Why choose to use reclaimed wood in and around your home or for your next construction or building project? For many people, having wood that’s rich in history and character adds a certain beauty, charm and story to their surroundings. For some, it’s the conservation element that makes reclaimed wood their number one choice. Still others choose reclaimed wood for its durability and strength.
Regardless of the specific reason for opting to use reclaimed wood, it’s human nature for all of us to love trees. They’re all around us, and wood is a huge part of our lives, our homes — and our history. Adding a reclaimed wood to your home provides a rustic look that almost seamlessly connects your living space to the natural world and to the past. It also injects a sense of character and a unique story into your space through the use of the beautiful wood textures.
In this article, we’ll look at ten of the reasons using quality reclaimed wood from a reclaimed lumber company enhances your surroundings, whether you’re a homeowner, building contractor, architect or designer. First, let’s take a look at what reclaimed wood is, and then we’ll go over the plethora of functional and aesthetic uses for reprocessed lumber.
What Is Reclaimed Wood?
Reclaimed wood or lumber is defined as high-quality “upcycled” wood that’s been taken from various sources like:
- Old barns
- Retired ships
- Stock farms
- Wine casts
- And more
At some point, many structures constructed from virgin wood are either removed or demolished. When this happens, there is a huge amount of air-dried wood left behind. This highly-sought after lumber is ready to be recycled by a reclaimed wood flooring company and to be used again in various ways.
There is a real charm to this type of wood because it contains a lot of history. Reclaimed wood provides whispers and echoes of the past and looks beautifully aged and unique. Reclaimed wood is popularly used in homes and businesses throughout the country.
Top 10 Reasons to Choose Reclaimed Wood
So, why should you choose reclaimed wood over new timber? Take a look at these 10 reasons to choose reclaimed wood in your next project:
1) You Have a Love of the Environment
Using reclaimed wood decreases the demand for newly-harvested virgin wood from forests. This helps preserve the countryside rather than deplete it. There are also the creatures of the forests to take into consideration. Birds nest in trees. Animals like squirrels eat acorns, and insects feed on tree bark — not to mention the various species of plants that rely on tree cover and forestation to live. If too many trees are felled, many of these creatures and plants will lose their natural habitats.
Virgin wood involves felling, transporting and processing the trees, which have a massive impact on the environment. Using reclaimed wood reduces this impact every time it’s used on a project. The cumulative energy used to make virgin lumber in comparison to the reclaimed variety was found to be about 11 to 13 times more.
Another green aspect of using reclaimed wood is when you lay it as flooring in your home, due to its cellular structure, it effectively traps air. This means it’s a great insulator, saving you money on your energy bills.
When it’s harvested responsibly, reclaimed wood is a renewable resource that reduces both the use of environmental hazards to make new products and landfill waste. For example, it’s far better for the environment to install old wood flooring rather than petroleum-based linoleum or carpeting.
Knowing you’re using wood that’s been saved from the landfill is an environmentally responsible choice, and it’s one of the top reasons to choose reclaimed wood.
2) You Love to Give Old Wood Life
What does it mean to use reclaimed wood? Perhaps you’re passionate about conservation and about reusing the materials we have around us. If this is the case, you’ll love to give old wood a new life. According to the USDA, one billion feet of usable lumber is produced from demolishing buildings. When you buy old wood, you’re also purchasing a piece of unique history.
It’s easy and inexpensive to change up the look of your home with a few reclaimed wood fixtures. For example, old doors that would have been thrown away can bring a completely unique look to your home. Distressed woods, in particular, look great when used in this way. Using old wood in your projects is a beautiful alternative to buying new pieces. Reclaimed wood provides a vintage look, is long-lasting and can be passed down for generations of your family to enjoy.
3) You Have a Passion to Preserve History
We are a proud nation with a rich history. Through choosing reclaimed wood, you’re supporting the history of our nation and keeping our American legacy alive. Reclaimed wood is sourced from various places. You could be purchasing timber from a revered factory that employed hundreds of workers, from a magnificent historic bridge or from a beautiful old barn.
By using reclaimed wood, you’re keeping your link to the past alive as you look toward the future. So, if you’re passionate about history, there’s no better way of celebrating this than by using historical reclaimed wood.
4) You Love the Character of Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood is unique in that it offers ageless distinction and beauty. It’s also unparalleled in terms of its architectural quality. Every piece is different and cannot be replicated. Reclaimed wood has so much character, and its age only brings out its allure, depth and color even further.
There is a specific uniquely weathered beauty about reclaimed wood that has so much more “heart” than mass produced modern pieces. Old wood displays random character marks and has a rich patina that draws you into it.
Every piece has its own story and history. This provides a real talking point when friends and family come over, as every piece has its own appeal and interest that can never be found in modern wood.
5) You Can’t Buy Old-Growth Wood Anymore
The term “old-growth” refers to trees that have naturally reached their full maturity within an environment that encourages slow growth. Old-growth trees are typically stronger and larger than others because they took decades and sometimes centuries to mature.
The more slowly a tree grows, the denser the fiber becomes. Every species of tree becomes mature at a different age as well.
Because of the diversity of old-growth forests, they are now protected, and you can’t buy old-growth wood anymore for use in housing projects. That means using reclaimed old-growth wood is the perfect and sturdy alternative. Though choosing reclaimed wood, you can give new life to old-growth wood by using it in your aesthetic designs and structural building.
6) You Want to Use Durable and Strong Lumber
As well as looking unique, items constructed from reclaimed wood are both durable and strong. When our country’s old residences, warehouses and factories were built, only the most stable and durable timbers were used to support them. It’s a fact that many of these old buildings have stood strong for many hundreds of years.
