Anyone who ever saw an old fashion parquet floor, battered by time, has been left in awe of it. So when you see an offer of old reclaimed parquet blocks, many are prone to jump on the offer and have it installed in their own home.
But be aware of the following:
- Most reclaimed blocks come with a thick layer of bitumen at the bottom - the bitumen was frequently used as an adhesive before this material was banned for such practice. This layer has to be
removed before you install the blocks in your home, otherwise you only adhere the bitumen layer to the underfloor and when this old and smelly adhesive becomes brittle you are left with loose blocks.
Now, removing such a layer of bitumen is hard to do. Best - and only if your reclaimed blocks are thick enough, say over 15mm - is to cut off the bottom part of the block, removing a thin layer of wood and the whole of the bitumen in one clean sweep. But this requires a lot of time and a specialised tool - and mind your fingers, you don't want to cut those off!
- Once you were able to remove the bitumen completely of the blocks you can install them, in a pattern you like. Then you have to finish the floor, but since the blocks are reclaimed they already have a (often damaged) finish on them. Do you know if it is a stain, of if varnish or oil was used?
Because many are in awe of the battered appearance to the reclaimed blocks, sanding it down to the bare wood will remove this authentic look. You'll be left with a lot of work and hardly anything to show for your labour, at least not the old fashioned battered reclaimed look you bought them for.
There are however reputable suppliers who have new "reclaimed" parquet blocks for you: battered for the old fashioned look without the above problems. They might be a bit more in price than real reclaimed blocks, but if you add the time, trouble and sometimes even the cost of removing the bitumen the new blocks often come out at the same or even lower price.
Often these news blocks come half-prefinished, so you only have to finish them, after you installed them, with a maintenance polish such as Saicos Wax-Care polish or Basin Aunt Poly's polishing wax for an even more authentic look. Others come unfinished, and you have to be carefully installing them to prevent spillages and stains of the modern adhesive, and can be finished with for instance Saicos HardWaxOil.
Who knows, you might end up with a grand new reclaimed floor such as the one below: