Where did all of the charming wood parquet flooring go? At one point in time, it looked like every mid-century contemporary home had a dining room, kitchen, den or rec. room with these geometric hardwood tiles used for their floor. Today, however, wood flooring retailers seem to obviously display their exotic hardwood strip flooring up front, while the cartons of wood parquet tiles pine away in the back room. And a lot of homes have covered over their parquet tiles with ceramic tiles, engineered wood, laminate planks, luxury vinyl planks.

Elegant parquet flooring on an old house

The Evolution of Parquet Flooring

During the Rolling 20’s, a genuine parquet floors were the sign of opulence and wealth, since these floorings were the result of fine craftsmen meticulously cutting and fitting small pieces of hardwood into ornate and artistic geometric patterns on a floor. The earliest genuine parquet hard wood floors date back to the 16th century when rich aristocrats began laying it over marble floors. Hardwood floors of various types were the staple for decades, although American homes covered them over with lush carpets in the post-war era. During this post-war era, carpet reigned in all but the wealthiest homes, where hardwood flooring, including parquet flooring, could still be seen.

All things change, though, and slowly the look of parquet flooring became common and was acknowledged for what it was—a cheap copy of what was once a very costly floor installed by artistic craftsmen. And as new flooring materials, such as vinyl planks, plastic laminates, and porcelain tiles came into light, hardwood parquet tiles began their move out of the front of the store and into the back room.

The Advantages of Hardwood Parquet Flooring

But the chicken comes home to roost, and parquet flooring is poised to make a comeback, thanks to the fact that consumers are now finding a nostalgic appeal to a flooring once prevalent in mid-century contemporary homes. Now, parquet flooring is not seen as a cheap replica of old-time crafted parquet floors, but as a retro homage to the 1970s and 1980s. And improved products have also made parquet flooring more popular again. And where once the primary wood species options were maple and oak, parquet flooring tiles can now be found in many other hardwoods, including some exotics.

Parquet floorings are easier to install than hardwood planks. Glue-down installation means no nailing is needed. The urethane-based adhesive has a 1-hour working time, which gives you ample time to perfect the placement. Because the tiles are thin, they are easy to cut with a saw.
Modern hardwood parquet floor tiles are solid wood—not engineered products with veneer layers.

A lot of patterns are available. Multi-piece construction of each tile lends a deep, 3D look.
Prefinished tiles are the norm. You can find parquet tiles in many colors, with very hard and durable polyurethane finishes already applied. There is no smells or mess from finishing.
Parquet flooring is a perfect flooring choice for restructuring mid-century contemporary decor styles.

Room with a view

Drawbacks of Hardwood Parquet Flooring

There are a few setbacks to parquet floor tiles:

Because parquet is real wood, manufacturers suggest that you install this product at or above grade. This flooring is not suggested for basements.

Fondness for parquet flooring is an acquired taste. Future owners may not like it unless they have an appreciation for mid-century modern styles.

Refinishing options are limited. The thin layer of wood means that only light sanding is possible. Alternating directions of wood grain also complicate sanding. Refinishing these floors needs to be approached very carefully.

Bottom Line

Hardwood parquet tiles are enjoying a rebirth, with newer products that use solid hardwood rather than veneer construction and offering many options for finishes and patterns. They are among the easiest of all solid hardwood flooring products to set up and are a perfect fit if you’re going for a modern-classic style of mid-century modern decor. Once confined mostly to domestic hardwoods such as maple and oak, there are a lot other species available, such as ash, pecan, teak, and bamboo. For a homeowner who prefers solid hardwood, parquet flooring provides a cheap and easy to install option.

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