Ways to reuse old flooring
Check Angie's List to see how other old materials can be used. (Photo courtesy of George Roberts)
Old flooring occassionally needs to be replaced, and it often seems to be a waste to send so much material to the landfill. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reuse old flooring, not only to reduce environmental impact, but to potentially save a bit of money. Different types of flooring have different properties and material compositions, however, it is important to think of ideas and applications that are appropriate for each type.
Here are some materials to consider:
1. Wood Flooring
Wood flooring is one of the most classic types, and it feels shameful to throw it out with all of it's warmth and iconic nature. One of the first uses to consider with old wood flooring would be to refurbish it into a brand new floor. Although keeping the old wood relatively intact, during the removal process, can be labor intensive, it is possible. Once the wood is removed, any lingering gunk and nails should be cleaned. The wood can then simply be planed, squared and sanded to make a new hardwood floor. This wood can be processed at any level of detail to make it look brand new or retain the time-worn warmth of the old floor.
Even if some of the original floor is damaged and not salvageable, this process can renew enough of the remaining wood to floor a smaller room, or make a very nice table or bookshelf. In addition to all these options, interest in reusing hardwood flooring has created a market for it, so old hardwood may be able to be sold or given to someone else for reuse.
Carpeting is one of the types of flooring that is replaced at the most frequent intervals. Unfortunately, it is often replaced because it is too worn or soiled by dirt and spills. Therefore, consider using old carpet flooring in areas that are meant to be dirty. Carpet can be easily cut into smaller segments that can be used for outside doormats or in the mudroom. Carpets are also good insulators, and people wrap old carpets around compost bins or place them on the floor of greenhouses during winter to retain warmth.
Areas of carpet that are clean enough to be reused indoors could even be cut into rugs and runners. Carpet is also good at noise insulation and can be placed under appliances like washing machines and clothes dryers to muffle noises. Pets also love reused carpeting, which can be cut into mats and beds for dogs, or wrapped around cylinders for cats to scratch.
3. Vinyl Floor and Linoleum Flooring
Although vinyl floor is a petroleum product and linoleum is made from natural linseed oil, they are both similar flooring products in both look and finish. One of the best qualities about this type of flooring is that it can be easily cleaned, even when soiled by liquids. The best parts can be reused as a lining for shelves, cupboards and bathroom areas. They could even be cut to make play mats for children or to sit under pet food bowls.
No matter the type of flooring needing to be replaced, always consider the environment. Flooring is not damaged equally, so the best parts can be saved as new. Many flooring materials can also be reused by others or recycled into new products.