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Reclaimed hardwood flooring is made from lumber that used to be in old barns, factories, and houses. From an environmental standpoint, saving wood that would be thrown away during demolition is a commendable act. However, to dismiss reclaimed hardwood flooring as another green material would be a mistake: the beauty and quality of the wood to make this flooring is unparallel.
To make reclaimed flooring, wood is dried and remilled into tongue and groove or traditional flooring.
Here’s a video featuring Master Carpenter Norm Abram of This Old House as he explains how to choose reclaimed wood flooring.
This wood can easily be 75 years old, with slow growth patterns and at widths that cannot often be found in the current building marketplace. The density and stability of the wood also makes it highly attractive to designers.
The consumer may notice that reclaimed hardwood flooring comes at a premium price. However, it should be noted that this old growth, heartwood flooring is almost impossible to find, and environmentally questionable if it is not made from reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood may also be essential if you want to do an accurate restoration or partial floor repair of a historical home.
Reclaimed Wood Flooring: My Pro Tips
- I’ve found reclaimed wood to be exceptionally easy to install, but because this flooring is often expensive and requires a bit of extra care, I recommend that homeowners consider the services of a professional.
- Like any hardwood installation, the flooring should be tested for moisture content and allowed to acclimate in the space it will be installed in for several days.
- After it has been installed, it should be sealed or finished by a professional that has worked with reclaimed wood before.
Salvaged Wood Flooring: Another Great Choice
If you like the idea of reclaimed hardwood flooring, but not the price, you should consider salvaged flooring. Often taken out of historic homes and factories that can no longer be used, it is often less expensive than reclaimed hardwood flooring, especially if you are willing to consider narrower boards.
Just like reclaimed flooring, salvaged flooring is often remilled to give the installer a clean edge to work with and boasts the same seasoned, stable qualities as reclaimed wood. Unlike reclaimed flooring, salvaged flooring contains wear marks and other imperfections. Often I think these marks enhance the appearance of the floors, but you may decide that salvaged flooring is not appropriate for your particular project or aesthetic taste.
Many reclaimed wood manufacturers sell both salvaged and reclaimed flooring , so it might be beneficial to talk to a representative that could better outline the advantages of both. You may also want to consider using a mixture of both types of flooring in your home.
Reclaimed Flooring Adds Character
Reclaimed flooring is a beautiful material that can add warmth and beauty to your home. However, if your interest in reclaimed flooring lies strictly in the environmental aspects, you may want to invest your money in other green materials that offer just as many benefits at a far more reasonable price.
I have a lot of hands-on experience in the home construction industry, with a good deal of experience in sustainable building. I’m mostly interested in home restoration and home renovations.