Parquet flooring is everywhere right now so there’s no real need to make the case for it. But I do want to make the case for reclaimed parquet, and actually reclaimed wood flooring in general. This January for my sustainable sourcing series, I’ve been covering environmentally friendly flooring options. So to round out the topic before I move on, I’m sharing some ideas on using reclaimed wood flooring - one of my absolute favourite sustainable materials.
Why bother with reclaimed?
Reclaimed wood flooring has some real environmental bonuses over conventional wood flooring. Not only does it divert materials from the waste stream, like with all re-used things, there’s virtually no carbon used in its production (since it was used the first time around). The quality of the wood is typically excellent as well, since it was likely cut from virgin forests (which is reason alone why we really shouldn’t let it go to waste!). Plus, reclaimed flooring has undeniable charm, often with irreplacable patina and bags of character.
Check out how Emma (whose gorgeous house renovation is documented over on Instagram) used reclaimed parquet flooring in her hallway. During the reno, they uncovered original parquet in the lounge and hallway, but half of the hallway was damaged and/or missing. It took a bit of searching, Emma was able to locate a good match at the Cardiff reclamation yard and I hope you’ll agree with me, it looks absolutely stunning. #hallwaygoals
We used (far less exciting) reclaimed floor boards when we replaced the disintegrating MDF flooring in our landing last year, as shown in my post below. We learned about this option from the floor sanding company, who offered to help us re-build this section of the landing. The boards were from a house of a similar age, and while they looked awful when they went in, they came up a treat when sanded and polished up.
If you’re using raw salvaged flooring that hasn’t been re-engineered, it is crucial to get an experienced fitter who isn’t afraid of maths. It can be difficult to match to existing flooring as older floors may be in imperial measurements and newer in metric (or vice versa).
Reclaimed flooring can be an expensive option with prices even reaching £300/m2. This may be the biggest deal breaker for many, and I respect that. But as you will often hear me saying, the true environmental cost of new materials is hardly ever factored into the price. This means prices for those options are artificially cheap, and skew our perceptions of what things should cost. (For you wonkish ones, it’s a simple matter of externalities!). Reclaimed flooring is such an incredible statement piece though and I would argue is worth the investment.
You may need to clean off previous fasteners or glues including bitumen, which is no mean feat. Though most companies will provide clean, ready to install options, flooring that needs more prep may be more cheaper and accessible.
Look out for woodworm and other pests in salvaged boards!
Parquet is particularly popular (and beaut!) but I hear the word on the street is large format planks will be soon to follow. ‘Soon’ in interiors means a few years, as Kate from Mad About the House says. If you’re considering a new (but old/reclaimed!) floor, consider getting ahead of the zeitgeist and going with a large plank format if you fancy it.
Where to source?
There are quite a few options here in the UK for sourcing reclaimed flooring, ranging from companies which provide raw salvaged flooring (i.e. without any prep), to reclaimed flooring which has been re-engineered (sawn and sanded) to modern standards. Here are some good options to check out, even if just to drool over their gorgeous offerings:
Eco Flooring UK specialise in reclaimed parquet and are based in Yorkshire though do installations throughout the UK.
English Salvage usually have a decent stock of parquets at a range of prices. You need to source a fitter yourself.
Havwoods offer beautifully re-engineered parquet wood flooring on a commercial scale.
Parquet-Parquet has a range of dreamy parquets from all over the world (and follow-worth instagram to match. They also help organise a specialist fitter to quote for your reclaimed parquet floor.
The New and Reclaimed Flooring Co. has reclaimed re-engineered options, including parquet to wider planks
Retrouvius actually supply all manner of unique reclaimed materials. At the time of writing, they had this amazing oak panelled flooring froman office building in Cavendish Square, though their stock moves fast. You also need to source a fitter.
There are also lots and lots of local reclamation yards in the UK, like the one where Emma (above) sourced hers. I’ll be covering these in the coming months as they are a treasure trove of sustainable materials, including flooring.
Reclaimed wood is such a beautiful look, no matter which colour or finish. There really are no two alike, and the built in history makes this a fantastic oppotunity to add character in a space. I can hardly think of a material which is so simultaneously chic and environmentally friendly, making reclaimed wood floors a firm favourite. Have you had any adventures in sourcing and installing reclaimed wood flooring, parquet or is this option just too expensive? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this option.