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Recycled Versus New Flooring

With the scarcity of native timber available there has been a continuing trend towards the use of recycled flooring in construction projects, especially Kauri, Rimu, Tawa and Matai.

Whilst these species of timber are available legally as new or "green sawn" the purchase price reflects the fact that this is not an infinite resource.

When considering timber flooring for your construction project there are several factors to consider.

Firstly if your renovating a villa or bungalow with existing timber flooring it is good practice to match the flooring being laid with the existing timber species and creating a seamless look. A seamless look from the existing floor to the flooring in the addition will add value when eventually selling your home.

In most cases Kauri was used up to approx 1920's. A transition period occurred from then on up to 1940 where Kauri was supplemented with Matai and the Rimu. Tawa was introduced from approximately 1950's onwards. These species are all available both as new and recycled. Our floorlayers can assist in determining the species.

Recycled timbers have become a good, environmentally friendly option, however consistency of supply has always and will continue to be an issue. We suggest to plan your flooring requirement well in advance and when the right timber comes along to either place a deposit or purchase outright. Don't be discouraged if you have to join a waiting list, hence the need to plan your flooring requirement.


There are several options in recycled flooring. Firstly lifted flooring is "as is". Boards carefully lifted and denailed. These boards are often 21-23mm thick and will display wearmarks, consistently placed nailholes and heelmarks. They are a cheaper option as there is often no further preparation required by the chaps salvaging them but require some effort from your builder to lay again. Check for good tongue and grooves and ensure your buying from the same houselot to avoid different sizing and t&g settings. These boards often come with some history in terms of their previous location, which can add a nostalgia factor.

The second option is remachined boards. These are floorboards that are machined from salvaged weatherboards, joists, studs and beams. Builders love them because most of the work has been done by the machining process, a clean surface, good, well set tongue and grooves and correct moisture control. Supply is a little easier to control but in some cases can still be patchy. Expect randomly placed nail holes.

An alternate source of NZ Native timbers are wind damage, development blocks and permitted logging. Wind damage are logs that have been toppled by storms. Timber from development blocks are logs that have been felled and left on site back in the 1970's to clear areas for pine production. Permitted logging occurs on private blocks of native forests where the owner is allocated a small percentage of logs from his forestry block. All three sources are carefully monitored by the Ministry of Primary Industries with hefty fines in place for non-compliance. This supply can be supplemented with Pacific Kauri and Rimu.

If your considering a new "from the foundation up home" or thinking about renovating your apartment your options increase. Firstly, in the case of a new home, consider working with a salvage company to clear the site and old home. The council protected stock of bungalows and villa's around our cities needs salvaged timber for their upkeep. Call us to recommend to you a good salvage company. Due to the range of locally grown and imported species set aside some time to choose the "look" your wanting to achieve. Heritage colours can be achieved using Oak and Beech, minimilist effects using Tasmanian Oak or NZ Mountain Ash. Our Pacific range of imported timbers range from the darker Sacau to a stunning light hue of Damanu. Also consider using an overlay board on top of your concrete slab. It will ad an instant warm feeling to finish of your urban pad.


Tags: recycled timber native wood wood flooring salvage

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