What is reclaimed wood?

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What is reclaimed wood?

Reclaimed wood is timber which is sourced from old homes and buildings. Lumber which many consider to have fulfilled its purpose in its original setting can be reused for many more years if treated. In today's world, the need for sustainability and eco-friendly alternatives has never been clearer. With deforestation happening at alarming rates, sustainable timber is becoming a scarce resource.

Reclaimed wood has slight differences from recycled wood or salvaged wood. Reclaimed timber is often repurposed for similar uses such as flooring-for-flooring. It tends not to go through much processing for its use. Recycled wood goes through a process to become different from its original form. Yet, salvaged wood is often stored and then used after.

It’s history

Reclaimed wood comes from sources like old barns, factories, churches and warehouses. The key benefit to this sourcing is that often, the wood comes with its own unique story and character. In the past, wood was used in all major construction projects around the world due to its strength. It was cheap compared to other building materials and had large scale availability.

Often hundreds of years old, the story of wood is shaped through the long series of steps it has gone through. First influenced by the loggers who chopped down the tree in a traditional fashion, it was then transported hundreds of miles by ship or train. Each step of the process has left a distinct mark on the wood. The connection that wood has to the past is what makes it so appealing.  Owning a piece of history connected to a story is unique and intriguing.

Character

The aesthetic of reclaimed wood cannot be replicated through commercial processes. It has achieved its allure through hundreds of years of ageing and use. This only strengthens its final character. It often has a deep colour tone, providing a worn and warm feel to it. So, when used in a house it can provide a different experience to what normal wood could. The ageing process means it has marks and knots, which gives this wood its desirability.

Due to its age, it is often stronger as it's not exposed to air pollution and particles which can damage the wood. It's sourced from timber that has grown for hundreds of years before being cut down. This allowed the tree to grow to its full size and strength. It has also been exposed to changes in humidity. This means it has expanded and contracted over hundreds of years. Due to all this, it is an excellent choice for flooring as it will be able to survive the wear and tear of everyday life.

Where is it from?

There is no go-to timber for reclamation. It is all dependent on a customer’s taste. It's reclaimed from any species of wood but there are some which are more common than others. Pitch pine has seen much more use recently, especially in locations such as the USA. This is because of its use in building factories and warehouses during the Industrial Revolution.

Oak is often a common choice for reclaimed lumber as it is versatile and light-coloured. It was used throughout much of Europe for building houses and churches. The same is true for pine and mahogany.  Both are sought after for their appearance and durability.

Why use it?

Modern-day trends to do with sustainable and ethical practices have not stopped with food and clothing. It has permeated into construction too. Consideration on sourcing is now at the forefront of a customer’s mind when looking to build or renovate a home. This has meant a growth in people looking to buy wood from reclaimed sources. Scientists predict there will be no rainforests in a hundred years.  This makes it more important than ever to consider where to source timber. Thankfully, Reclaimed timber is a solution to this deforestation problem.

How to use it

There are no limits to what one can use reclaimed timber for. A common use is a reclaimed wood dining table or reclaimed wood flooring. Both of these are high-traffic usage in households and both can be a statement piece in their own right. Through reclaimed lumber, one can show good taste and sustainability.  This makes it ideal for the home environment or a commercial setting. 

Next Blog: The Difference Between Types of Wood

 

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