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Reclaimed woods in homes, like furniture or flooring, gained popularity in the 1980s. Today, this practice is going through another surge in many homes, as more and more people are adapting to the concept of Green Remodeling.
As deforestation continues to occur, the amount of wood available for construction is at risk of scarcity.
By using reclaimed wood, not only are more people taking an eco-friendly approach when building or remodeling their homes, but they are also cultivating a more traditional home environment.
The History of Reclaimed Wood
Using reclaimed wood started in the 18th century when the industrial revolution saw an abundance of structures built from scratch. These woods came from trees untouched for many centuries.
These well-matured trees were perfect during this time due to their tighter grain, which made them very durable for high-traffic areas.
Old barns, factories, and warehouses built during this time were made to last.
Unfortunately, most of these structures are no longer in use. The concept of “reclaiming” wood from these structures was a way to reuse these valuable resources for building new structures that would be durable as well.
Reclaiming Wood in Today’s Time
What was then a practice of reusing durable wood for newer structures branched out into a practice of self-expression.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the concept of modern Interior Designing was born. Homes and other structures were now being given personalities exclusive to their owner’s tastes.
Eventually, people realized the uniqueness and history reclaimed wood can add to homes and structures.
Each reclaimed wood has its own story of how it served in its first life during a significant time in our history. Reclaimed wood could have been part of a western saloon, a piece of a sunken sailboat, or furniture in someone’s home.
Unfortunately, the practice of using reclaimed wood isn’t only for personal preferences anymore. With our wood resources declining due to massive deforestation globally, using reclaimed wood has also become a proactive approach to sustaining our environment.
Pros and Cons of Using Reclaimed Wood
It may be tempting to save our environment while also adding character to our home or business along the way. Still, as a prospective reclaimed wood owner, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of using reclaimed wood first.
Reusing reclaimed wood reduces landfill waste in our environment. Opting for reclaimed wood also helps reduce the demand for manufactured wood. This not only helps curb deforestation but also reduces the environmental hazards manufacturing woods emit. Likewise, the demand for exotic woods will lessen, reducing the chances of extinction for such woods at risk.
Quality and Durability
Because reclaimed wood has matured through different climates and conditions, its tighter grain makes it harder and durable for high traffic areas. In fact, reclaimed wood scores significantly higher compared to other manufactured woods on the Janka hardness scale. The Janka scale, an industry wide standard, measures the hardness of different wood species in determining their durability for use.
Uniqueness and Looks
These matured woods also have refined grains and patterns acquired through ageing and weathering. Each reclaimed wood has its unique character of grains and patterns, which will give off a personal acoustic ambience to any structure that rehomes them.
Likewise, each reclaimed wood has its unique and rich history that radiates through its seasoned appearance - a sure conversation starter for owners and their visitors.
You and others can admire your reclaimed wood from anywhere in your home or business. Reclaimed wood can be used as furniture, kitchen top, hardwood flooring, and any other wood materials.
Rare Availability and Legitimacy
Reclaimed wood is a limited natural resource - it can’t be manufactured like other woods for construction.
Also due to the demand for reclaimed wood that has increased over recent years, its availability has decreased as well.
This limited supply of reclaimed wood increases the chances of counterfeit. There may be retailers taking advantage of the high demand for reclaimed wood and advertising their fabricated supplies as “reclaimed.”
As a prospective buyer, you should make sure that the retailer is legitimate and reputable.
There are a lot of factors as to why reclaimed wood is expensive. The first is its limited supply but high demand.
Another one is the complex process that reclaimed wood undergoes before being sold in the market, which takes time and investment for retailers.
Old structures where reclaimed wood is sourced must first be dismantled. Quick and cheap demolitions on old structures aren’t viable since the wood would be destroyed in the process.
Dismantling requires additional costs but ensures that the wood being reclaimed maintains its natural form.
After acquiring reclaimed wood comes the process of sorting and preparation, which includes courses of actions such as inspecting, cleaning, sanding, and machine work to be done by a craftsman.
If reclaimed wood isn’t properly inspected and treated, it may come with unknown and undesirable conditions such as:
Like any other wood, reclaimed wood isn’t vulnerable to pests. Signs of pest infestation in reclaimed wood include asymmetrical holes, visible bugs, or crumbling.
Responsible retailers will inspect each reclaimed wood for any of these unknown conditions beforehand. After inspection, these reclaimed woods go through the proper preparation for safety before being sold in the market.
There are many benefits of using reclaimed wood as part of your home or business. It’s durable, aesthetically pleasing, but most importantly, environmentally friendly.
Most of the disadvantages of using reclaimed wood can be avoided by sourcing out a legitimate retailer that takes proper steps to ensure that the wood you’re getting is not only legitimate, but free of pest,toxins, and other harmful objects.
The expensiveness of reclaimed wood is worth it, as you’re not only getting an excellent investment, you’re also helping save our environment.