History of the floor – from stone in the cave to laminate under the sofa

03 December 2015

What actually is a floor? From the beginning, it was the stone in the cave and the trodden mud in the hut. What we walked on was our floor.

Both we humans and our floors developed slowly. The home acquired wood planks and polished stone floors. In the 18th century manor houses, both in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, people began painting the wood floors with linseed oil paint. Untreated wood floors, scoured floors, that were in the homes of the common man were customary all the way into the 20th century. Parquet flooring may have existed as early as the Middle Ages. In finer houses, it was popular to lay parquet flooring with fish bone patterns or other more complicated patterns.

Both stone and wood are two materials that are still popular in our homes, especially in Scandinavia, but at the same time, there is now so much more to choose from.

Development gained momentum in the 20th century.

Linoleum was made in England as early as the 1860s, but the major development in flooring didn't take place until the 20th century. With the industrial progress, we now got flooring of plastic, rubber, textiles and laminate.

In the mid-1950s, the flooring market was dominated by wood and linoleum. The reason was simply that it was virtually only these alternatives that were available. However, linoleum had already begun to decline and instead there was growing interest in plastic flooring. Textile flooring also became increasingly popular.

Laminate flooring revolutionised the market

In 1977, the idea was born for the laminate floor, which would come to revolutionise the flooring market. The product was introduced in 1979 and was a floor that was not just intended for the home, but also withstood the strains of commercial environments. With the development of quality and design that has occurred since 1977, it can now be difficult to see the difference between a wood floor and a laminate floor. Today, solid parquet flooring has also largely been replaced by slat and laminate flooring.

What floors are popular today?

At the beginning of the 2000s, there was a clear increase in wood and laminate flooring at the expense of plastic, textile and other materials. Now, we also see a strong industrial trend where concrete is prominent.

With Pergo's new collection of vinyl flooring, which to some extent is a plastic material, we can also confirm that we are experiencing a ”revinylution”. Today, the vinyl floor is not only attractive, but provides a natural expression both in look and feel – and continues to be a durable floor that withstands strains.

If you want to read more about the development and history of flooring, we recommend this essay from Örebro University.

A Visual History of Flooring Across The World

From Visually.

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