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Wooden Flooring

image 1Most 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



image 1Parquet 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.




Rubber Flooring

image 1Linoleum 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

image 1 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


image 1 Geometric tiles are small plain tiles set in a repetitive pattern of two or more colours, using a very fine grout line between.

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


image 1Quarry tiles are traditionally red or grey made from hard unglazed clay. Found in kitchens and other areas that recieve heavy wear and tear.

Plain coloured tiles were often laid in staggered courses like brickwork, or diagonally, rather than in the square grid pattern favoured today. The Victorian Society




The Flooring Book

The Flooring Book

1001 Ideas for Floors

1001 Ideas for Floors

Hardwood Floors: Laying, Sanding and Finishing

Hardwood Floors: Laying, Sanding and Finishing


Useful Links to Articles

History of Parquet Flooring: Parquet House

History of Russian Parquet Flooring

Caring for your Parquet Floor: Parquet House

Reclaimed Wooden Flooring: Eat Sleep Live

English Oak Parquet Flooring: LASSCO

Parquet Flooring

RVH Flooring

Working with Linoleum Flooring: This Old House

Fitting Lino: My Workman

Removing Lino: DIY Doctor

Vinyl and Linoleum Repair Tips: The Natural Handyman

Vinyl vs. Linoleum: Floor Ideas

Hot Floors

Youtube: Sanding and varnishing a herringbone wooden floor


Forum Debates

Channel 4 Homes Forum


Useful Research Websites

BBC Homes 1920's:

BBC Homes 1930's

Hidden House History

Francis Frith Photo Archive

The Geffrye Museum

English Architecture: Britain Express

Looking at Buildings: Pevsner Architectural Guides








Post War

Web www.freepedia.co.uk