is no wonder that oak flooring can remain popular if you consider how long it can last in your home. If you live in an older home, chances are that the original oak floor may still be in perfect condition. With this in mind, you will find that you do not need to spend a large amount of money in order to redo your floor.
Finally, another reason that oak remains such a popular choice in flooring is that it is very easy to care for. Oak is a material that can withstand daily wear and tear. As a result, you will not need to spend hours upon hours just trying to keep your floor looking great; oak is a material that can take a bit of daily wear and tear and look almost new.