Fingerblock parquet flooring — an authentic choice for wood floors in a midcentury house

wood-parquetParquet floors, especially in oak, were a top-of-the line choice for midcentury homes — and now, we’ve learned the official name for this pattern — fingerblock flooring. We also found a place to buy it — including four-finger, 9″ x 9″ squares in red oak — exactly like the original parquet in Pam’s 1951 dining room, above.

fingerblock-parquet-floor

Photo via Czar Floors

The source we found:  Czar Floors — which offers fingerblock parquet in a variety of sizes, wood species and number of fingers per module.

Reader Jennifer, who left a comment on our post about parquet flooring in midcentury homes, prompted Pam’s search.

Jennifer wrote:

We just had a burst pipe flood and ruined our 1957 original oak parquet that was in the entire house except the baths and kitchen. Our three bedrooms were spared. Sad, sad, sad. I asked a local master hardwood expert / floor restorer about it and he said that the only way to get these 3/4 inch red oak parquet tiles is to have them custom made or salvage them. (They only make a lower quality 5/16 thin, premade parquet these days). They actually have to custom make them from pre-cut strip flooring boards because no one manufactures them anymore. Bummer. And it is super duper expensive (possibly 3 to 4 times the cost of a strip floor)

As for us, we are looking for a new engineered floor (per his recommendation) because we live in hot, humid, wet Florida and hardwood buckles even with the humidity sometimes here. We are trying to find something (strip flooring, most likely) that will look good with the red oak parquet in the bedrooms that was spared the water damage. We have to replace the hallway wood that opens to the bedrooms.

What have others done to keep the floors looking period appropriate when they couldn’t get lovely old parquet?

fingerblock-parquet-flooringBut wait, Jennifer — we live to hunt — and quickly found this flooring for you at Czar Floors.

Yes, this fingerblock parquet flooring is not cheap at $9.95 per square foot unfinished, but it is made from 3/4″ thick wood planks, solid all the way through — just like the old-school real-deal midcentury stuff — so it should last a lifetime — heck, multiple lifetimes! Both the individual “fingers” and each square tile fit together with tongue and groove, and the folks at Czar Floors recommend also using an adhesive to install their fingerblock parquet flooring.

vintage-style-fingerblock-parquet-floor

Photo via Czar Floors

A snipped from the Czar Floors website, which provides lots more detail there:

Also called “Fingerblock” this pattern can be found in many “brownstones” [Editor’s note: And midcentury houses, we would add!] It can be replicated in variety of sizes, number of planks and wood species….

1956 bedroom sherwin williams

1956 bedroom with fingerblock flooring  from a Sherwin Williams Paint brochure that reader Callie sent to Pam — thanks, Callie!

The verdict –we love fingerblock parquet flooring. In particular, we love that it’s “multi-directional.” That means it runs in both directions, equally. We learned this word from laminate expert Grace Jeffers — the most versatile abstract laminate designs are multi-directional. We also love learning this new term “fingerblock.” Reminds us of our recent journey learning the term Pickwick Pine.

If you have the dough re mi — what a fantastic floor to be able to add to your house. Or, if you have one already — golly, you know what to call it and have further sense of its worth.

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Comments

  1. Nancy says

    we moved into a 1950s Philadelphia row house. We removed the carpet and found this flooring, in pristine condition! It was a huge selling point when re moved out in 1990.

    • pam kueber says

      Fantastic! I LOVE the parquet in my dining room — it’s a fabulous pattern — adds dimension without screaming, and is aging so nicely. Me love patina.

  2. Ree says

    Love this flooring. The houses in my subdivision were built in 1955 and they had parquet floors or cork tile floors. Unfortunately my house had cork tile which did not survive 60 years of wear and tear and various remodels by previous owners. My neighbor still has the parquet floors that were in her house and whenever she sees someone removing it from their house, she retrieves it from the trash pile and stores it for future use. I’m going to tell her she’s sitting in a small fortune.

  3. Steve Wildman says

    SO glad to hear about this. Our hardwood floors in our 1953 Cape Cod had seen better days and were contemplating carpeting. This is going to work out just fine! Hope it can all come to pass.

  4. Anna says

    My parents have parquet flooring in their 1970’s ranch. It was looking kind of bad in some areas and a few years ago they covered it up with laminate (much to my objections but as its not my home anymore I don’t have much sway!)I was wondering if you know if this type of flooring can be sanded. They were wanting to go that route at first but were told by one company they consulted that small wood boards in parquet are too thin and and would not handle sanding well.

    • pam kueber says

      I think it depends on how thick your parquet is. My 1951 parquet is 3/4″ thick.

      This stuff got a bad name when manufacturers started cheaping out and made it thinner….

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        My advice would be to take up a small sample from an inconspicuous place (such as inside a closet) to measure the thickness. And alternative to that (again, in an inconspicuous place) would be to take your small sander and sand a couple of sections to see what the result is.

        It is interesting how many times a building professional who is not tuned in to restoring houses will tell you, “They just don’t make X (whatever you want) any more.” Wish the house flipper who made the beautiful 1950s kitchen would clone himself! 🙂

  5. Scott says

    Funny, I have never put MCM and parquet together in my mind before, but yes, of course. Because it was such a popular and enduring choice, it fools you and you don’t realize how long its really been around.

    • says

      I actually came here from the other post on the front page to say almost exactly this. The computer store my mother worked in had newly installed parquet flooring in about 1983, and that was the only place I had ever seen it, so in my mind it’s strongly associated to that era.

  6. MissyinTexas says

    We had it in every ground floor room but the kitchen of our 1956 colonial in Connecticut growing up. Looked great on its own or with Oriental rugs. It was pretty good stuff, too – probably not top of the line, but very durable.

  7. says

    Used to see parquet floors at homes, and even in gymnasiums growing up all the time….. Guess they’ve kind of gone out of style lately for more rustic modern looks.

  8. Ann Selznick says

    Great post. Our 1944 Seattle bungalow has similar parquet, but there are only 3 strips per square (rather than 4.) Do you think “finger block” pertains to 4 strips?

  9. Phil says

    We found 8″ x 8″ parquet tiles under our carpet and had it sanded and refinished and looks great. Problem is that the wood was too damaged in one room so we are looking for more. Contractor says it is Red oak plyblock. Does anyone out there know of any suppliers or sellers?

  10. Linda Weir says

    We have had water damage to several finger block parquet tiles in our rec room. They are 16×16″. Does anyone know where we can purchase replacement tiles?

  11. Glori Euwer says

    I am looking for 48 sq ft of Standard Brands fingerblock natural parquet 12″ x 12″ flooring tiles, pattern/color: TNG-412FingerNatural80 of Tongue-In-Groove that is 1/4″ thick flooring tiles. I have photos of the last package if needed. The wood is from Thailand.

  12. says

    I need help in that I have what is called two bundles of six finger parquet wood flooring that I have left over from a previous job I did on my home forty years ago. It is a six finger design and seems to be not available anymore. I need two bundles to finish my back entrance to the house. This flooring is glue down. Any out there can help or advise me? It seems that this six finger style is no longer made.

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