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Parquet Flooring: The 2021 Guide

January 6, 2021

Of all the wood flooring types out there, parquet flooring may just be the most elegant. 

But these days, the word parquet gets thrown around a lot—and to describe a lot of different kinds of floors.

So what exactly is parquet flooring? How expensive is it to install? And most importantly, is it right for your home?

Below, we’ll answer all of those questions—and more. We’ll talk about the most popular parquet flooring styles, materials, pros and cons, how much it costs to install, and the different options you have. 

Table of Contents

What is Parquet Flooring?

We’ll tackle this first question right now. By definition, parquet flooring (or parquetry) is a floor made up of multiple wood pieces to form a geometrically-patterned surface.

These days, though, you can achieve a parquet floor with more than just hardwood. In fact, many different types of flooring can be used to create parquet patterns. These include:

The point is, it doesn’t matter what material you’re using. As long as you use different pieces to achieve a geometrically-patterned surface, you’ve made a parquet floor!

Important Note: These Days, There are 2 Main Ways to Get Parquet Flooring

Traditionally, parquet flooring was created by installing pieces of flooring in a pattern. And of course, this is still what most people think of when they think of parquet. Herringbone, for example, is the most popular example of this type of installation.

Installing engineered wood in a herringbone pattern
Installing engineered wood in a herringbone pattern

But You Can Also Purchase Prefabricated Parquet Tiles

However, parquet flooring can also refer to premade, patterned wood (or fake wood) tiles. When these tiles are installed, they also create parquet patterns.

A prefabricated basketweave wood parquet tile
A prefabricated basketweave wood parquet tile

There’s a lot of confusion here, because when some people say they want “parquet flooring”, they’re thinking of surfaces that are installed as parquet. But others may be thinking about parquet tiles that feature different wood floor designs within them.

The History of Parquet Flooring (Spoiler: It’s Been Around for a Long Time)

Some styles of parquet, like herringbone, have existed since the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. Many Roman roads were built in this style due to its structural integrity. 

But parquet flooring as we know it has its origins in 16th-century France, where aristocrats would flaunt their wealth by hiring laborers to create elaborate geometrically-patterned floors in their posh palaces. 

When was parquet flooring popular? Always!

While traditional wood floor patterns like herringbone were most popular in the classical homes of the 19th and early 20th centuries, parquet flooring has never gone out of style.

In the 1940s and ‘50s, basketweave and checkerboard patterns were popular. In the 1970s, it was all about chevron. These days, mixed-width parquets are all the rage. 

All of that to say: parquet flooring is never outdated. Don’t believe us? Hop on any real estate listing site like Trulia or StreetEasy and compare the prices of properties with and without parquet floors. 

It doesn’t matter what style you go with—beautiful parquet flooring will almost always add resale value to your home.

Installing Parquet Flooring vs. Buying Premade Parquet Tiles

As we mentioned, almost any type of flooring plank can be installed in a geometric pattern to create parquet flooring.

On the other hand, you can also find a large variety of premade wood (or fake wood) tiles that already come in parquet patterns. Here’s what you need to consider.

You Can Install Parquetry With Any Material

One of the big benefits of installing your floors in a parquet pattern: you can use whatever material you want. It just depends on the installer!

Want solid ash flooring in herringbone parquet? You can install it! Trying to decide between bamboo flooring vs. laminate? You can install either of them in a chevron pattern. It makes no difference!

But Installing Parquetry in a Pattern is Difficult and Expensive

Of course, your wood flooring costs are going to be much higher when you have to hire an expert craftsman to install them. And when you install parquet, you need an expert installer—otherwise, you won’t get the pattern right.

Translation: you’re going to need a local flooring expert to install parquet—the 3rd-party installers Home Depot and Lowe’s subcontract out to won’t cut it on this one.

Premade Wood Parquet Flooring Tiles Are (Usually) Made from Engineered Wood

Many of the wood parquet flooring tiles you can buy are made from engineered wood, which is both a good and bad thing. 

On one hand, the best engineered wood flooring is durable and beautiful. On the other hand, there are some engineered wood disadvantages—namely, only certain products can be refinished (we’ll dive into that more below). 

Premade Parquet Tiles are Easier to Install

Because they don’t have to be installed by an expert, premade parquet flooring tiles are cheaper and easier to install. 

You can even install some of these products as floating floors (read here if you’re wondering what a floating floor is). There are some minor disadvantages of floating floors, but overall, they’re much easier to install.

But Premade Parquet Tiles Can Be Much More Expensive

Unfortunately, premade parquet flooring tiles are often very pricey—and not just for hyper-exotic types of wood flooring. So while the price of installation may be cheaper, the price for materials will probably be higher.

