We all love the soft sinking sensation of carpet between our toes, or the cool firmness of tile on a really hot day. Hardwood floor is definitely pleasing to the eye, and vinyl tiles are a study in resilience. But as you enjoy your flooring of choice, did you ever stop to think about what lead up to the vast variety of flooring options we enjoy today?
The very earliest flooring option was no flooring at all. Homes were built in the dirt, on the dirt, and the floor was…dirt. If this isn’t bad enough, for much of history, any waste was thrown on the ground and became part of the floor (and I do mean any waste). If the animals spent any time indoors, their waste was simply added to the new flooring material.
Thankfully, flooring has come a long way from clinging quite so close to nature. Eventually, people began using thresh or sand to cover the dirt floors. When the material got too dirty, the housewife would simply sweep the material out with the trash and lay fresh thresh or sand. In case you were wondering, the term threshold came from this time. The threshold was the barrier at the door that served to keep the thresh in the house.
The Egyptians were some of the earliest to develop alternative flooring options. As they began their golden age of construction, some of the stone they made became a part of the floor. Colored tiles would be added to these floors (mosaics) to create interesting patterns.
The Romans introduced tile making, especially ceramic tiles, but when the empire fell, the craft was mostly abandoned. Tile floors peppered history, but didn’t make a serious comeback until the mid-1800’s.
Wood floors were created in the middle ages, when people began to place planks over bare earth flooring. Carpet making has been around for a little over a thousand years with the greatest advancements occurring in Persia (Persian rugs anyone?).
While there is so much more that can be said about where flooring came from, hopefully you have a little more appreciation for your dirt-less flooring options.
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