January 19, 2021

How Reclaimed Wood Helps Save the Earth

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When it comes to home decor, wood is an ever-popular option that millions of homeowners love integrating into their home's aesthetic. Of the many diverse types of wood, one type continues to capture the eye and awe of millions around the world — reclaimed wood. Walk into many homes, buildings or offices, and you'll see that reclaimed wood adds a charming beauty to its surroundings. At Superior Hardwoods, we love how the unique character of reclaimed wood floors, paneling and furniture fills any space with a fascinating story.

Reclaimed Wood: Repurposing the Natural Beauty

Using wood as a building material dates back thousands of years, with some of the earliest discoveries of wood in architecture dating back to 8500 BCE. Today, nearly every type of wood from ash to maple to oak to walnut and everything in between is prominently featured for its attractiveness and relied upon for its durability and strength. New lumber is fresh and ready to be put to use, but reclaimed, antique wood is much more versatile and can be used for building or as a stunning aesthetic focal point.

Reclaimed wood is unique, one-of-a-kind wood that's removed from its original application where it's no longer needed and "repurposed" for a new presentation. For example, removing wooden beams from old barns to use in newly constructed housing is considered reclaiming the wood. Wood can be reclaimed from many other places, including factories, warehouses, farms, bridges and other sources. Reclaimed woods are more than just attractive decor — they're eco-friendly too!

Is Reclaimed Wood Eco-Friendly?

Yes! Instead of being left in an abandoned structure to rot or be removed and discarded with other materials, wood that was once a piece of history is reclaimed and given a new purpose for years or even decades.

Our natural resources are limited, and any opportunity to reuse or recycle materials destined for the landfill is a great way to conserve those resources and preserve our planet's health.

There are many ways that reclaimed wood is environmentally friendly — here are four reasons why.

1. Helps to Maintain Healthier Forests

Deforestation is a serious problem that occurs mainly in many third-world countries. Timber is one of the Earth's most abundant and renewable materials. In the United States, gone are the days of clear-cut forests as many groves of trees are family-owned, and the landowners take the preservation of these groves seriously. The number of new trees planted is double of what is harvested.

Still, these resources need to be protected and limited in harvest. By using reclaimed, antique building materials in your projects, you are a part of a "green" eco-friendly movement with the goal of preserving the Earth's environment.

2. Old Wood Is More Stable

Reclaimed wood is from old-growth trees that have a slower growth fiber and will be denser in structure — therefore, a stronger wood. Throughout the years, old wood has been exposed to various environmental changes that have made it more stable. Choosing to use reclaimed wood for any type of construction or decor provides your home with increased value and looks that freshly-harvested lumber can't match. Reclaimed wood will have less movement, which means you can feel better about using it in your home. It will be of higher quality and add more worth and uniqueness to the look of your home.

3. Limits Landfill Crowding

When you buy reclaimed wood products, you are saving the wood from going to the landfill. When mixed with other forms of waste, wood doesn't always decompose completely. Because of this, it can release methane gas — which has been blamed for global warming, which in turn is responsible for polluting the environment. Any minimization of landfill crowding is a benefit to the environment.

4. Reclaimed Wood Makes You Rethink Other Choices

Whether or not you've considered purchasing reclaimed wood for its eco-friendly traits, by now, you've learned how much one simple act can help conserve and preserve our planet. Reclaimed wood is a great way to begin looking at doing your part to positively affect our climate and environment.

Reclaimed Wood vs. New Wood

New wood is second-growth fiber, which means that it grew quicker than the old-growth canopies. Faster growth timber is softer than the tighter old-growth rings. It is not as stable or as high-quality as the antique old growth from the turn of the century.

Antique wood is the ultimate "green" choice, and most reclaimed wood is of higher quality than anything on the market today. Recycling wood helps reduce the material destined for waste removal. It also renews the age-old beauty to the wood reclaimed from buildings that have outlived their usefulness, and recycling these buried treasures gives another generation a chance to enjoy these gifts from the past.

A vast selection of species is available in reclaimed hardwood flooring, including several species that are not available in new material. American chestnut almost lost in the blight of 1905 is one of them, as well as American elm, which was wiped out by Dutch elm disease.

4 Great Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood

Many people find reclaimed wood attractive in a variety of contexts and settings. There's a good chance that you've knowingly or not found yourself marveling at a home furnishing or design that incorporates reclaimed wood. We love seeing how our customers integrate our wood throughout their home in diverse ways. You have a nearly endless amount of options, and the following four examples are common ways people use their reclaimed wood.

