Humans and the use of wooden tools and materials have gone back further than written history. As long as we’ve had semi-permanent dwellings, we’ve been using twigs and wood to make walls, roofs, and floors. Of course, all of this took a lot of time and resources, so even into the 19th century, most of the common people still had dirt floors. A wood floor could take months to complete, and commoners didn’t have the time to spend nor the resources to hire someone to do the floor for them. If the commoner was affluent enough to afford a two-story home, then the upper floor would be constructed of rough, untreated planks that were milled by hand.
As the industrial revolution began to wind down, new technologies like the side-matcher were created. The side-matcher allowed for boards to be fitted with a groove and tongue system. These new floors resembled our modern ones and marked a new era of wood flooring. As the 1800s ended and the 20th century began, hardwood floor associations were created. Subfloors, which were previously unheard of, also began to grow in popularity.
More than wood flooring was changing though. Heating and real furnaces were becoming normal, and in response, the flooring industry had to begin drying wood before installing it. New technologies also allowed the wood to be nailed, sanded, and polished faster than ever. However, other flooring options like carpet, ceramic, and stone tile were also popping up and giving hardwood some steep competition.
Over the years, hardwood and the other flooring options have fluctuated in popularity. Carpets were once prized by the wealthy, but their popularity has diminished since the 70s, and many Canadians today dislike carpet since it’s difficult to clean. Hardwood on the other hand, had risen in popularity again. In the last few years though, hardwood has suffered from some new competition. Materials like cork and bamboo, which offer many of the same benefits but are more sustainable, have become more and more popular.
People have been using wood to build their homes for thousands of years. As our societies changed and our technology improved, we’ve been able to move from simple, effective construction into works of architectural art. At TimberTown, hardwood floors will always be one of our favourite flooring options. Hardwood has a rich history, and many of the hardwood floors across Canada that were constructed over a century ago are still beautiful and in use today. But we’re also happy to provide Albertans with the more sustainable alternative like cork and bamboo. If you’re considering hardwood flooring for you home, come into the TimberTown nearest you today! We’d be happy to answer any of your questions, and point you in the right direction.