Shortening the endless list of parquet flooring patterns down to something small enough to fit here is difficult, to say the least. You can find a wider list in this article about wood floor patterns, but here are some of the most popular options:

Herringbone Parquet

In this pattern, planks are laid down perpendicular to one another in a W-like, 90° pattern. This style is the most popular and the most traditional—as we mentioned, it dates from Roman times where it was used in masonry and called opus spicatum.

Vinyl plank flooring installed in herringbone parquet
Vinyl plank installed in a herringbone parquet pattern

Herringbone is also one of the easiest parquet flooring patterns for DIY installers, as there’s less cutting involved. 

Chevron Parquet

Chevron pattern bedroom
Laminate flooring in a chevron pattern

Chevron floors are similar to herringbone floors, but the ends of each plank are cut at a 45° angle. The diagonal effect is therefore more pronounced. 

Basketweave Parquet

Basketweave floors present the illusion of (you guessed it!) the woven fibers of a rattan basket. Square planks are intermixed with rectangular planks to create the effect that interior planks are running the full length of a room.

Brick Parquet

Brick pattern floors simply line up wooden planks (usually in groups of two or more) in square rows. The individual planks of each “brick” are perpendicular to the planks of subsequent “bricks.” If you’ve ever seen the interior of a mid-century New York City apartment, you’ve probably seen brick parquet.

Brick parquet flooring
Installing solid wood in a brick parquet pattern

To add even more flavor to parquet floor designs, some offerings will intermix different wood colors to accentuate a given pattern.

What Type of Hardwood is Best for Parquet Flooring?

Virtually any hardwood species that’s good for normal flooring is good for parquet flooring. However, there are a few caveats to this. 

Softwoods Like Pine Aren’t Typically Used in Parquet Floors

If you’ve looked into any pine flooring pros and cons, you’ll know that it’s very soft. And since softwoods are less likely to be used in engineered wood, you won’t see them as often in wood parquet tiles (which, as we mentioned above, are almost always engineered). The same goes for other softwood products like Douglas fir flooring.

Even, Uniform Wood Grains Are Generally Better for Parquet Flooring

Wild wood grains and hues can disrupt the appearance of parquet flooring. As a result, it’s rare to see woods like hickory used in this way. The disadvantages of hickory flooring mostly come down to its sporadic grain and color patterns, which can ruin the effect of a careful parquet design. 

Color is Another Thing to Consider

One last point regarding the design of parquet flooring: there’s no reason you can’t mix colors or hues. You can have floors as dark as ebony flooring or as golden as teak flooring, or both. And once you read about teak flooring pros and cons, you’ll probably want to.

Parquet Flooring Made of Faux Wood Is Also Super Common

While wood is the traditional material for parquet, fake wood flooring may be even more popular these days.

The most popular fake wood for parquet flooring includes:

  • Vinyl plank (aka LVT) flooring
  • Laminate flooring
  • Tile flooring

Each of these faux wood flooring options has its own set of pros and cons, so it may be best to do a little more research to decide which is best for you. 

And remember: you can install any of these in a parquet pattern, but only some of them come in prefabricated parquet tiles.

There’s a case to be made that the best types of vinyl flooring are also the best types of fake wood parquet flooring. Why? The cost to install vinyl plank flooring is relatively cheap compared to hardwood, yet it can mimic virtually any type of flooring. 

Vinyl plank is also waterproof (real wood and many types of laminate are not) and quite durable. It’s also easier to find parquet patterns in vinyl plank (we’ll discuss that more further down). Plus, you may be able to buy normal vinyl planks and install them in a parquet pattern.

vinyl parquet kitchen floor via Armstrong
A kitchen floor made of prefabricated vinyl parquet tiles. Courtesy of Armstrong.

However, there are disadvantages for vinyl plank flooring too, namely in that it’s not the most environmentally-friendly flooring out there.

Of course, you shouldn’t discount other fake wood floors like laminate or tile. If you really want to cover all your wood substitute bases, consider checking out these three comparison guides: 

Is Parquet Flooring Expensive? It Depends.

This is where things start to get tricky. Parquet floors can warrant a premium price, or you may not notice a price difference at all. The main factors in determining the price of your parquet flooring are:

  • Whether you’re installing flooring in a parquet pattern or buying prefabricated parquet tiles.
  • The type of material you’re using.
  • The type of installation you’re using (glue-down vs. loose-lay, for example).

Parquet Floor Prices by Material

Let’s break down the price of parquet flooring by the material you choose to work with. After all, the material you choose will often decide your installation method.

