Many flooring materials, if they can be reclaimed, are best re-used as flooring again. This is certainly true of wooden floorboards, stone and ceramic floor tiles. Some laminate flooring is often so full of chemicals that there are no safe uses for it once it’s failed as a flooring. But there are options for solid flooring and carpet.
Reusing Solid Flooring
Solid coverings such as vinyl and lino can’t often be reused unless it can be taken up in one piece. If it is glued down then it’ll be a horrendous job to get it off and it will almost certainly break up into very small pieces.
If you can get lino or vinyl up in largish chunks then there’s a variety of different uses it can be put to if cut down into smaller chunks. It can go down as flooring again in a small room such as a utility room. It can be placed under pet bowls to protect the new floor from food and water spill or drool, or used on top of worktop surfaces in a shed or garage.
Squares of vinyl or lino can be cut to size and placed at the bottom of cupboards in bathrooms and kitchens to catch chemicals and other liquids stored there that might leak or spill. A slightly more bohemian idea is to cut the flooring into strips and weave them into a doormat, either taping or stapling the ends to keep them in place.
Using Carpet for Insulation in the House
Carpet has many more reuse options. It is tempting to use it as insulation in the house but there are some complications with this idea.
One is that the carpet is quite dense and you need air gaps in insulation for it to be really effective. The second is that building regulations probably wouldn’t allow it to be used as loft insulation in a house.
Old carpet would be fine as insulation in a garden room, garage or shed though. Again, it won’t be as effective as real insulation but it would certainly be a lot cheaper. Cut it to fit between the battens of a shed wall or roof and use wire stapled to the battens to hold it in place.
Then use solid sheets of plywood, hardwood or chipboard tacked to the battens to clad the walls and roof. A plastic liner between the carpet and the outside wall might be useful if the outer wall isn’t particularly air or water tight, but make sure there are ventilation gaps at the top of the walls and the edges of the roof.
Garden Uses for Carpet
Old carpet can be reused in the garden too. A suitably sized square can be thrown over the top of a compost heap. It will raise heat levels in the compost heap which will help the vegetable matter break down faster.
Carpet can also be reused as a weed barrier in the garden although it’s best to use hessian backed carpet and preferably a natural pile like wool or sisal as this means it will eventually break down and be absorbed rather than sitting and leaching noxious chemicals into the ground. Under gravel this might not be so much of a consideration but it should definitely be a concern on a vegetable patch
There are almost certainly many other uses for old flooring that we haven’t covered here but there are a few good ideas here to start the ball rolling.