Types of Wood and Tile Flooring Common in American Homes
What’s beneath your client’s feet is also a very important interior design element to know about. After all, replacing doors is easy, windows more challenging, but replacing floors can be extremely expensive and will change the look of any home since flooring is usually at least one quarter of the visible space in any home. Here are a few common styles of wood and tile floors.
Parquet, French for “a small compartment,” is a style of wood floor that uses small pieces of wood cut into shapes that fit together to make larger patterns. The classic parquet is the interlocking squares version seen above. Herringbone and chevron are also common patterns used in parquet flooring.
Without a doubt one of the most eye catching wood floor styles you’ll see as an agent, herringbone floors are made with small strips of wood installed in an interlocking “V” pattern on the floor. Herringbone floors have been used as a decorative element in homes since the 1500s, and continue to be a popular, if expensive, option for wood flooring today.
Chevron floors are a variation on herringbone parquet floors with a simpler, easier to install pattern that does not interlock. Instead, small strips of flooring are simply cut at matching angles and installed on the floor.
Inlays are purely decorative parquets that are often used to make border decorations or central medallions on high end wood floors. Due to the cost and expertise involved in installation, inlays are very rarely used today except in very high-end homes. They are however somewhat common in turn of the century homes.
Laminate flooring, also known by the earlier trademark “Pergo,” is a modern flooring product that uses layers of synthetic materials that have a wood grain pattern applied to them. They provide the look of hardwood floors, but for a fraction of the cost. Laminate flooring is also easier to install and maintain than hardwood flooring.
Hardwood flooring is made of thin or wide strips of actual hardwood like oak, walnut, hickory, maple, or cherry. These wooden strips generally also have a tongue and groove construction which allows them to be locked together for a tighter more water-resistant seal. Note that the different varieties of hardwood species can be stained pretty much any color. Grain pattern is the best way to differentiate between species of wood used for flooring.
Cork flooring is a flooring product made from the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark is processed into sheets, and used as a flooring alternative to hardwood. Cork flooring is thought to be more environmentally friendly than hardwoods as the bark of cork trees can be harvested again and again.
Strip flooring is made up of thin strips of wood, generally cut from less attractive areas of the tree including limbs and the upper portion of the trunk. If used in larger pieces, imperfections such as knots would be visible making the floor less uniform. Strip flooring can be made either from solid wood, or more commonly, thin strips of hardwood glued to other cheaper species of wood to save cost.
Wide plank flooring on the other hand is flooring made up from large sections of the trunk of the tree. Imperfections such as knots are sometimes included in wide plank flooring. Since large sections of grain are visible and wide planks can only be cut from the most expensive parts of a tree, wide plank flooring is the most expensive hardwood flooring material there is. That said, wide planks are more common in 18th century homes as wood was less expensive.
Natural Slate Tile
One of the most attractive and surprisingly affordable types of floor tile in American homes is natural slate, which is made up of large, sometimes rough sections of slate stone. Since slate stone can have natural imperfections, it provides a warm, natural look that is difficult to duplicate with synthetic materials. Slate tile is commonly found in entryways, basements, kitchens, and living rooms.
More common in the Southwest, terracotta tile is a ceramic tile with a warm, reddish brown color that is also commonly used for roofing on Spanish style homes. Terracotta tile is commonly found in kitchens.
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