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Flooring That Spans Centuries


Looking back at materials used to build our havens of solitude and protection, one stands out as a proven stalwart- terra cotta flooring. The word 'terra cotta' comes from the Italian 'baked earth'. It has withstood literally hundreds of years of foot pounding from the Romans, Greeks, and of course Italians, who actually made it popular up to our present day stemming from the Renaissance Age which brought us back to an appreciation for art in our structures. Terra Cotta flooring's use even extends to the ancient Sumerians and it's evidence of success continues to this day.

I am just thinking of how industrious we as humans are at using the given natural resources around us, to create practical architecture. You take natural clay from the earth and bake it till it becomes hardened and it becomes useful not only as flooring & tile, but exteriors and interiors of homes as bricks, pottery with its iconic color, and roofing as in terra cotta tiles. This 'baked clay' is extraordinary at thwarting the elements not to mention its low maintenance. That is why it has always been a great resource- its readily available and doesn't need continued upkeep. I'm groaning at the times I have had to paint and/or replace various building materials.

Besides its natural deterrent, terra cotta has its own artistry. It has always been one of my favorite flooring options. It has differing hues and patinas. This is because some tiles are nearer the source of heat and therefore become darker, whereas others have differing clay and soil mixtures that bring out a subtle difference. (Notice the variations in the terra cotta flooring in the Albion 'copper' house pictured below.)

The tiles that were used in this house weren't reclaimed but are authentic in that the clay was pressed into wood moldings with human hands before being fired. It says something about appreciating hard work that creates a product that functions and even looks beautiful. Who knows, maybe this floor will last a century. It certainly has the proven potential.

Create Your Dreams!

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