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The story of our reclaimed brick and terracotta

Having been a timber agent travelling around Eastern Europe in the 1990s I discovered that most demolished buildings were being ploughed into landfill. I always found this rather surprising and recovered a small number of pine floorboards in Latvia that went down very well in the UK.

This drew me into a narrative with a number of reclaimed yards in the UK and I soon discovered that what they could not get enough of was quality reclaimed terracotta and brick flooring.

We started with a brick that we quickly discovered, due to its weight and unsuitability with modern underfloor heating systems, was neither desirable or profitable. This led us into the practice of slicing a brick to create a tile, now known quite widely as a “Lubelska Brick Tile”.

Many companies have now copied us but only a few have done so successfully and to the same high standards. Often we have helped them achieve this with advice.

We have now been reclaiming bricks and processing them into Lubelska brick floor tiles in Eastern Europe for nigh on seventeen years and we consider ourselves one of the foremost exponents in the practices of doing so.

The processes for creating this brick floor tile are quite simple. We take bricks from predominantly derelict farm buildings. They are jet washed and we take a slice from either both edges of faces depending on how we best think the brick should be dealt with.

Later we remove any lime mortar that remains attached to the brick. Sometimes they are mellowed by either vibrating machinery (tumbled through ceramic media) or further cleaned with wire brushes, always by hand either with manual brushes or electric hand-held tools.

We end up with a product that maintains its original character and patina and no two tiles look the same.

Whilst we were recovering bricks from demolished buildings, we noticed that the roof tiles were also going into landfill.

After a visit to one of our trade customers in the UK, we discovered that these too could be upcycled into beautiful flooring. We started with the warm terracotta roof tiles in Poland.

We discovered that simple jet-washing would not clean off the years of soot and dirt that had collected on these tiles from coal and wood fires. This led us to sand-blasting the tiles and then cutting them, removing the nib and developing 3 tiles that have become quite synonymous with terracotta flooring. Later we added the Hexagonal.

A few years later, we were approached by a company in Serbia and discovered that they too were looking to market products similar though not identical to our own. Being of a southern, warmer European climate, they had access to many lighter products than we had been finding in northern Europe.

The cleaning and upcycling methods we were both using were very similar and after some collaboration and the sharing of ideas we definitively nailed down the best processing and upcycling methods for each product.

We try to be as eco-friendly as possible with our processes. We never use chemicals or detergents and even our sealers and cleaners are not harmful to the environment.

All our cleaning methods use abrasive techniques, whether that’s water, media or sand. We also try to utilise as little plastic in our packing as possible, preferring to use crates made with FSC certified timber, often recycled from old pallets itself.

Today we carry a range of 13 different floor tiles and we expect to be adding a few more to this list shortly. Meanwhile, we will be offering a selection of reclaimed oak flooring in the next few months, shortly followed by reclaimed limestone.

For more information on any of our products, please contact us HERE

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