Reclaimed Wood 101

Posted: February 8, 2021

The use of reclaimed wood isn’t limited to floors–it can also be used on the ceiling and every surface in between, giving your home a special twist and a one-of-a-kind appearance.

Some furniture makers, interior designers, and DIY enthusiasts hunt out salvaged woods for home projects. Reclaimed wood from barns, homes, and commercial buildings, as well as reused items, such as pallets are slowly entering the scene of structural features.

No doubt that hardwood has always been an elegant feature of a home. As design trends are slowly making a shift to becoming more eco-friendly, more and more homeowners are favoring the use of natural counterparts–the use of reclaimed woods instead of virgin woods. They believe that this makes their dwelling not only sustainable but efficient and durable as well. As you collect some of the best ideas on how to make your humble abode a little more appealing, allow us to present the benefits of using reclaimed wood.

The Benefits of Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood, popularly known as “antique wood” or “recycled wood,” is a lumber that’s been granted a new life and used for a different purpose. This wood usually comes from old barns, shipping crates, boats, wine casks, and other wooden structures that are no longer required or have been deconstructed. So, instead of throwing a usable wood in lowlands, some people would rather salvage it so that it can have a new use.


Using virgin lumber means the wood came from a forest, got cut down, and it ended up in your home. On the other hand, reclaimed wood often has an interesting history. It could come from an old barn, or even a shipping crate from Asia.


Flooring options, such as linoleum and carpet, are usually made from non-renewable materials. On the other hand, brand-new floors contribute to environmental conditions, such as deforestation. This is what makes reclaimed hardwood flooring preferable. It doesn’t have these negative attributes–it doesn’t pose any environmental threats. Although trees are considered to be a renewable resource, they’re getting chopped down faster that they can grow; this greatly affects the wildlife and local communities. Using reclaimed wood is a great way to save the environment. Through this, you can help in slowing down deforestation, and potentially cut back waste in the nation’s landfills. Not just that, in certain cases, reclaimed wood that has been FSC-certified could also help the homeowner earn necessary points toward having a LEED certification–this is ideal for those who are running on a green model.


As compared to virgin wood, reclaimed wood is stronger by up to 40 points on the Janka scale of hardness. The reason for this is that reclaimed wood usually comes from old forests; and the generations of trees that we have today aren’t as durable or as strong as old-growth wood. That said, reclaimed wood is harder and doesn’t easily shrink or warp.

Incorporating Reclaimed Wood into One’s Home

Flooring is considered a long-term investment. That’s why it’s very important to only select a material that could offer an unaltered look and is very durable and easy to maintain. Reclaimed wood has all these features. For those who have an active family, it’s advisable to go for reclaimed wood that has a rustic design. This look makes any scratches easily blend with the design.

Wood Paneling

Similar to flooring, reclaimed wood paneling also comes in a variety of textures, colors, and types. As a rule of thumb, if something can be made from virgin wood, it’s also possible to make that same piece using reclaimed wood. As a bonus to creating that special look, choosing recycled materials saves you some cash while also being environmentally friendly.

However, before starting with a reclaimed wood project, here are some of the things that must be considered first.

Know What You Need

More often than not, homeowners feel a little confused when it comes to choosing reclaimed wood or rustic wood. Reclaimed wood utilizes the actual beams, floors, and/or other pieces of lumber from a building or structure such as: warehouses, barns, and other items; like logs that are cleaned up and made into floors. When purchasing engineered floors, the top layer can be made of reclaimed wood.

Stay Away from Wet Wood

There will be instances where you can find pallet woods that are cheap, and if you’re lucky enough, get them for free. However, you need to keep in mind that even though this can be used to accent new furniture pieces or walls, you should stay away from soggy or damp pieces. Woods that are wet would shrink in size once they dry up. So, make sure that the pallets are nice and dry before using them.

Mold and Bugs Should be Killed

Before using reclaimed pieces, it’s important to slightly sand it first in order to remove the debris, dust, and any potential mold. Don’t worry; this doesn’t remove the characteristics and aged look of the wood. The reason why this needs to be done is because damp wood attracts insects, especially barn wood. Always handle it with care and ensure that there aren’t any bugs and mold before using it.

Always Expect the Unexpected

As a homeowner; you should know that the look of reclaimed wood pieces isn’t usually the same–even if it came from the same building. Experts say, “No two pieces of reclaimed wood are similar”. It’s more likely that the piece of reclaimed wood you’re going to get is unique and has its own identity. That said, there’s no need to spend a lot of time and effort looking for another piece that exactly looks the same. In fact, even if you paint the wood, chances are, it will still look a little different, because their original color isn’t the same either. It’s the most beautiful characteristic of reclaimed wood– it’s a one-of-a-kind piece.

Here at Sustainable Lumber Co, we offer many different types of reclaimed wood. View our line of reclaimed wood solutions!

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