110 Years of FPL: Fancy Flooring of the ’50s

In celebration of 110 years of research at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), we are revisiting blog posts that detail some of our most interesting historic people, places, and projects. Enjoy!

In the 1950s, FPL researchers were challenged with how to use waste wood as flooring.

During the wood flooring manufacturing process, many of the cut pieces were too short to be used as conventional flooring, so researchers demonstrated ways of combining short pieces of wood into designs that could be installed in decorative ways, just like tiles.

Researchers also developed paper-plywood flooring and demonstrated how floors could be made from little-used species, suppressed growth trees, and even veneer.

FPL’s main building became a test site for the various types of flooring. For example, the flooring in the main lobby was made with papreg laminated to plywood. Papreg is paper saturated with resin and then pressed with heat.

Many of these attractive experiments still adorn office floors today.