Appeal of Oak Hardwood Flooring

The History and Appeal of Oak Flooring

Oak flooring is a durable, stylish surface which is suitable for all types of homes and businesses, and modern technological and industrial advances have made it much more affordable.

Xylo Flooring, who supply high-quality wooden flooring to developers, housebuilders and other commercial customers, has compiled this guide to the history of oak flooring. We look at its origins and why it is now enjoying a renaissance in homes and businesses.

The First Uses of Oak

Oak is renowned for its strength and hardness, but it was not always used as a floor surface. Viking longships in the 9th and 10th centuries were frequently made from oak planking, and the wood continued to be used for European military vessels until the 19th century.

Oak through the ages has also been used for interior panelling, fine furniture, musical instruments, and in the barrels which allow wines, sherries and whiskies to age.

Advantage America

Oak trees in America were so plentiful in the 17th and 18th centuries that even the poorest of colonial homes could afford a solid wood floor. The picture was rather different in Europe, where they were originally only seen in royal homes and palaces.

Modern finishing techniques were then a long way in the future, so the rough timber had to be scraped with hand tools to make them smooth enough to walk on comfortably. All of this was expensive and time-consuming, putting the price of the floors beyond the reach of everyone except the wealthiest of families.

Even comparatively rich households would often have slate or locally-sourced stone on the ground floor, with wood on the upper levels. The planks would usually be attached directly to joists. The poorer homes typically had to make do with dirt floors.

Production for the Masses

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century brought with it steam-powered machinery. This meant milling of all types of timber was now feasible, and not just lighter woods such as pine. As a result, durable strip flooring was easier to afford than in previous centuries.

However even then not everyone would be able to enjoy the benefits of oak flooring, as having locally-sourced timber was still a vital factor in bringing the cost down. Royal families, for whom money was no object, were now having their homes fitted with increasingly complex patterned wooden designs.

A Recent Resurgence

Cheap synthetic fibres meant that carpets became much more affordable after the Second World War. However modern consumers have realised that quality wooden flooring offers a stylish alternative to carpets and that they have other advantages too.

For instance, they are far easier to clean and much kinder to people who suffer from dust-related allergies or illnesses. Oak is also extremely hard-wearing and will look good in both period and modern properties, and it can suit any type of interior d├ęcor.

Xylo Flooring offers high-quality oak flooring to trade and residential customers at a highly competitive price. We have a wide range of colours to choose from, reflecting the many different species of oak.

For instance, if you are looking for a herringbone pattern, our Belgravia selection is available in white, grey, French grey or rustic oiled finishes. If you prefer a lighter look, our Chelsea Click selection comes in natural earth or light grey options.

Follow the link to get in touch with us and to find out about our full range of oak flooring, and our lacquered, matt or satin oiled finishes. We can deliver your order quickly and efficiently from our London warehouses. You can also order samples directly from us if you want to see how it looks in advance.

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