Reclaimed Wood Decor: Incorporating this Reused Material into Your Home

barnwood floor

Reclaimed wood is one of the hottest eco-friendly trends to come out of the interior design world. With products like reclaimed wood flooring and veneer paneling, the options and uses available with this type of lumber are limited only by your imagination. By learning more about this type of eco-friendly material, you can make educated decisions about the home design products you choose.

What is Reclaimed Wood?

On many occasions, old lumber gets discarded simply because a person or company doesn’t have a use for it. The truth is that much of this lumber is still usable – and in many cases, it is stronger and more durable than virgin wood. When someone makes the effort to collect the used lumber and fix it up for repurposing, it becomes reclaimed wood.

The Wood Reclaiming Process

The reclaiming process starts by collecting discarded lumber that’s no longer needed. These sources can include:

  • Abandoned buildings
  • Old homes and barns
  • Shipyards
  • Gymnasiums
  • Crating materials
  • Wine casks
  • Water tanks

After harvesting the wood, salvage crews separate it from other materials, such as nails. They recycle the products they don’t need to keep waste at a minimum and sort the wood according to quality. Low-grade wood becomes bio-fuel or firewood, while the premium pieces get processed.

Processing involves cleaning the lumber, drying it in a kiln and milling it so it looks beautiful. At this stage, the reclaimed lumber is ready for installation and finishing.

How You can Incorporate Reclaimed Wood into Your Home or Office

If you can build something with virgin wood, there’s a good chance you can also build it with reclaimed wood. Some of the more popular uses for reclaimed timber in homes and offices consist of:

Flooring. Reclaimed wood flooring comes in several different blends – from light to dark and refined to rustic – so you’ll always find something that matches your style.

Tables. Tabletops made from reclaimed lumber are gorgeous, durable and affordable. The characteristics of the wood are so interesting to look at that you won’t want to use a tablecloth. Reclaimed lumber is also great for counter tops.

Decking. Some blends of reclaimed wood come from tropical forests, so they naturally withstand water, humidity and the sun’s heat. This strength means they’ll have no problem enduring heavy foot traffic. Look for a company that offers reclaimed wood deck boards with eased edges or a hidden clip system so installation is a cinch.

Veneer paneling. With the veneer-making tools available today, a reclaimed lumber specialist has no problem making veneer wood paneling from this eco-friendly material. Use veneer panels for cabinetry, walls, desks or the front of a reception counter.

Benefits of Using Reclaimed Wood Compared to Virgin Wood

In the U.S., the norm is to buy products and materials that are new, but choosing reclaimed over virgin wood offers the following benefits:

  • Less landfill waste. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of wood are sent to U.S. landfills each year. Choosing reclaimed wood helps reduce waste.
  • Less deforestation. In a single year, a professional wood reclaiming company can save more than 9,000 Douglas fir trees that are 40 feet tall each.
  • Durability. Reclaimed wood is generally harder than virgin wood, so choosing this sustainable material can give you a better-quality product.
  • Appearance. When you want a truly unique-looking product without the effort, reclaimed wood is the way to go.

If you’re looking to purchase reclaimed wood instead of sourcing it yourself, look for a company that’s certified by the Rainforest Alliance and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). With these certifications, you can trust that the company sells products that are genuinely green and that the materials were harvested using sustainable methods.

This post was contributed by Viridian Reclaimed Wood, a company that is owned and operated in Portland, Oregon and provides eco-friendly, unique and affordable reclaimed wood flooring, veneer, paneling, tables & counters across the nation.

Image credit: Tony Faiola via photopin cc

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