Thursday, February 5, 2015

What to Expect With Reclaimed Wood

 

From the This Old House article What to Expect With Reclaimed Wood by Eileen Colkin Cuneo:

If you own an old house, you already know the satisfaction of having something that's unique, and when you renovate, you look for one-of-a-kind materials. Unlike other materials whose appeal lie in their looks, reclaimed wood has beauty and history.  Not surprisingly, people are going to great lengths to find reclaimed wood that makes a stylistic statement about themselves and their homes.

Using reclaimed wood in a renovation requires more legwork than just stopping at a home center for lumber, but there are four strong arguments for using reclaimed wood:

1) It's environmentally friendly. Reclaimed wood isn't grown on farms, which often cultivate only trees that grow fast, but aren't supportive of an ecosystem. Yes, it represents a tree that's been cut down, but at least it's getting another life in your home.

2) It has an age and character that cannot be mimicked. Old wood likely grew in a natural environment where it had to fight for nutrients and sun, making the wood strong and durable. Aging also brings out the color in the wood.

3) Most old-growth wood is no longer available. Regulations prevent many species of tree from being harvested.

4) It has its own history. How many people do you know who have olive-oil barrels on the outside of their houses?

And buying reclaimed lumber continues to get easier—and in some instances, less expensive relative to the escalating cost of new hardwood.