Reclaimed Wood - What is it? Pros and Cons?

May 21, 2014  |  Reclaimed Tobaccowood
Reclaimed Tobaccowood

There’s a new buzzword for decorating and design right now and that buzzword is reclaimed wood. What exactly is reclaimed wood? Reclaimed wood is wood that was logged around 100 years ago or more. It comes from an existing structure, salvaged from maybe a dismantled old barn, old public building, or even an old lumber mill. The wood also comes from old-growth trees instead of first-generation trees. These timeworn qualities can certainly make for romantic appeal for a dream home you’re hoping to build or remodeling your existing home. Now that you know what reclaimed wood is, what are the pros and cons? If you’re thinking about using reclaimed wood on your floors, or maybe to reface your cabinets, here are some things to take into consideration:

  • The legitimacy of reclaimed lumber has been a risk in the past as there are dealers out there that will make false claims on their products. You certainly don’t want to purchase lumber that came from old, broken down pallets. To make sure you're purchasing true reclaimed lumber, purchase from a reputable dealer with certifications from organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance
  • When purchased from a non-reputable or non-certified dealer, you also run the risk of improper milling, grading and kiln-drying. If the wood is not kiln-dried to industry standard, you run the risk of any wood-boring insects that may still be present in the wood
  • The price for reclaimed wood can be more expensive than virgin wood because of the process it undergoes. It is very labor-intensive to properly grade/prepare and mill the material

Now that some of the cons have been discussed, what are the positives for purchasing reclaimed wood?

  • Reclaimed wood is a natural resource and is being ‘reused.’ Many exotic woods are becoming a harvesting no-no because of their vital role in the earth’s ecosystem. Using reclaimed wood can decrease deforestation as well as the demand for newly sourced lumber
  • Reclaimed wood can be up to 40 points harder on the Janka Hardness Scale than virgin woods because they come from old-growth trees and not those planted just for immediate harvesting
  • It is competitively priced when comparing to custom-produced wood flooring options
  • You can get LEED points using reclaimed wood in your projects that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
  • Reclaimed wood has age and character that cannot be imitated. The age and weathering of the wood is something difficult to find in new materials, making it much more unique
  • There are multiple uses for reclaimed wood: hardwood flooring, decking, walls, paneling, kitchen countertops,  and anything else you can make out of wood
  • It has history, it tells a story …

Now that you have the information you need, why not replace your old hardwood floors with reclaimed wood and reface your kitchen cabinets with your old hardwood floors?