June 21, 2021

Reclaimed wood flooring – what to know before you buy

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By Maria Espie Vidal

The allure of reclaimed wood flooring is not new to homeowners and DIY lovers. Reclaimed wood flooring is a great option when redecorating a new home or your current one. It adds depth, and backstory to your home without costing you a whole lot. Before you purchase reclaimed wood flooring for your home you must first understand what reclaimed wood is and its advantages and disadvantages.

What is reclaimed wood and where does it come from?

Reclaimed wood is any hardwood that has been recovered and refurbished to be used for new purposes. Some come from old and deconstructed homes, buildings, barns, wooden crates, and more. Wherever it came from, reclaimed wood has so much potential and can be used to make new floorings and furniture.

Reclaimed wood is graded to its quality and the amount of character it has. Meaning the more distressed the wood the more character and history it has, but it is not as strong as less distressed reclaimed wood.

What to consider when buying reclaimed wood

Budget

While reclaimed wood is expected to be cheaper because it is old and repurposed, there has been a rise in the price of reclaimed wood due to the rise in demand for it. Because reclaimed wood is not created and sourced from new materials, there is a limited source for it and what passes the quality control is even fewer. Also, because reclaimed wood undergoes processing, it can also affect the cost of reclaimed wood to ensure you get high quality and sturdy type of reclaimed wood.

Purpose

Consider what is your goal in buying reclaimed wood. Are you using it for furniture or for flooring? Knowing what final output you plan to have is what will determine if reclaim wood can handle the process. Small furniture can easily be made from reclaimed wood, but for flooring, you might want to buy a sturdier quality reclaimed wood flooring or have a mix of new wood flooring and reclaimed one.

Type of wood

There are many types of reclaimed wood flooring such as oak, walnut, maple, and more. For flooring, any hardwood that is heavy and can stand pressure is great. Oak is especially best suited for home flooring since it is heavy and sturdy. Maple on the other hand is resistant to impact and heavy pressure. You must also consider the size, shape, and cut of your reclaimed wood if it is suitable to turn into flooring. Another type of wood that is not suitable for flooring is walnut because it is not as tough and sturdy for flooring.

Style

The beauty of reclaimed wood is its unique look and one of a kind piece that will give character and style to your home. It is great if you love the antique or rugged look that is unique to reclaimed wood. It is also a great conversation piece when you have your housewarming party. Consider what your style is and check if the type of food you can access matches the style you are going for. Each type of wood has different grains and a distressed look.

Benefits of Reclaimed wood flooring

It is environment friendly

Using reclaimed lumber decreases the demand for new lumber. You can help with environmental concerns such as deforestation and carbon footprint when you purchase reclaimed lumber for your flooring needs. There are also fewer environmental hazards used in refurbishing reclaimed wood than making new lumber.

Quality

Reclaimed wood is harder than virgin wood because it comes from old trees since there were more hardwood trees before than now. Newly sourced lumber often comes from younger trees from tree farms that are much softer than old hardwood trees.

Guilt-free

Exotic woods are very beautiful yet unsustainable. Nowadays it is not advisable to purchase new lumber from exotic wood so it is much better to source it from reclaimed exotic wood.

Unique Look

Because reclaimed wood has been used and has a deep history it is naturally aged and weathered which gives a unique look that does not come naturally with new materials. Now you can decorate your home with unique wood pieces that will instantly change your whole style.

Added interest and value

Because each piece of reclaimed wood tells a story from where it came from such as barns, crates, ships, and demolished infrastructures, it adds interest to your new flooring or furniture from reclaimed wood. It is a great conversation piece with your guests or even adds value when you are trying to sell your home. This is an interesting part of your home that could be a selling point to a realtor and potential buyers.

LEED points

Using reclaimed wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council will get your home or project with reclaimed wood flooring LEED points.

Disadvantages of Reclaimed wood flooring

Legitimacy

With the increase in the demand for reclaimed wood, there are some dealers that sell fake reclaimed wood. You need to check the source of their reclaimed lumber and see if it comes from a reputable dealer.

Price

Depending on where you buy your reclaimed lumber there might be an increase in price because of the demand for it. Reclaimed wood is much cheaper if you source them yourself if you know a place where you can get abandoned lumber.

Toxins

Reclaimed wood is not without toxins. Generally reclaimed wood is treated with chemicals that help refurbish and strengthen the wood. Ask your supplier what treatments the reclaimed wood has undergone.

Pests

Because wood is a decaying item, it might have pests that are still lurking after processing. Check for signs of decay, rotting, and infestation, and have it kiln-dried to kill pests that remain.

Hidden dangers

If you opt to purchase unprocessed reclaimed wood or if you reclaimed the wood yourself then it is best to be safe by wearing protective clothing and gear when handling the reclaimed wood. This is because it might still contain hidden dangers such as splinters, rusty nails, and others.

Author Bio:

Maria Espie Vidal writes for Vintage Timberworks Reclaimed Wood – a company that offers reclaimed wood flooring solutions.

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