Herringbone Flooring Overview – A Classic Parquet

herringbone-flooringHerringbone flooring refers to any floor with a herringbone pattern. It can be made of any type of floor planks including hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, vinyl & tile. The herringbone design pattern is the most well known of all parquet flooring patterns. It is named after the V shaped bones of a Herring fish. The herringbone pattern zig zags in repeating rows of rectangles laid at 90 degree angles. It’s first known use was in ancient Rome where brick roads were laid in herringbone pattern to add structural integrity.

Herringbone is used for design in brick laying, masonry, tilework, mosaics, jewelry, cloth & in a myriad of ways. It was first used for flooring in the 16th century France when parquet style floors first came about. The ultra wealthy flaunted their riches by employing skilled woodworkers to install intricate & opulent wooden floors in their mansions. Herringbone, a less complex parquet pattern, has ever since become an all time favorite still popular today.

There are variations possible in herringbone. The rectangles may vary in length or width from one herringbone pattern to another. Herringbone floors may be done with wide planks or narrow planks. The pattern may sometimes feature alternating colors. Some floors are done by alternating different types of wood.

chevron-floorChevron is another popular pattern from the French era similar to Herringbone. It has boards with the ends cut so they meet in a V shape. Herringbone has a staggered pattern while Chevron appears as rows of arrows. Either pattern adds elegant design to any room, especially showcase areas like large foyers.

Herringbone & Chevron were very popular in the 60’s & 70’s & in the early 2020’s have regained popularity along with the resurgance of midcentury modern styles. Chevron & herringbone flooring can be found anywhere including traditional American homes, modern city apartments, industrial lofts & European mansions & flats.

These patterns add a striking appearance to any room. The effect is most pronounced especially when used exclusively in showcase areas like foyers, living rooms & dining areas. This highlights the design feature rather than over doing it by having herringbone throughout the whole house. Of course, highlighting a kitchen, office or any area is possible with Herringbone.

herringbone-flooring2Solid hardwood herringbone flooring is the most costly for both materials & installation. Herringbone or chevron requires careful expertise to properly install. Every board must be perfectly aligned or the whole floor will be out of order. It is even more challenging if the subfloor is not perfectly flat. So unless one is a very seasoned do it yourselfer, it is best that a professional handles the installation. The time involved for labor is about double the time of a regular installation. A herringbone wood floor is a considerable investment & such high end work is best reserved for showcase areas of the home. The investment will definitely add resale value. It is still relatively affordable compared to other more complex parquet patterns installed with solid hardwood which can run up to $50 a square foot – some of the most expensive flooring money can buy.

However herringbone & many other parquet patterns can be installed with any type of flooring material. So long as all the planks are the same width & length they can be installed in a herringbone or chevron pattern. Some manufacturers offer planks with precut ends for a chevron install. There’s even prefinished click together planks & tiles for easy do it yourself installation. There’s no finishing or cutting except for cutting the pieces against the wall.

herringboneSo you can have herringbone at a more affordable price than solid hardwood. Hardwood is more costly not only because of the labor, but because of it’s quality. It can last a lifetime and be refinished to look new again several times over. Other flooring materials like engineered wood, laminate & vinyl cannot be refinished & may not last quite as long, but they have other advantages. They can be much more affordable and replicate the look of real wood very well. Luxury vinyl & engineered wood are great for water resistance & suitable for moisture prone areas like basements & bathrooms. And engineered wood is a great choice for radiant floor heating. Herringbone can even be done with cork or tile, which can also replicate wood & stone. Cork is soft, comfortable, soundproofs & insulates room temperature. There’s so many choices in flooring & different qualities & options to consider. But whatever type of floor suits your budget & needs, you can make it a herringbone floor & add that extra flair of elegance.

Check out the herringbone collection at Mirage Floors

The Floor Master

Hardwood flooring expert for over 30 years, serving in the NYC area.

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