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Reclaimed Parquet Flooring – Things you need to know

June 7, 2010

Oak Parquet Close up
written by Vicki Bale

Oak Reclaimed Parquet


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 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.

Differential Wear

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.

Block Size

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.

Wood Types

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. 

We stopped selling reclaimed parquet in May of 2012. Priors now sell door furniture, window furniture and bathroom accessories.  For reclaimed parquet, try visiting SALVO for a dealer listing.

Please view the images below showing reclaimed parquet flooring; the bitumen on the undersides of blocks and a finished oak parquet floor.

Leave a comment


    A. Wentworth says:

    Thank you for explaining so much, even though you no longer sell re-claimed and have nothing to gain by giving the information. It’s a generous thing to do to advise people. Appreciated.

    Meryl foss says:

    Could you please tell me if I can lay laminate flooring on top of parquet flooring. Thanks Meryl

    Vicki Bale says:

    I am sorry but we are not qualified to offer advice on this. A floor put on top of a parquet floor, will only be as good and secure as what is underneath!

    Michael says:

    Thank you for the information, and for leaving it for interested readers to see.
    If I can ad my little bit of useful (I hope) info for anyone else reading the article. The bitumen can be easily removed using a Harris tungsten blade wood scraper. It comes off in seconds, plus the small blade easily cleaned the edges as well. Of course, it still is a tedious job due to the vast number of pieces, but if you are not in a hurry it’s well worth doing.

    Justin says:

    Just read this article as part of research into parquet flooring. Really useful and well written. Thanks for keeping it available even though you don’t sell parquet anymore.

    PAUL says:

    Hi I know you’re not in business any longer but would really appreciate your advice. I have laid a reclaimed Parquet flooring but the customer doesn’t want to sand back, could you please recommend a jointing compound as one I tested has home a hideous pink colour??? Many thanks Paul

    Vicki Bale says:

    No sorry I can’t help.

    neck pain says:

    “I really like and appreciate your article.Much thanks again. Want more.”

    kevin says:

    Local flooring guys won’t touch this work. What adhesive would you recommend for salvaged tiles (with bitumen on underside?). Seem Lecol 5500 is recommended but appears there is not a dealer in the US.

    Any insight appreciated.

    Vicki Bale says:

    We are no longer in this business but we did recommend Lecol 5500.

    Russell says:

    Hi I have 30sq meters of teak parquet 20mm florring which is 60 years old
    Do you buy 2nd hand parquet flooring

    I live in Bromley



    Vicki Bale says:

    No thank you. We no longer sell or buy reclaimed parquet.

    Paul banks says:

    Can I take up and old parquet floor laid on an ash bed and relay a new or reclaimed on back onto the ash using the lecol 5500 many thanks Paul

    Vicki Bale says:

    This is my best answer but I am not a floor fitter and have no qualifications.
    Any parquet needs a solid flat base and the floor will only perform over the years if this is the case. I am not sure what you mean by an ash bed? Normally over any old floorboards it is best to lay some sort of perfectly flat base e.g. ply.
    Hope this helps.

    Paul banks says:

    Vicky years ago parquet and quarry tiles were laid on nothing more than dirt , i need to speak to an expert my floor has been down a 114 years laid on dirt or ash it’s still rock solid but an area is of different blocks I want it all to match , my question is still the same can I take up the old floor and relay using level 5500 on the exsisiting sub ash floor

    Vicki Bale says:

    Thanks for the comment. I am afraid we have been out of this market for some years and are not able to answer you question. You need to get an expert in to take a look.

    wooden art says:

    I like the valuable info you supply on your articles. I will bookmark your blog and test
    again here frequently. I’m sure I will be told many new
    things here! Good luck for the following!

    Vicki Bale says:

    Thank you for your kind comment.

    C Paxton says:

    Do you know if the Lecol 5500 would stick reclaimed parquet to old thermoplastic tiles?

    Many thanks

    Vicki Bale says:

    Lecol 5500 is an excellent adhesive. I am sorry but I am unable to give an answer to your question. You need to contact the makers of Lecol or one of their distributors for technical advice.

    c.a.briggs says:

    thank you for the information regarding reclaimed block flooring it was of great help even though you no longer supply it.

    Vicki Bale says:

    Thank you. Glad to have been of assistance.

    Stuart Findlay says:

    Do you sell herring bone tiles 3 x 9 x 0.75 inches. in Rhodesian pine, oak or teak.

    If you do what is it per sq meter. Also the minimum order quantity and carriage cost

    Many thanks

    Stuart Findlay

    Vicki Bale says:

    We no longer sell parquet, as per the comment on the top of the post. You can try SALVO website for reclamation dealer listings.

    Mike says:

    1. What is the easiest way of getting the old bitumen of re-claimed blocks (6m2)? I know a lot of comments say leave it on but in my case it is not only thick it is of differing thicknesses.

    2. How necessary are the tongue and grooves. My re-claimed muhuhu blocks are slightly larger than the existing blocks and need to be cut to size taking off the groove along two edges. Should I pay to have the groove machined in or just put them down flush?

    Vicki says:

    You should leave the bitumen on. Yes it is often differing thickness and we recommend you take it off when sanding, this is easier than getting bitumen off. I don’t really know on removing bitumen. Getting it sawn off I think is the only way!
    The T&G parts are not needed you can lay them flush.

    Ann Probert says:

    I am trying to souce a small quantity of what I think is called ‘finger’ parquet which is laid in blocks of 5 each at right angles to the next block of 5. I have found new wood but it is in metric so no good. The size I need is 4 and a half inches long x seven eighths of an inch wide by 3 eighths of an inch thick, in light oak. Can you help?

    Vicki says:

    Sorry we are unable to help with this. This finger parquet is terrible to handle and so most dealers avoid it.

    Jennifer says:


    We have just purchased a house and discovered that the dining room, hall and lounge all have parquet flooring. I do not know th etype of wood but wondered if this is something you would buy from us or can you recommend where we can sell it?



    Vicki says:

    Sorry but we would not be interested as we do not buy small quantities. You could try e-bay.

    Liz Duddy - Derby says:

    My husband and I purchased some rosewood reclaimed parquet flooring last year for our dining room as we decided that this was going to be more practical than carpet. We decided to do some research on the internet and spotted Priors Reclamation. They were extremely professional and answered all our queries with regards to this type of flooring, they even recommended someone to lay the floor who has done a superb job. My husband and I have purchased some lovely Sea Urchin door knobs as well from this company and they look absolutely stunning on our doors. They have an extensive selection to choose from. We have recommended this company to our friends and one friend has bought some internal pine doors and glass door knobs and they were happy too!