Herring Bone Patterned Parquet Flooring For Art Deco House


Hello Doc:

Thanks for having this site on the web.

Here’s my situation & a couple questions: We’re doing a remodel & I know I definitely want a sand-on-site floor (the engineered hardwoods just don’t look authentic to me). My decor is genuine art deco from the 1930s and 1040s & I really would like the finished flooring to look like it came from that period as well. Do you have any suggestions as to what type of wood & stain was used primarily back then?

Also, we’ve been told by 2 dealers that hardwood cannot be laid on top of particle board because the hardwood will lift, yet, we’ve been told by 2 other dealers that there won’t be a problem with lifting if 2″ nails are used! We’re very confused & really need and appreciate your guidance.

Thanks –



Dear Yvonne

The first question is best answered by the book Elements of Style Encyclopedia. The section I have just opened to is the 20’s and 30’s and describes the floors that were in fashion during that era. Art deco was predominant in the 20’and 30’s. While the modern era came in the 40’s.

According to this book parquet flooring was quite popular, this included the herring bone pattern. Some French style boarders and inlays were done on the edges of strip floors. All wth the emphasis on straight lines and complex geometric patterns. If you can get the book it is on page 431. Inlaid linoleum and terrazzo was most popular in this era, for kitchens.

The colors of the wood floor were blonde or very light brown stains. The darker stained floors were really part of the Victorian era, just before this. So in general lighter woods were most common floor colors. but darker wood boarders were often done even then. Again to emphasize simple but elegant geometry. If you cannot get the book, I could photo copy the two pages and send them on to you.

Oh, and now for the particle board dilemma. the first two guys are correct. A subfloor consisting of OSB, chip board, flake board, or particle board, makes just about the worst nailing surface for a hardwood floor. These types of sub-floors have the worst long term nail holding and moisture stability problems. These really show up when a hardwood floor is nailed to them, and seams open up in the hardwood due to the shifting subfloor. You really must remove it and replace it with 3/4″ plywood. I’ve got the University studies to prove everything I say. The two inch nails are just the standard nails we use in the flooring business, they will not improve matters. Never have any installers use staples for the hardwood floor. This will crack the tongues. I hope you consider a donation to the site, and I would be glad to be of any more help.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.