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About Old Oak and Elm Flooring

April 15, 2010

Reclaimed Elm Floorboards
written by Vicki Bale

Antique elm flooring showing the superb grain


Timber was first used for flooring in upper rooms, sometimes the wood did 3 jobs acting as ceiling, floor and joists. The undersides of the floorboards would be limewashed to make a light ceiling for the room below.

Oak is the finest building timber, an incredible natural material and was used for flooring from the 16th century. Early floorboards were sawn in a pit by hand, by two men and as a result there was little regard for standardisation. Floors were of random widths and depths, with joists packed as required to make the floor surface flat.

Elm floorboards were also popular.  They develop a beautiful colour and sheen and have a superb hardness and grain, even unmatched by oak.

Finding reclaimed oak and reclaimed elm flooring is very difficult. If you are lucky enough to have original floors you may find that a misguided plumber has been at them and many have been vandalised with the introduction of central heating, often the gaps have been filled with pine boarding. We sell much of our reclaimed flooring for patching and making good period floors.

Antique oak floors survive better than elm, as the latter is particularly attractive to woodworm. If you have an old floor and the boards disintegrate to a powder when you lift them, you probably have a woodworm ravaged elm board.

Any antique oak or antique elm flooring may need some work before they can be re-laid. The patination built up over the centuries must be preserved, as it is this old original surface which gives the floor its individual character. Do not use floor sanders, but process and hand clean each board and disturb the surface as little as possible. Once the floor is ready for a finish, opt for a traditional wax polish, such as Briwax or Fiddes wax.

If you are lucky enough to have a superb antique oak or elm floors, then expose them and enjoy their beauty and preserve them for the next generation.

Please call us if you have any requirements for reclaimed flooring, reclaimed oak or reclaimed elm. We can let you know what we have in stock and discuss your requirements. Due to the difficulty in getting reclaimed oak we also offer new oak flooring.

We cleared all our old oak and elm flooring in 2012 and we now concentrate on door furniturewindow furniture and bathroom accessories. All traditional in style and best quality. Click here to go to our home page.

The picture below shows reclaimed oak carefully stored at our premises.

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    Fitting says:

    Thanks for sharing the good details about oak flooring now many house owners prefer to have a wood flooring because of easy cleaning and maintenance.