A closeup of slats of reclaimed wood flooring

Are you thinking of revamping your property or having a new home built under a limited budget? Well, there is one way to put your worries at ease and give a unique and elegant look to your home in no time—by using reclaimed wood.

Including wooden floor panels, cabinets, tables, chairs, and patio decks, as long as it’s sourced sustainably and seeks to prevent deforestation from damaging the ecosystem, the long-term benefits here are a win-win for all. 

If you have heard of reclaimed wood and wish to learn more about it, where to find it, and what aspects to keep in mind, continue reading.

Once you’re done, you will know exactly what to keep an eye out for and can kickstart your renovation project in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. Who knows, you may even inspire those around you to do the same. 

What is Reclaimed Wood?

The concept of reclaimed wood can be explained in many ways. However, the simplest one is any wood material or item that has been salvaged that can be repurposed and reused. Redwood, fir, oak, and Douglas are the most common types of reclaimed wood because they are versatile, readily available, and known for their durability and reliability.

Reclaimed Wood as a Building Material

Reclaimed wood for building purposes has become a recent trend given the consumer preference shift towards sustainability. Many families opt to live in green homes, i.e., those with a minimal carbon footprint. Reclaimed wood for construction or renovation projects ranks high for environmental impact.

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood? 

As challenging as it may seem, finding reclaimed wood is not that difficult. 

The following are some places you can investigate to get your hands on unique and elegant pieces. Be sure to check them out.  

Teardown Sites

Contractors doing a complete teardown or remodeling of property have vast amounts of reclaimed wood. In addition, they often have other items such as granite countertops and cabinets you may be able to get your hands on.

However, to do this, you will have to contact the local contractor in your area and inquire about any upcoming teardown sites. You can even ask them whether they are inclined towards setting aside reclaimed wood for repurposing. 

Online Platforms

There are numerous apps that you can use to find reclaimed pieces of wood. Here you can find the exact type of wood you’re in search of, including the price range and features desired.

In many cases, brand new wood material may be available too. Most construction projects that don’t push through have their materials auctioned or sold off on online apps and platforms. 

Neighbors and Family Members

Have a neighbor invested in a renovation project? Or a family member looking to discard all old furniture and items and replace them with new ones?

Well, this is the time to avail yourself of the opportunity. You can ask them if they are interested in giving away any items or if they’re up for sale. You’ll be surprised at the amount of recycled stuff you will find with this technique. 

Keep An Eye Out For Flyers

Many families post flyers and brochures in cafés, restaurants, and local grocery stores. You can keep a lookout for these and find reclaimed wood items by looking at them first. 

You can even trade your own items this way. For example, if you have items that you wish to discard under your renovation project, you can use this method to put up a barter system without spending a penny.  

Construction Sites

Construction sites have a lot of leftover materials and wood resources. Instead of having them dumped into a landfill site, get in touch with the contractor and get permission from them to go through some of the unwanted items. 

Benefits Of Using Reclaimed Wood 

Reclaimed wood is sure to be found in every building project these days. And rightfully so. Let’s look at some of the numerous advantages. 

A  closeup of a piece of distressed reclaimed wood lumber

Eco-Friendly

If you are big on saving the planet, reclaimed wood is just the material you need for future projects. It reduces the harmful impacts of deforestation on the environment as it reduces the demand for new sources of lumber.

Similarly, it is also a renewable resource that lessens landfill waste in the long run, making this material a win-win for all!

Vast Applications

Reclaimed wood can be used in a wide range of ways. Be it for wooden flooring, decks, tables, chairs, and countertops, there is no stone left unturned when it comes to building with it.

You can make any wooden item using this versatile material, and it requires fewer stains and paints for furnishing! Keep this in mind—you don’t want to strip away the natural quality of the wood by covering it up with a satin finish. 

Reliability And Durability

Reclaimed wood is a lot more durable than you may think. It is more robust than first-generation wood and is less likely to deteriorate. Because the moisture content in reclaimed wood is almost zero, it is an excellent fit for commercial and home renovation projects. Plus, you can expect the reclaimed wood to last you for a lifetime if maintained properly.

