While hardwood flooring has been around for hundreds upon hundreds of years, it wasn’t actually as common as you might think. In fact, polished hardwood flooring didn’t start to gain much traction until the late 1800s in America. Wood was used for flooring before this point in time, but it was a much more basic, unpolished type of flooring setup. These more rudimentary forms of wood flooring consisted of thick and wide wooden planks that were taken from some of the country’s old-growth trees.


Though hardwood in America had relatively humble beginnings with unpolished wood, different varieties and styles slowly began to flourish. One of these distinct styles was known as “decorative flourishes.” Painted interior walls became increasingly common in the mid-1800s and this trend extended its way onto wood flooring. A common wood flooring decorative flourish during this period was a painting on top of the hardwood floors. Ranging in styles from intricately ornamented one-color flourishes all the way to multicolored checkerboard patterns, these painted floors were a beautiful sight to behold.

Hardwood flooring is still very popular in homes today and it helps retain great resale value for homes.

As time progressed and many manufacturing processes changed around the time of the Industrial Revolution, steam-powered machinery aided in the production of quality finished wooden boards. These machines allowed for a much more uniform look in the wooden planks themselves. One such style this time period’s advances brought was something called Parquet borders. These borders were typically found along walls and corners. They were often made of ornate geometric patterns using different colors of hardwood

The machinery of the industrial revolution also helped progress the standard grooves and tongues now found in most hardwood floorboards. The tongue-and-groove technology was a breakthrough in hardwood flooring. It allowed the boards to be tightly bound together, made it so that no nails were visible, and gave them a flawless unified appearance.


During the mid-1900s, modern technology allowed for the production and use of newly manufactured materials. Using modern technology became increasingly popular at the time and hardwood began to lose its long-held popularity. During the final years of the 20th century, hardwood flooring began to make a comeback due to its rustic, simple, and natural appeal. Interestingly, reclaimed lumber has even grown dramatically in popularity as recycling materials and sustainability gain more traction among consumers. Wood floors have been a staple of American flooring throughout the country’s history and we expect them to continue to maintain their popularity in the decades and centuries to come, especially in vintage homes.


Whether you’re looking for a more rustic hardwood look or something modern and elegant, Element can help you find and choose an option that makes perfect sense for any room in your home. We’ll guide you through all the different brands and wood types and make recommendations based on your tastes, needs, and budget. Contact our friendly and experienced team today to begin your hardwood flooring journey!