Reclaimed Parquet Floor

So I haven't been brilliant about keeping up to date with the rennovations we've been doing on our house. I was hoping to wait until we'd finished and then do before and after pictures, but Matt thinks it will be more fun if we keep it going and show you progress. He's probably right, and more importantly, with home improvements you're never really finished are you? So I could be waiting forever!

So the first thing I want to show you is our floor. When we viewed the house it looked like this

Not my favourite carpet/wall combo, and sadly the previous owners destroyed the carpet when they left. Actually, it wasn't that sad, because I hated the colour and it was a good excuse to replace it!

The carpet went right through the hallway, living room and dining room, so it would be a large area to replace.

But we were in luck - My parents were having their beautiful old (very expensive teak) parquet floor replaced and said that we could have it! What a blessing.

So we pulled up the carpets and started to remove the broken tiles that we found underneath.

They hadn't been stuck down well and came up very easily. The skirting boards then had to be removed as the wood will swell in the different weather conditions we have in this country. That means we have to leave a gap around the edges of the room for the wood to swell into - or risk it all buckling up under the pressure.

By removing the skirting board and lifting it slightly higher (level with the top of the flooring) we can hide the gap so that the wood appears to reach the edge of the room, but it actually has plenty of hidden breathing space.

We were warned that the old bitumen on the wood blocks would react with most modern adhesives available on the market today, but we found a good one by Laybond which works fine with reclaimed blocks.

We cleaned the blocks up as best we could with chisels, screwdrivers, sand paper etc... and cleaned every speck of dust from the floor. Then it was time to lay out a pattern.

We took a gamble and deicded that there were probably enough blocks without measuring and just started sticking down and working from one corner of the room to the other. I don't recommend this method, but we got lucky and it worked for us.

And with a lot of help from friends we finally managed to get everything stuck down. It's not as easy as it sounds by the way. The adhesive isn't sticky at all, so whne you push a block up next to the one before it, it often moves it and then pushes a whole row out of place. The adhesive goes solid in two days, so you need to make sure you have plenty of exit space etc... without walking on your carefully place blocks!

Next job, removing the red stain my parents put on it. This required the hiring of a large floor sander. We got ours from HSS on a special deal that included the edging sander. Good job too. The floor sander is a nightmare. Because the blocks are reclaimed and all slightly different heights, they rip the belt off the sander really easily and we were getting through loads of them. The solution was for Matt to do the entire floor using the edging sander! Back breaking work, but he is doing it without complaint and I'm incredibly grateful (there is no way I'd mange it!).

So here is what it looks like with the red stain removed.

By the way, this produces an INSANE amount of dust. Make sure you rent a dust mask and don't bother painting any walls until you are done! We have had to take the curtains down or they would be orange by now.

So that's where we are with the flooring so far. Still needs to have the gaps filled and be sanded down a few more times and then varnished, but we're hoping it will look great.

We're also planning to do a different type of parquet on the floor upstairs as we also inherited a roomful of this:

Which we are planning to clean up and have in the school room and hallway. Wish us luck!

Please feel free to ask us any questions if you fancy having a go at a similar project. It's been really hardwork, but not difficult. Considering professionally laying it would have cost around £145 per sq metre (and that's even with you providing your own wood!) it's been totally worth it. It's been a steep learning curve for us, but we'd love to help anyone else avoid some of the pitfalls that have set us back if we can.


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