Can Bring Your Property To Life 

Since reclaimed wood has an aged look, it makes your property unique and classy. The look and finishing reclaimed wood offers is unlike new wood—which can be noticed by anyone walking into your home.

It also makes your home look more welcoming and aesthetically pleasing.

How Reclaimed Wood Can Be Used For Sustainable Construction 

Reclaimed wood is as sustainable as it gets. Here are some of the popular ways in which reclaimed wood can be utilized:

Structural Framing

If the wood is fir, white oak, white pine, Douglas, or cedar, it can be used for structural framing. This type of wood is sure to be solid and sturdy. However, each piece requires an inspection before being declared viable for use.

Flooring

A closeup of slats of reclaimed wood flooring

Reclaimed wood works well for floorings as well. And, they’re a lot less expensive, making the investment truly worth it. You can expect a slip-free floor with reclaimed wood as most surfaces don’t require polishing and coating with silicone-based products. 

Cabinets and Furniture

When it comes to furniture and cabinets, reclaimed wood is the perfect addition. You can find rustic and traditional pieces, unlike items on the market today.

A table, door, and set of chairs made from reclaimed wood are shown

They are a lot more valuable and are often sold and giveaway prices. You’re sure to save up on a lot of unwanted expenses during your home renovation project this way. 

Things To Be Mindful Of While Using Reclaimed Wood 

With all the benefits and uses of reclaimed wood discussed, a few aspects cannot be overlooked. Reclaimed wood offers a few drawbacks as well. However, they can easily be mitigated with proper attention to detail and care.

May Contain Toxins

If you are purchasing reclaimed wood that has been treated, chances are it is laced with certain chemicals. These can include traces of lead, insecticides, and preservatives.

To ensure your wood is toxin-free, have it tested first, which can also give you an idea about whether it has been treated or not from the wood’s past life and usage. If it has been used multiple times, chances are it may have undergone several treatments. 

Look Out for Pests

Reclaimed wood may become infested with pests. Therefore, inspecting the wood before purchasing it is essential. Here are a few signs to look for. 

  • Holes in the wood
  • Weak, and crumbles as you touch it
  • Presence of small bugs

If any of these signs are present, you can kiln-dry the reclaimed wood to make it look brand new and fit for use. 

How Is Reclaimed Wood Maintained? 

Once you have reclaimed wood in your possession, it must be maintained. Maintenance is an added step that can keep it in top shape and add depth to your home. 

Cleaning Reclaimed Wood Items

To clean items made from reclaimed wood such as furniture, waxing it every few months is what you want to do. You want to use a mild and high-quality wax for this and avoid anything silicone-based. 

The best way to clean your reclaimed wood furniture and flooring is by making a mixture of water, olive oil, and white vinegar. Then, gently wipe down the surface to remove any accumulation of dust and debris.

This technique, however, works best for reclaimed wood that has not been treated. For treated wood, simply wiping down with a cleaning rag soaked in water and mild soap will do. 

Avoid Markings and Stains 

Imperfections are a common problem with reclaimed wood. However, they can easily be avoided.

Here are some tips to avoid stains and markings on your reclaimed wood furniture.

  • Place coasters and mats under hot plates and cups to prevent ring marks from forming
  • Place a pad under paper if you are writing on a table made from reclaimed wood, which will prevent impressions from forming on the surface
  • Wipe any spills immediately to keep your reclaimed wood furniture free of watermarks and stains

Avoid Dragging

If you have reclaimed wood furniture, try not to drag it while moving it, which can weaken the joints.

Instead, lift the item and have it placed wherever desired. You can even place felt pads under the legs of reclaimed wood furniture to further protect it from scratches and wear and tear. 

The Bottom Line

Using reclaimed wood is a great way to promote sustainability. It reduces the harsh impacts on the environment and gives you a new outlook towards building and living in green homes.

Raise awareness on the benefits of reclaimed wood by actively promoting it. For example, you can forward this article to friends or family who may be thinking of a new building project. It is sure to help them save a lot and help contribute to saving the planet. 

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