Published at Wednesday, 30 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.
Colonial-era homeowners created beautifully inventive floors when they had the means and materials. While painted styles range from a single color to grained designs that rival complex inlaid tile floors, most treatments in kitchens were simple: a deep yet cheerful solid earth color like dark red, ochre, or green, or a checkerboard.
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