Parquet flooring for a ranch house? Yes — an “authentic” top-of-the-line choice

Lynn recently bought a 1960 ranch house and asked me whether I thought her wood parquet floors (small photo to the right) were original. Almost without a doubt I answer: Yes. The lead photo above is my dining room floor. This floor is original to my 1951 colonial-modern ranch. The parquets are each 12″ wide. They are made from fullsize pieces of wood flooring — this is not a thin veneer. In fact, somewhere in my travels I have heard that parquet flooring like mine was more expensive to purchase and install than the more common long runs of oak tongue-in-groove flooring. Wood parquet was more complicated, more fussy, and therefore, more expensive. The adjacent, step-down living room, by the way, got wall-to-wall carpet.

We have explored recently what color stain is most appropriate for your midcentury hardwood floors — the mass, we believe, were done in “natural”, like mine. But we’ve also seen darker stains. 

  1. Bridgette French says:

    We have an entire kitchen .dining and well lot’s of Parquet flooring concentrated in one area. We certainly think that the flooring is in keeping with our glorious new home BUT they are in ruff ruff shape.

    What do all you hipsters out there think of refinishing them and darkening them from their original goldish, oakyish state? Darkish?

  2. Julie Selden says:

    I live in a 1968 home with parquet flooring. It is in pretty good shape. But I am always wondering how to take care of it from weekly and if I am suppose to be finishing it. It has never been refinished and looks good.

  3. genjen says:

    I have original 9×9 red oak parquet throughout my entire 1950s California ranch house. I am DESPERATE to find a good quality of replacement pieces. Water damaged ruined a sizable section of one room’s flooring and I’m heartsick about it. None of the modern parquet tiles on the market will work. Any guidance is very much appreciated.

  4. Jennifer Logan says:

    Yes, you do have to have it custom made.

    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?

    1. pam kueber says:

      See all our flooring research — it’s in Kitchens/Flooring.

      For main living areas — how about cork? Or if you can find someone to do it — in Florida, the go-to most desirable floor would have been terrazzo. Could be even more spendy today than the real-deal parquet.

      1. Jennifer Logan says:

        Thanks for the investigating and the terrazzo idea. $10/sq ft is pretty expensive because we have about 1000 square feet to cover and it is unfinished and doesn’t include a new subfloor or installation costs. I’ll look into the terrazzo, which would be cool underfoot in the summer heat.

        1. pam kueber says:

          You could also do VCT — if you like the casual look throughout the entire house… see our stories on Azrock VCT tile — TexTile and Azrock Cortina Autumn Haze — they have the old skool “jaspe” look. Even less expensive, probly: Armstrong Imperial Excelon VCT. Key to installing these floors successfullly is, I believe, getting the subfloor absolutely positively smooth; consult a pro.

  5. Sarah says:

    We have the same floors, pictured in the lead photo, in our kitchen. I love how the braided rug looks with it. Do you know where this rug can be purchased? Thank you!

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