Prefabricated Solid Hardwood Parquet Tiles Are *Pricey*

First, let’s look at solid hardwood flooring.

With a design process that’s incredibly complex, solid hardwood prefabricated parquet tiles are… pricey, to say the least. 

These floors tend to cost between $15–20/sq. ft., but can cost as much as $50/sq. ft. 

If you’re installing 2,000/sq. ft. of new flooring in your new home, you can expect to pay as much as $100,000 just for the flooring. If you’re dead-set on buying hardwood floors in this style, you’ll be buying the most expensive option out there.

But Solid Hardwood Installed in a Parquet Pattern is Much More Affordable

If you’re set on solid hardwood, you can buy regular old hardwood planks from about $3/sq. ft. and up. 

The problem here is that you (or your labor) will have to cut the planks yourself before installation, which could add additional costs. Not to mention that installing planks in any non-traditional pattern is going to take longer, cost more, and require the skills of a very talented professional.

So, if you’re trying to reduce the cost to replace carpet with hardwood parquet, you might want to consider other options.

Engineered Wood Installed in a Parquet Pattern is the Most Economical Wood Option

Engineered wood may be the most affordable route for installing wood parquet floors. For one, the cost to install engineered hardwood floors can be a little cheaper than the cost for solid hardwood. 

Additionally, some of the most durable wood flooring options are made of engineered hardwood—meaning you’re getting more bang for your buck. Plus, almost all the best hardwood floor brands sell engineered products, so you’ll have no shortage of options.

So if you’re prepared to pay for an expert installer, engineered hardwood may be the way to go. 

You Can Affordably Install Parquet with Vinyl Plank as Well

Even if you’re looking for specialty products like low-VOC vinyl flooring, you’re still going to be paying less than you would for real wood. And that means you can install parquet patterns with vinyl plank more cheaply than you can with wood. 

High-end vinyl plank costs around the same as engineered wood, but the cost to install vinyl plank is cheaper. Assuming you’re not taking the DIY route (which is super easy with vinyl), installation costs around $1.50–$6/sq. ft. The cost to install hardwood or engineered wood is usually around $3–$6/sq. ft. (for traditional installation styles).

Laminate is Another Great, Inexpensive Option

Pricewise, laminate is comparable with vinyl plank. And like vinyl plank, you can use it to install parquet patterns. Vinyl plank and laminate are both composite floorings, though the latter is a marginally more eco-friendly flooring option.  

Tile Parquet May Be a Bit More Expensive

Tile is another option that can be used for parquet flooring, though it may be a bit more expensive. There are many types of tile that can mimic the appearance and feel of wood, and you can install it in whatever parquet pattern you choose.

Unfortunately, unless you’re using a product like snap-together tile flooring, you may end up paying a lot for tile parquet. That’s because tile isn’t easy to install (even in normal patterns), and a well-documented tile installer shortage is currently plaguing the flooring industry.

Bamboo Parquet Is Also a Reasonably Affordable Option

Bamboo flooring may also be worth considering if you want parquet flooring that not only looks good, but is also quite eco-friendly. 

One of the more sustainable wood flooring options around (though it’s technically part of the grass family), bamboo grows quickly and is not overly resource-intensive to harvest. 

The best bamboo flooring sells for around $6/sq. ft., but there may be cheaper options. And of course, you can install it in whatever pattern you desire.

Cork Is Another Good Choice

Cork isn’t typically used to create parquet floors, but it’s a great option. The pros and cons of cork flooring show that it’s an excellent material, and the best cork flooring products can go toe-to-toe with hardwood in terms of looks and performance. 

That said, the disadvantages of cork flooring generally revolve around its water resistance, or the lack thereof. Cork absorbs water and is more prone to warping than traditional hardwood. 

Cork is, on average, a bit pricier than other types of wood flooring—it sells for around $5–$7/sq. ft. on average.

Bonus point: we recommend avoiding the cork flooring Lowes and Home Depot sells. Trust us on this one.

The Pros of Parquet Flooring

Parquet Flooring Has a Unique Appearance

Undoubtedly, the biggest draw for parquet flooring is its appearance. We’re not saying traditional, vertical or horizontal wood planks are necessarily boring—but they are common. If you love separating yourself from the crowd, parquet floors may be just the style you need!

You Have Tons of Options

As you’ve seen, there are endless options when buying parquet flooring. Do you want to install it in a pattern, or buy prefabricated tiles? Do you want wood, faux-wood, tile, or something entirely different? Would you prefer herringbone, chevron, basketweave, or something else? There’s no end to your parquet options.