Old wood is far stronger than the lumber of today because the pieces originating from before the 20th century received little to no air pollution. Additionally, most old wood comes from virgin timber that grew for many hundreds of years before being cut down by humans.
7) You Want to Use the Most Stable Wood Available
Old growth wood is more dimensionally stable than wood that’s been newly-harvested. This is due to old wood having been exposed to many changes in humidity over prolonged periods of time.
This gives pieces constructed from old wood far more stability than fresh timber, and it is particularly desirable for use in high-traffic areas such as your floors. Reclaimed wood for flooring is an ideal choice since the wood has already been contracting and expanding for many years, or perhaps decades.
Additionally, the wood has been through many different extremes of weather and changes in climate. Because of this, reclaimed wood is much more stable and is able to better handle the wear and tear of everyday life. Consequently, your flooring or furniture pieces will remain looking good for many years to come.
8) You Want to Have Wider Planks of Wood
If you’re looking for reclaimed wide plank flooring for sale, it’s important to know that reclaimed wood beams are stronger and stable enough to be sawn into wider planks than those that have been newly harvested. This is due to old wood being more durable than virgin wood for the reasons previously mentioned.
9) You Can Re-Purpose Rare, Exotic Woods
Using exotic woods is a no-no in terms of sustainability. However, if you see some beautiful, rare and exotic reclaimed wood, you can use it in your project guilt free. Additionally, rare woods, such as exotic and tropical blends of European and Asian hardwood species, add value to a property.
Often the only way to obtain large quantities of exotic woods is via reclamation. There is a lot of rare reclaimed wood out there today, as in the past, many buildings were constructed from exotic wood due to its availability and cheapness.
10) You Love Originality
Nowadays, so many items we buy are mass produced. If you want to find something original for your home, it’s going to cost the earth. However, when you buy reclaimed wood, you can be sure each and every piece is 100 percent original and isn’t mass produced like other modern wood products.
Reclaimed wood is a one-of-a-kind product, with no two boards ever being exactly alike. So, if you want your project to have a distinctive and personal look, choosing reclaimed wood from Superior Hardwoods of Montana is the way to do it.
For all the above reasons, using reclaimed timber makes sense. There is something that’s inspirational and even magical about transforming wood that’s weathered and old into something useful and new. Due to its history, it has the power to strike a chord within us, reminding us that everything in life has its cycle.
Highly-Sought After Uses for Reclaimed Lumber
Because of it’s unique beauty, character, durability and history, reclaimed wood is desired for many uses within the home, such as:
Reclaimed wood beams are often used as decorative, exposed elements in your home — trusses, ridge beams, rafters, posts and headers, for example. They can be used “as is,” keeping all their own inherent character. Alternatively, they can be surfaced, ground, hand hewn, sanded or sawn to change their original appearance to better fit in with your design expectations.
Decking, Planking and Siding
Old wood decking, planking and siding usually results from the deconstruction of industrial buildings and barns throughout the country. It can be gauged to make all the surfaces even when it’s installed or it can be left with variances in thickness..
Additionally, the wood can be left with its old edges or it can be edged to exact dimensions. Leaving the original edge can give the wood that rustic appearance. Reclaimed wood can be cut and modified in so many ways to add charm and functionality to your environment
Flooring made from reclaimed wood can be directly harvested by reclaimed lumber companies from old buildings where it has already been used as flooring. For example, maple, oak, pecan and beech strip floors are all sources of reclaimed wood flooring.
Alternatively, it may be made from the structural components of the building. It can be created as an engineered or solid reclaimed wood flooring product. Usually, the surface is lightly sanded, leaving the majority of the character marks and patina that give the flooring its rustic and antique appearance. Sometimes, the flooring can be either semi- or completely surfaced to make it look more contemporary.
A beautifully creative way to add interest to a fireplace is to incorporate a reclaimed wood mantel. Every old wood mantel has its own story and provides an interesting focal point within your room. Perhaps the mantel began life as a barn post or as a rafter. It’s wonderful to know you’re giving it a new life and purpose while conserving a historical piece of wood.
Beautiful rustic furniture can be made from old wood. It’s difficult to distress new virgin wood to give it the look and character of authentic reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood furniture looks equally as good in both traditional and contemporary spaces.
When you’re trying to add some character to a room, using old wood for a feature wall provides a contrast against paler tones in the rest of the room. A popular design strategy to use is to keep the rest of your room light and bright, as wood absorbs a great deal of light.
A wooden feature wall can give your room a polished contemporary look or a traditional log cabin feel depending on the wood, lighting and furnishings you’ve chosen. You can be sure that through using reclaimed wood in this way, your home will be completely unique and welcoming.
Superior Hardwoods of Montana
Our mission here at Superior Hardwoods of Montana is to Let Us Guide You Through The Woods®, and our passion is to help you through the myriad of reclaimed wood choices. We’ve been helping people find the best reclaimed wood for their building projects since 1977, so our longevity and many decades of knowledge enable us to do just that. Our 11 acres of architectural reclaimed lumber is ready for you to find the right wood to add warm character, unique history and rich beauty to your home or building project.
Whether you’re considering installing some exceptional decking in the spring or are looking for a unique wood flooring source, reclaimed wood speaks to you in ways that modern, mass-produced woods just don’t. Let us help you make your floor, deck or other building project a long-lasting tribute to American history, while simultaneously adding an element of timeless character, strength and beauty to your space.
Contact us today at Superior Hardwoods of Montana at 406-251-2272 to discover more about our hardwood flooring, decking and other reclaimed wood products.
Updated on 3/24/2022 by Superior Hardwoods