Reclaimed parquet – getting past the builders

Reclaimed parquet and the problem of getting it past the builders.

Reclaimed Oak parquet in the kitchen

Reclaimed parquet in the kitchen

A bit of background on reclaimed parquet

I thought it was time to turn our attention towards what reclaimed parquet actually is. And why it is important to persevere if you want to have a reclaimed floor in your house. And how not to let your builder make you feel like you are mad for wanting to install it.

The parquet that we reclaim comes from public buildings constructed from 1900s to 1970s. The reclaimed materials are of a good quality and usually interesting wood types. Some of the wood types are extremely rare. As the tree has already been cut down, it is almost a criminal act to waste the wood. So we applaud customers who want reclaimed parquet, not only for budgetary reasons but for principled reasons too.

The common problem

The problem we find however is that many customers who instinctively want to reclaimed are often discouraged by their general builder. We hear it over and over:

The customer says: “I would like a reclaimed parquet floor, I have always wanted one” and the builder says, “Oh it will never work, reclaimed materials are damp, they will warp, you will need to order 25% extra because there will be so much that you can’t use, I have stripped out better stuff and put it in a skip” etc. etc. etc!

But if the customer insists, the builder will often agree to fit it after having rubbished it!

Don’t panic

Then we get phone calls whereby, on arrival of the pallet, the builder refuses to do what he promised. This despite having seen the sample.

Because: ” It is has bitumen on it which needs to come off and the quote didn’t include for cleaning.” Or “It is all different block, and he has put better stuff in a skip” etc.!

None of which by the way is true. You can lay parquet with bitumen on, you just need compatible glue. We make it clear that for a neat fit, the tongues do need cleaning. Our parquet is from one source. This ensures an entire floor for the customer. And yes, the parquet would definitely have gone into numerous skips if we had not reclaimed it – but that does not make it a bad material!

Carry on regardless

Some of you out there will recognise this scenario. I certainly do. I have to calm down customers from time to time who are totally wound up by their mischievous builders. The bare truth is builders are not floor fitters just like joiners aren’t cabinet makers. Parquet floor-fitting can be done by your general builder, indeed by a competent DIY person but you need to have the open-mindedness, courage, patience, experience and skill sets to do it.

Over the years we have learned to make our customers aware of this type of tyranny. The builders who want to work with new materials only will never get the concept of reclaimed parquet. They can become intimidating dictators. We know there are great builders out there who are not like that. They work collaboratively and will go the extra mile to give the customer what they want. These are the ones to treasure and nurture. If you have one like that, you too can have a reclaimed parquet floor.

We can help

If you don’t have a co-operative builder, there is a moral to the story.  You should get a floor-fitter who has experience with reclaimed materials to give you what you really always wanted! That is where we can help – why not try our Premier Service?

Rhodesian Mahogany

Rhodesian Mahogany, with a Panga Panga border