Reclaimed Parquet Flooring – Things you need to know
June 7, 2010
SORRY WE NO LONGER SELL RECLAIMED FLOORING OR ADHESIVE.
We are Priors Period Ironmongery and now sell Door Furniture, Window Furniture and Bathroom Accessories for traditional homes. To buy on-line click here.
RECLAIMED PARQUET FLOORING -THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Reclaimed parquet flooring makes magnificent floors, but there are some things you need to know before purchasing:
Know where Reclaimed Parquet has come from:
We sell reclaimed parquet flooring which has been lifted typically from old schools, churches and public buildings. We do not purchase or sell any reclaimed parquet which has come from factories as this may be contaminated with oil or chemicals.
When parquet flooring has been down for many years blocks can suffer from differential wear (softwood more than hardwood). eg in a church the blocks in the aisles may have had high footfall and the block under the pews, hardly any. When this is reclaimed and lifted block thickness may vary sometimes by several mm. This does not present a huge problem, blocks can be laid and the differential wear taken out in the sanding.
All old reclaimed parquet flooring when lifted will have bitumen on the underside as it was stuck down in hot tar – it is dirty and smelly! These days you do not need to clean this off (it would be an awful and virtually impossible task anyway!). You must ensure any high spots or lumps are cleaned off and then stuck down using a modern bitumen compatible adhesive. We recommend and sell Lecol 5500. We also try to buy reclaimed parquet which is fairly smooth on the underside of the block.
Cleaning Blocks Prior to Laying
The main cleaning required is to the ends and the sides of the block. Bits of dirt and polish work into the gaps over the years and stick to the edges.To get a good tight fit these need to be cleaned.
We get many calls with people wanting specific sizes that they require to patch a small area of their floor. There were not really any standard sizes for parquet blocks. Thickness of hardwood blocks is generally 3/4″ with softwood blocks commonly up to 1 1/2″ thick. Width can be anywhere from 2 1/4 to 3 1/2″, most commonly 2 3/4 and 2 7/8″ and length most commonly 9″ or 12″ but we have seen all sorts. This of course makes matching and patching tricky and you may have to be prepared to buy oversized blocks and machine them to size.
When purchasing reclaimed parquet flooring you need to make sure blocks are all the same size. Most floors were laid herringbone style with a border tile around the edge, which can sometimes be a different size block to those in the main part of the floor. As you can imagine this is a nightmare when lifting floors when blocks can easily get mixed up.
In hardwood we most commonly get oak, teak, mahogany, beech and maple. We do not deal in beech or maple as they are not popular. In softwood we get pine and pitch pine.
We have sold lots of reclaimed parquet over the years and there is no doubt the floors look fantastic when returned to their former glory. The character and colouring and the markings of its past life cannot be created using blocks machined from new timber. For some suggested floor finishes go to our blog article Finishing wooden floors.
Please view the images below showing reclaimed parquet flooring; the bitumen on the undersides of blocks and a finished oak parquet floor.