Maybe you’ve come across the term as you were looking to build a new home or maybe your contractor suggested you consider it, but you are still unsure what reclaimed wood is. Throughout this article, we’ll discuss what reclaimed is and the benefits it provides.
What Exactly is Reclaimed Wood?
Reclaimed wood is essentially any wood that has a previous long history from being used in a prior structure or long-ago harvested wood. When we use wood such as this in a new structure or remanufacture it into other timber products such as flooring, timber trusses, beams, and more, we designate it as reclaimed wood.
Sources of Reclaimed Wood
One reason someone may want to include reclaimed wood into their home or construction project is for the culture or story the wood may tell as well as the preservation of a small piece of history. Reclaimed wood can be sourced from numerous places and some of the most common sources of it are:
- Old Barns
- Sunken Timber, also known as, Sinker Timber
- Vintage Wood Barrels
- Timber Bridges
- Wooden Storage Chests Crates
- Decommissioned Ships
As for the most common species of reclaimed timbers in North America, they are:
For a distinct aesthetic, reclaimed wood is the go-to due to their uniqueness. Unlike the uniform appearance of mass produced wood, reclaimed wood has an aged, rustic character that cannot be duplicated. Every single piece of reclaimed wood tells a story whereas mass produced wood cannot.
Incomparable Strength & Durability
Reclaimed wood is some of the most durable and stable wood that can be found. Much of the wood sourced for reclaimed wood come from trees that were hundreds of years old, meaning the wood was allowed to fully mature. In addition, the contracting and expanding that the wood experienced through weather, humidity, and temperature from being used in old barns, homes, and warehouses allowed the wood to strengthen and become just that more durable. This is a significant benefit over newly harvested, younger wood.
Positive Environmental Impact
The last, and possibly most important, benefit is that using reclaimed wood means reusing and upcycling. Reclaimed wood is similar to upcycling by utilizing something that may have been thrown away and making it new again. The need for harvesting new wood at such a high rate can be curbed by filling those same needs with reclaimed woods. At times, reclaimed wood is also a means of preserving nature that may be impacted when harvesting wood.