18 Oct The Pros and Cons of Using Reclaimed Wood in Your Home Remodel
Reclaimed wood is all the rage in design. It’s surge in popularity can be attributed to the emergence of green building and remodeling practices as well as the rustic beauty and history associated with using a reclaimed product. Reclaimed lumber is simply wood that was used for something previously and it has now been salvaged for reuse. It comes from a variety of sources including pallets, barns, old buildings, bridges, warehouse, fences, storage crates and more. You can purchase material that has been un-altered still dirty and full of nails or you can purchase it cleaned, de-nailed, kiln dried and even milled into beautiful new products such as hardwood flooring.
CONS OF USING RECLAIMED LUMBER
- Toxins – Depending on how the wood was used previsously, it could have been treated with chemicals or lead based pain, adhesives, preservatives or insecticides. It is possible to test the wood yourself for toxins, however, this may be more work than you’re interseted in.
- Price – Reclaimed lumber is usually more expensive than the wood you would buy from Home Depot or Menards, however, it’s also a much better quality product. Wood from the big box chains is usually twisted, knotty pine that comes from China. Nobody likes working with that junk. You get what you pay for applies here. Reclaimed wood can be purchased cheaper if you’re willing to clean and de-nail it yourself.
- Pests and Bugs – The best way to get rid of pests and bugs in reclaimed lumber is to fumigate it or kiln dry it. Wood that is heated in a kiln at 105+ degrees for seven hours should kill anything living in it making it pest free. Some reclaimed lumber companies will also fumigate the wood.
PROS OF USING RECLAIMED LUMBER IN YOUR PROJECT
- Quality and Strength – Reclaimed lumber comes from old-growth trees instead of first generation forests or Chinese imports. Reclaimed wood can be up to 40 points harder on the Janka hardness scale compared to young trees.
- Environmental and Green – By using reclaimed lumber you are saving the material from being discarded in landfills and you help curb deforestation. Anytime you can reuse something, you’re helping the environment.
- Appearance and Design Asthetic – Aged and weathered wood has a very desirable look that is difficult to replicate with new wood.
- Interesting History – There is a story to tell when you include reclaimed lumber in your project. It’s super cool to tell people visiting your home that your floors came from a 200 year old barn or the beams in your home are from a 100 year old bridge or decomissioned building or railroad.
WHERE CAN I BUY RECLAIMED LUMBER FOR MY HOME?
There are a number of suppliers around the country including Vintage Timber Works (vintagetimber.com), MRL (mtreclaimed.com) and The Old Grain Co (https://getreclaimed.com/blogs/reclaimed-wood-projects). You can also check Craigslist for local suppliers in your area.