Most Victorian houses used wooden floorboards. They were laid onto joists and nailed down. The floor boards created a suspended floor, where the air-gap helped to prevent damp.
Edwardian floorboards were narrower than the Victorians. They were butted up against each other or tongue and grooved. Boards were made from pine or deal and stained or waxed to look like hardwood. Bedroom wooden floors would of been parquet or boards painted white with a rug in the centre.
Pine and Oak Floor Boards
Parquet flooring was popular between the Edwardian and Thirties period. Parquet flooring is most suitable for solid floors i.e. concrete, which would most likely to be on the ground floor of the house like the hall and living space. Parquetry is small blocks of hardwood glued down onto a subfloor providing a hardwearing surface to cater with daily life. The block would be laid down in a geometrical pattern to create a decorative effect; the herringbone pattern was most popular.
Linoleum was first made by Fredrick Walton in 1860 as a cheaper alternative to the Kamptulicon rubber floor popular during the Victorian period. Linoleum is made from oxidized linseed oil, ground cork, wood dust formed on a jute backing.
Linoleum was adopted by the modern designers and Bauhaus architects and was most popular between 1900-1930. Linoleum was an ideal product for the modern home because it was a low cost and hardwearing. It also came in an array of patterns of tiles, planks and parquet and persian carpet patterns.
Floor Tiles: Encaustic, Geometric & Quarry
Encaustic tiles are a ceramic tile where the pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile. The patterns were made up of different colours of clay, heated into a liquid (slip) and poured into a mould and fired. Encaustic tiles were first developed and used in the medieval period. It was in the Gothic Revival of the Victorian age that brought them back into popular demand.
The tiles were often unglazed but were very hardwearing, being thick and heavy and were often used for floors in churches and cathedrals, great houses, railway stations and public buildings including the Houses of Parliament. Hull Museums Collections
Domestic properties from 1870 to around 1910 usually had a modified suspended timber floor. Joists were laid at the same level as those for surrounding boarded floors, with battens and pugging boards added at the bottom of the joists to form troughs. The troughs were then packed with a lime pugging, and the tiles laid on a wet screed of around half an inch (12mm) pulled over the top. Victorian & Edwardian Tiles Floors by Peter Thompson
coloured tiles were often laid in staggered courses like brickwork,
or diagonally, rather than in the square grid pattern favoured today.
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