Premade Parquet Tiles Are DIY-Friendly

Premade parquet tiles are some of the easiest flooring to install. Obviously, the exact material you’re using will determine just how difficult it is to put in. So if you find yourself wondering “what is subflooring” or “how do I remove my old floors”, you may want to do some research before you pursue the DIY path.

Cons of Parquet Flooring

Refinishing Wood Parquet Flooring Can Be Very Hard

Of all the types of wood flooring out there, wood parquet flooring can be the hardest to refinish because of plank orientation. 

Now, it’s important to remember that this only applies to solid and engineered wood floors, but the idea here is that you may not be able to refinish each piece the same way (especially if you’re intermixing different wood flooring types). This makes the task extremely labor- and time-intensive compared to refinishing traditional hardwood.

If your parquet floors are made of engineered wood, the stakes are that much higher because engineered wood can only be refinished so many times before it needs to be replaced.

Solid Wood Parquet Flooring Can Be Very Expensive (and Hard to Find)

There’s almost no way around it, if you want solid hardwood parquet floors, it’s going to be expensive. As we mentioned before, buying parquet flooring can easily rise into the tens, or even hundreds of thousands.

Solution: buy engineered prefabricated parquet tiles, or just install solid wood in a parquet pattern.

The Cost to Install Parquet Flooring Patterns Is also Very Expensive

Of course, installing parquet flooring patterns is time-consuming and expensive. And as we said before, it has to be done by a highly-skilled professional.

Going the DIY route may shave a good amount off your cost, but the complexity of installing it may discourage the average DIYer. It may also put those highly-intricate patterns out of reach.

Wood Parquet Flooring Does Not Do Well in Humid Environments

Virtually all real wood flooring is susceptible to humidity on some level. With parquet flooring, the risks are doubled because planks expand against one another, rather than with each other. 

This can make your floors more vulnerable to water and humidity, so you definitely don’t want to use it for mudroom flooring or anywhere that might get wet—unless, of course, your parquet floors are made of vinyl plank or tile. 

In fact, the only (easy) way to get water-resistant wood flooring in a parquet style is to go the fake wood route.

As a Pricier Investment, It May Not be Great for Super-Active Homes

If you’re looking into parquet flooring as an investment, you may want to look elsewhere if you have a super-active home. Installing parquet is costly, which means that kids and pets might be taking a chunk out of your resale value if they damage it. 

Can you find scratch-resistant flooring? Sure. But even the best wood flooring for dogs is still just that—wood flooring. And wood isn’t invincible!

Top Brands for Parquet Flooring

Unsurprisingly, many of the top parquet flooring brands are also the top brands for other types of flooring. 

Some smaller brands like Czar Floors and Oshkosh Designs specialize in prefabricated wood parquet tiles. But most buyers who install parquet floors simply buy their materials from the usual list of hardwood floor manufacturers. Fun fact: even the top engineered wood flooring brands sell materials that can be installed in parquet patterns.

And again, you can install parquet flooring with products from almost all the best vinyl plank flooring brands too. It’s all up to you!

Parquet Flooring FAQs

We get a lot of queries about parquet flooring from a lot of confused floor buyers. And we understand—it’s a confusing subject!

Here, we’ve answered a few of the most common questions about parquet flooring. Hopefully, it’ll clear up any remaining issues you have!

Is Parquet Flooring Real Wood?

This is a question we see all the time, so we’re going to address it here. But honestly… it doesn’t really make any sense.

As we mentioned before, parquet flooring can be made of real wood. But it can also be made of just about anything else. 

Parquet vs. Hardwood: Which is Better?

Once again, this question doesn’t make sense. It’s not like comparing laminate vs. hardwood floors, because those two are literally different types of flooring. Parquet is often made of hardwood. It’s not an either/or!

Does Parquet Flooring Come in Different Patterns?

Yes, absolutely! Parquet flooring is just a catch-all term that means patterns. In fact, the word “parquetry” literally means “geometrically-patterned surfaces”.

Conclusion

And that’s that! Did we make good on our promise to teach you everything you need to know about parquet flooring? We certainly hope we did.

If you’re ready to continue your floor-buying process, find a top-rated flooring store in your area to get some expert assistance. Or, check out some of the articles below for more flooring info.

Good luck and happy flooring!

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About The Author

Christian Southards

Take any subject and there’s a good chance Christian has written about it. From marketing and international relations to wildlife (hobby!) and sports, Christian writes, edits, or helps publish just about everything that’s resigned to written form. His love for home design and remodeling began with his first job working for his uncle’s property management business.

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