Parquetry or parquet wood floors are a mosaic work of blocks of different woods arranged in a geometric pattern for a stunning decorative effect. The art of parquetry can be used for both furniture and flooring. Furniture parquetry typically uses veneer patterns whereas flooring combines unique block patterns.
Parquet patterns are exclusively angular and geometrical such as triangles, squares and lozenges (a rhombus diamond shape). One of the most prevalent parquet flooring patterns is the herringbone. This pattern uses distinctive rectangle arrangements in various forms. Generally the blocks are rectangle or parallelogram (a lopsided rectangle). The edge length ratio is typically 2:1 but at times it is 3:1. The herringbone pattern is so named for its likened similarity to the bones of a herring fish.
Other popular parquet patterns include square on square, double herringbone, brick bond, heritage, basket weave, parallel and stylized random blocks.
The word parquet is derived from Old French parchet, which means “a small enclosed space”. In 1684, woodwork parquet (parquet de menuiserie) replaced the laborious and high maintenance marble flooring of many homes and establishments. By 1693, the “parquets en lozenge” flooring at Versailles and Grand Trianon was noted by a well-known Swedish architect named Daniel Cronström. His official job was as cultural ambassador whose responsibility was to record (by drawing) and buy exceptional material related to the decorative arts.
Parquet floors were typically found in royal palaces and high-class estates of European aristocracy. They remained popular until the 1930’s when carpeting became the standard floor covering choice. However, in the 1980’s and 1990’s a renewed interest in the beautiful natural look of wood flooring became widespread. And with new industrial techniques, parquet floors were more durable and reasonably priced. No longer were these stunning floors designed only for nobles. Today, parquet wood floors come in numerous styles and are now a part of contemporary living. They offer elegant accents to the décor and ambiance of any room.
Parquet floors are generally pieced together to form stylish designs. The flooring is customarily 3/8” in thickness without the use of tongue and groove. Instead, the pieces are artfully bonded to the floor and then sanded and finished by a timber floor specialist. The standard block style is 12×12”. However, numerous sizes and shapes are available to match your needs.
With finger-block style parquet, the outside edges of tongue and groove are used. This limits the amount of times the floor can be sanded. Generally, this type of parquet comes prefinished and should only be refinished one to two times. On the other hand, parquet styles without tongue and groove can be refinished up to 10 times. In fact, sanding and refinishing gives your parquet floors an everlasting presence.