Early American Flooring: From Dirt to Hardwood

Pioneering days in our country were hard. Everyone had a dirt floor. A house was considered solid if it had walls and a roof to keep the cold and wind out. These were the most important aspects of adequate housing in those early days. Floors were the last thing on the list for a good house. When the economy improved, however, this changed, and wood flooring came into fashion.

At first, Early American floors were made from rudimentary wood pieces which were naturally hard, large, and included sizeable knots and holes. As saws and tools evolved during the industrial revolution, the craft of creating hardwood floors taught a lot about wood grades and gave way to a developed understanding of lumber as a product.

As the industry developed, softwoods became categorized as stress-graded lumber used for load bearing positions such as for joists used in flooring. Hardwood, from slower growing trees, produced lumber with a more intricate design and higher density suited for flooring due to the aesthetics. Based on appearance and the amount of usable cuttings, hardwood Number 2A Common grade, abbreviated as No. 2AC, also known as the Economy Grade, is the grade often selected by the hardwood flooring industry today.

Up until the mid-20th century hardwood floors became a status symbol of laborious installation. Made from white oak, chestnut, maple, or black walnut, their demand increased exponentially along with the population of the country. After the Victorian Era, this boon eventually gave way to manufactured materials requiring less effort. With the look of real hardwood, engineered wood provided the same look and feel for a much cheaper price.

However, when it comes to manufactured products, all engineered hardwood planks are not created equal. When choosing engineered wood, it is important to examine the thickness or depth of the top layer. Some have thinner top layers which can only be sanded a limited number of times as opposed to a top layer with a thicker depth that can be sanded many times.

When considering real hardwood floors, the grading system is useful because it serves quality assurance needs. It is also complex and deserves a few moments of study. Here is the list with explanations for hardwood lumber grading categories. In addition, wood hardness can be determined through the Janka Hardness Test.

Although it is a lot of work to produce real wood flooring and the price is quite a bit higher than engineered wood, it is nice to have choices, and both are available today. From reclaimed lumber used to replicate early floors, to high end authentic hardwood, brands for each are widely available. If you are seeking high level quality, Bruce is one business that can be trusted. Having been in business for 100 years, they have proven themselves. Sourcing their wood from the Appalachian Mountains, this brand is at the top of the list for precision, real hardwood floor installation and customer service.

One point to be aware of is, after concerns of deforestation surfaced in the general public with the “Save the Trees” Movement, it is reassuring to know that contrary to popular belief we are not running out of hardwood trees. There is an abundance of forestland available to responsibly sustain our hardwood floors. You can feel good about choosing either manufactured wood or real wood for your floor project. Both are environmentally friendly and much more appealing than dirt.  

So now that you understand the history of flooring and what kind of quality there is out there, it’s time to see how you can efficiently service your clients. One of the best ways is to get what they need, quickly. The one problem with the flooring industry is there is usually a lag in communication when it comes to looking up pricing and inventory. Often, paper pricebooks are still in use—why not use modern technology? That’s what VendorPriceBook is all about. It’s a web-based application that allows vendors to communicate with retailers in the flooring industry in a snap. No more reaching into your book shelf or searching through PDF and excel files.

Try out VendorPriceBook today to see how it will streamline communication and help you service your clients better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s