We ask the experts for practical advice on using salvaged materials in your property.
LASSCO has dealt in reclamation and salvage since 1979 and has yards and shops in London and Oxfordshire. A leading supplier of reclaimed flooring salvaged from public buildings and commercial premises, LASSCO has an incredible stock of timbers, including parquet – a wonderful way to add character to your home. We spoke to Tom Hart, sales manager at LASSCO Three Pigeons, for advice on installing reclaimed parquet flooring.
What should I consider?
You need to get an idea of the quantity and type of timber you require. Generally, our customers are looking to match the period of the house, whether that’s Victorian, Edwardian or early 20th century. Each of those periods would correspond to a particular type of timber.
Which wood type should I choose?
Oak parquet, because it’s a native timber, would be more appropriate in older buildings, but not as a hard-and-fast rule. In halls or venues that need a hard-wearing floor, you’ll get teaks and maples, but in a domestic setting we tend to see oak and beech being used.
There’s bitumen on most reclaimed parquet flooring – what should I do about it?
You’ve got two options. You can either scrape it by hand with a chisel, which is laborious, but gives you a cleaner block; or, if the bitumen’s not too thick (which it doesn’t tend to be because the people who used it were sparing with materials), you can use a self-levelling adhesive.
Can you lay the parquet straight on to the floor?
You’d be best advised to get a sub-floor, a 15mm-plywood sub-floor or similar.
Do I need a specialist to install it?
It depends on the customer. Anybody can fit it, but it requires sympathy and perseverance. Generally, customers that fit it themselves are on a budget and have a DIY spirit. They’re not pushed for time or frustrated if they make mistakes. If you have any inclination towards convenience, you’re going to want to get someone to fit it who is familiar with reclaimed floors, because it’s a restoration job as well as a fitting job.
How do I look after it afterwards?
Your floor fitter will provide an aftercare guide. You’ll need to decide what finish you want. If it’s going to be in a high-traffic area with lots of people walking on it, you’re going to want a more robust finish, up to a varnish perhaps. But if it’s a domestic setting, you could go with a wax or wax oil.
Anything else to keep in mind?
You need to order 10 per cent extra for wastage, and the blocks are sold by the square metre, not as individual bricks. When we come to pricing the blocks, at LASSCO we consider the condition, the age and the timber. We also consider the provenance. If it’s from a building of interest that will add to the value because it costs more for us to reclaim. For instance, we reclaimed flooring from Bush House in London, the former home of the BBC World Service.
Discover more ways to bring reclaimed and salvaged finds into your home with Reclaim