The first documented supplier of reclaimed wood flooring opened up shop in the 1970’s and its popularity has been increasing year up on year. There are a wide range of hardy and exotic woods available – some that you can no longer buy due to extinction.
As wood was the primary building material of people 100+ years ago in the USA there has been an abundance of reclaimed wood available. It is most commonly sourced from barns, however it is often recycled from things like stables, support joists, and railway sleepers too. Lets take a look at the pros and cons of reclaimed wood flooring.
The Advantages Of Reclaimed Wood Flooring
The appearance of reclaimed flooring is one of the main selling points of this awesome flooring material. It has a naturally weathered rustic look that can work with a variety of décor types. Despite many efforts by floor manufacturers – its time aged distressed appearance cannot be replicated.
Due to its luxurious and rich appearance both contemporary and vintage style homes have started to incorporate this recycled material into their décor. It can add the finishing touch to a contemporary room to create an urban or industrial feel to an otherwise clean and clinical design type.
Or it can be used in vintage and country themed homes to really bring the feel of the country into your home.
Regardless of how your home is decorated – a reclaimed floor will usually be able to accentuate whatever décor your currently have.
One of advantages that reclaimed flooring has over fresh cut new wood flooring is that you are able to get species that are endangered tor extinct now. Things like American chestnut used to be widely used in construction 100 years ago – but ever since a blight wiped out almost all the American chestnut trees in the early 1900’s it has not been used as a building material. It is renowned for its strength and beauty – and you can have it in your home, a very unique talking point!
Reclaimed wood is super strong and durable. As it has been In use for many years it has had plenty of time to acclimatize to the changes in humidity, moisture and atmospheric conditions that are known to usually warp and effect wood. This means it is a great choice for people who are looking at getting underfloor heating installed. Some woods can warp and distort from the radiant heat that is given off – but with reclaimed wood you are much less likely to have this issue. If you pick a type of wood that is already durable, like southern yellow pine – you will be getting some super tough reclaimed flooring!
Due to the recycled nature of reclaimed flooring it is very good for the environment and really helps to reduce the amount of deforestation that is occurring globally for construction projects. Because of this If you are trying to sell your house in the future it will help add credits to your homes LEED rating – which is widely regarded as increasing the value of your home.
How Much Does Reclaimed Wood Flooring Cost?
Reclaimed wood flooring costs around the same price as new hardwood, however it can be cheaper depending upon the type and quality of the wood. More imperfections will mean that you can get a cheaper price. You will generally pay in the region of $5-$25 per square foot of reclaimed wood flooring.
Installation of a reclaimed floor is not much different than using normal fresh lumber. All good suppliers will mill the wood into wide and short planks – usually with a tongue and groove system to ensure easy installation and a constant thickness throughout the floor.
The Disadvantages Of Reclaimed Wood Flooring
There are couple of things you should be wary about however when purchasing reclaimed wood. One of the main scams that a few retailers will try and pull is passing off new wood as reclaimed.
As the years go by the sources for reclaimed wood are simply being used up and are no longer as abundant as they once were. These fraudsters seeing the gap in the market have exploited this by treating new wood to make it look old.
It is therefore especially important to look at the place you ae buying your wood from to see if they have any bad reviews.
Another thing to consider is because it is reclaimed – there is no way to tell what it has been treated with. It is no secret that in the past we used several things to treat wood that are particularly unfriendly to humans. Lead based stains and paints being the main culprit (this is particularly true in reclaimed barn wood flooring) While other uses of reclaimed wood can get away with ignoring this factor a little bit – you do need to be mindful of it with flooring.
You should be especially careful if you have young children or pets in the home who could lick the floor and become poisoned (it sounds silly but it happens).
You will also find that many suppliers have reclaimed timber that is sold as seen. This means that they basically cannot tell exactly what species it is due to the age of the wood. If you are looking for a specific type of wood then this could be an issue. However in my personal opinion, if it looks like the type of wood you want and it is convincing enough to convince you – then this is not really a problem. All reclaimed wood will be strong and durable.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!