Published at Saturday, 19 January 2019. Kitchen Floors. By Gerda Andersen.
Linoleum is still made using the original formula, which includes cork and linseed oil. Cork, grown on the tree of the same name, is almost wholly natural. Vinyl composition tile (VCT) is typically made of polyvinyl chloride chips, in a blend that usually includes a hefty percentage (20 to 25) of recycled or natural materials like limestone.
Wood floors are an old-house staple—but in the harsh environment of the kitchen, wood will splinter, flake, and warp when exposed repeatedly to water. That's why early Americans quickly learned to seal wood floors with whatever was available, from homemade paint to wax and tung oil. Similarly, Victorian homeowners jumped at the chance to install water-resistant materials like linoleum and mosaic tile as soon as they became widely available in the last quarter of the 19th century.
A means to re-creating the appearance of carpet, floorcloths and flooring stencils have been documented in early homes from about 1740 through well into the 19th century. Patterns can be surprisingly detailed and intricate, incorporating design elements such as flowers and leaves, pinwheels, and starbursts.
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