1. Architecture

Reclaimed wood is perfect for homes and businesses alike. Reclaimed wood floors are spectacular, but that's not the only way you can add character to your home. Look up, and you'll discover that some homeowners cover their ceilings with reclaimed wood. Others may choose to add just a touch of reclaimed wood's charm by installing exposed beams. Trying to recreate a cozy den? You can also use reclaimed wood as siding or as the mantle for your fireplace.

2. Furniture Pieces

What better way to complement your home's aesthetic than by adding a few pieces of furniture made from reclaimed wood? Coffee or kitchen tables, bed headboards or hallway benches — if you can dream it, reclaimed wood can do it! Give your kitchen a rustic upgrade with reclaimed wood cabinetry. Give your bar or office a touch of class with reclaimed wood pieces. Reclaimed wood has many functional uses around the home that lend beauty and charm without conflicting with your current color palates or design preferences.

3. Art and Home Decor

Reclaimed wood is attractive enough alone and doesn't necessarily need to be functional or versatile. Those who want reclaimed wood in their homes but are looking for alternatives other than reclaimed wood flooring or furniture pieces may decide to incorporate this eco-friendly material into their home with reclaimed wood art and decor instead.

4. Woodworking Projects

Speaking of art and home decor, who says you need to purchase reclaimed wood that's already been transformed? Crafty woodworkers or other creative designers may use reclaimed wood for their small business or hobby. As an eco-friendly material that's unique, long-lasting and naturally charming, reclaimed lumber gives artists, craftspeople and designers a blank canvas to create an amazing, one-of-a-kind work of art.

4 Benefits of Reclaimed Wood

Purchasing reclaimed wood is an admirable way to enhance your home while doing right by our planet. However, that's far from the only reason why so many people choose reclaimed wood over other alternatives. You might be surprised by just how many reclaimed wood benefits there are. We've got dozens of reasons why you should choose reclaimed wood for your next home or office improvement project, and we believe that these top four benefits will make you agree!

1. Exceptional Character

Character — it's one trait that we respect and admire in people, buildings, art and yes, even in wood. Quite frankly, reclaimed wood is a crowd-pleaser. Antique reclaimed lumber lends the perfect rustic touch for a home that embraces turn-of-the-century charm. Far from the cookie-cutter options that are newly produced, the texture and color of each piece enhance every minor detail that makes it unique.

One element of its character is the fact that reclaimed wood is not a material that can be found just anywhere. Although there are many old barns, homes, warehouses and other structures where reclaimed wood can still be discovered and sourced, reclaimed wood is not taken from nature. Old-growth wood is limited in availability because many of the forests featuring these large, old trees are protected areas.

2. Diverse Uses

As shown above, reclaimed wood can be used anywhere imaginable. From the home to the office and everywhere in between, there's virtually no space where even the slightest presence of reclaimed wood won't enhance the look and feel of a space. Even in homes or offices that have a very specific aesthetic that cannot accommodate certain designs or features, reclaimed wood can fit in nicely because it's not as limited in its application as other materials like steel or stone are.

reclaimed wood can fit in nicely

3. Reclaimed Wood Preserves a Moment Never Lost to Time

Our team at Superior Hardwoods of Montana loves every detail the many varieties of wood have to offer. From their coloring to their grain, we appreciate just how unique every piece is. One of the benefits of reclaimed wood is that it's more than a simple material — it has its own story written through years of use as another object. Every piece of reclaimed wood preserves and continues collecting special moments in time.

Imagine walking on flooring that once graced a building at the turn of the century when the West was still wild. Think about how unique your home will be with a sliding door made from reclaimed wood once used as a barn door on a quaint farm. Reclaimed wood is as much decoration as it is a conversation piece. Once it's in your home, business or office, those who interact with it become part of its long and colorful history.

4. Reclaimed Wood Helps Save the Earth

This is one benefit that can't be understated — every piece of reclaimed wood that's purchased, donated or uncovered is a win for our planet! Reclaimed timber or lumber helps minimize tree harvest, limits waste that is sent to a landfill and perpetuates the beauty of previously used wood, sharing the past with the future. No matter which reason you choose to integrate reclaimed wood into your space, your decision is actively helping to save the Earth!

reclaimed wood from superior hardwoods

Reclaimed Wood From Superior Hardwoods

Reclaimed wood is attractive and always an eco-friendly option for home and business owners alike. We invite you to Let Us Guide You Through the Woods® by helping you discover all of our reclaimed wood options and the infinite ways you can integrate them into your space, inside or out. Let our design team complete your next project with the charm and character only reclaimed wood can deliver. Contact us today and browse our inspiring gallery of reclaimed wood ideas for every space imaginable.