In the early 19th-century, hardwood floors were either crudely sawed and installed for the lower and middle class or intricately laid parquet flooring for the wealthy and powerful. The beginning of World War II, when the need for new housing and factories needed to be constructed quickly, opened up the market for a new type of flooring: prefinished flooring.
A new market for prefinished wood
During WWII, shipyard workers and factory workers came in droves to San Francisco. All of a sudden you needed a lot more housing, and you needed it quickly. At this point, both the end-matcher and the sander had been invented, so there had already been significant improvements to the labor intensity of installing hardwood floors. The rush to build new homes created another opportunity to improve the hardwood flooring industry.
Instead of unfinished hardwood floors, standard barrack-style housing was being built, one after another, and prefinished flooring was being shipped in by the carload. There was also a need for large defense and weapons factories to be built. Factories were so large it would take workers years to complete the floors. Even with the new prefinished flooring on the market.
Prefinished wood was more expensive than unfinished wood
Prefinished flooring wasn’t just saving time and filling a need to a quicker turnaround on the installation process; there was also profit to be made. In the name of patriotism, profiting from anything during the war was forbidden, and prices fixed by the Office of Price Administration (OPA.) But, since prefinished hardwood flooring came to be during the war and had not been subject to a price fix, the manufacturers saw a chance to bump up the price a little. But, can you blame them? After all, they were working 24/7 for years on end. And, despite new tools, laying a hardwood floor was still extremely labor intensive.
Prefinished and site finished hardwood flooring in Denver
So, that’s how prefinished flooring was born. Hardwood floors have a long, rich history, and we’re proud to be a part of the future of hardwood flooring. The options today are limitless, and we’re always coming up with new ways to improve our industry, from installation techniques to environmentally friendly products.
If you’ve got a hardwood flooring project in mind, schedule a free consultation and we’ll find the best solutions for your home or business.