As with parquets and floorboards, the value of reclaimed flagstones largely depends on their finish and patina. Most reclaimed flagstones are just as suitable for outdoor use (patio, landscaping, etc.) as for interiors (restaurant floor, living rooms, etc.). This type of floor covering works well with an underfloor heating system.
Some batches of reclaimed flagstones come from ancient wall facings. In some cases, reclaimed floors can be reused as facing.
Among common products, one can find:
- Square or rectangular flagstones: in marble, blue stone, granite, sandstone, and many different types of stone, often reflecting local traditions.
- Belgian blue limestone church flagstones: these are old flagstones of variable dimensions, square or rectangular. The upper surface is smooth while the lower surface is more irregular. They can be quite thick (~15 cm).
- Bourgogne flagstones: these are large, thick flagstones, very common on the French market, and reclaimed from ancient buildings. They are often installed by putting together rectangles of different formats. Attention: this product is subject to imitations made of artificially aged new stone. Ask for the truly reclaimed origin.
- Stones for opus incertum (irregular work): blends using fragments of broken flagstones.
Some dealers offer the following services on flagstones:
- Sorting by size and format
- Cleaning of any traces of mortar underneath the slabs or on the edges.
- Sawing through the thickness for some types of thick flagstone. One example of this is Bourgogne flagstones: their appearance is much appreciated, but their thickness of over 10 cm is not always suitable for contemporary installation techniques. A circular saw with a very large diameter is used to cut horizontally through the thickness of these slabs.
- Note: often, reclaimed slabs are usually adapted only in one dimension (thickness, length or width), because multiplying the cuts would represent a prohibitive cost. It is also very unusual for reclaimed flagstones to undergo surface treatment, as the general rule is to preserve their patina.
Prices indicated here are based on observations made in Belgium, the Netherlands or France (excl. VAT):
- Church flagstones: 140€/m²
- Sawn Bourgogne flagstones: ~250 €/m² for the upper part; 20 to 30 €/m² for the lower part, considered to be a co-product.
- Fragments of Beglian blue limestone flagstones for opus incertum work: 20 €/m²
- Stone slabs salvaged from post-war office buildings: 40-80 €/m²
Choice of system (opus)
A central question when laying a reclaimed stone floor is the choice of system - i.e. how the flagstones are laid in relation to each other. Some systems offer a dimensional tolerance that facilitate the use of slightly more irregular reclaimed flagstones. For example, a ‘free-length’ pattern makes it possible to create a floor from stones of variable length but constant width. Irregular work (opus incertum) means you can work with any fragments of broken flagstones.