Preserve the Past with Reclaimed Wood

February 15, 2023

Preserve the Past with Reclaimed Wood

As we look forward to a new year, it’s hard to forget about the past. Reclaimed wood is all the rage these days. You see people using it on home improvement, real estate flipping, and DIY shows all the time.

You might know very little about reclaimed wood, and why it is such a wonderful resource when building, rebuilding, restoring, redecorating, and remodeling. This guide will help you to understand the true beauty of reclaimed wood a little better.

What is Reclaimed Wood?

Once destined for various landfills across the country, reclaimed wood— that is wood removed from old buildings, barns, and floors — is now making a big dent in construction projects, home remodeling, small house building, and even creating custom furniture.

Not only does this keep wood that has aged up to one hundred years (or more in some cases) out of landfills, it also breathes new life into this old wood, giving it the potential to last another hundred years or more.

It gives new meaning to the concept of reducing, reusing, and recycling without adding strong chemicals and other destructive chemicals into the mix. It is one of the greener construction options available to homeowners today, and sometimes offers higher quality wood than is available in modern lumber stores.

What are the Types of Reclaimed Wood?

Just as with modern wood, there are different types of reclaimed woods available for use in a wide range of building projects. Whether your interests are in building homes, adding architectural features to a home, installing floors, or building furniture, there is a reclaimed wood for that.

Some of the most common and widely used types of reclaimed wood today include:

  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Chestnut
  • Douglas-Fir
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Poplar

That offers tons of variety and many options for builders and makers alike to get plenty of mileage from local reclaimed wood supplies.

What are the Benefits of Using Reclaimed Wood?

For some, it’s enough that reclaiming wood keeps the wood out of overburdened local landfills. For others, there are additional reasons to make the choice. However, in a world where there is increasing concern over the availability of limited natural resources, reclaiming wood and using it in building projects large and small allows people to preserve those natural resources for future generations to use.

Other benefits of using reclaimed wood include:

  • Strength and quality: The wood has greater strength and quality because most reclaimed wood was harvested from old-growth trees rather than virgin timber cultivated from first-generation forests. This means it is harder and more durable than modern wood.
  • Aesthetics: The aesthetics of using reclaimed wood is nothing to dismiss either. This wood offers an aged and weathered look that is nearly impossible to imitate with modern woods, and is beautiful in furniture and as accent pieces inside the home.
  • Versatility: Perhaps the most important benefit that leaves reclaimed wood in such high demand today is its versatility. From furniture making to flooring to beautiful accent features, there are very few homes that can’t find a purpose for reclaimed wood somewhere within the home.
  • Environmental: Factor in the environmental benefits of decreasing the demand of newly sourced lumber, doing your part to reduce deforestation, and reducing the introduction of potentially hazardous materials into local landfills, and reclaiming wood is a real win for the planet and for the people who make it a priority.

What are the Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood?

There are many ways you can use reclaimed woods inside your home and out. Depending on your personal taste, reclaimed wood can become an integral part of your decorating process.

Some of the ways you might use this type of wood include:

  • Creating stunning feature walls inside your home
  • Adding rustic touches to the interior of your home, such as a reclaimed wood mantle or kitchen island base or top
  • Installing hardwood flooring
  • Adding ceiling features
  • Building wood furniture
  • Creating shelves inside your home
  • Installing beautiful barn doors in your home
  • Crafting a stunning headboard
  • Building a beautiful reclaimed wood deck
  • Creating an outdoor pergola

The possibilities are limitless for what you can do with reclaimed wood. In fact, the only limiting factors are the availability, sizes, and quality of the wood and your own imagination.

Where Can You Find Reclaimed Wood?

For the most part, access to reclaimed wood is the hardest part. The good news is that you’re going to be surprised by just how accessible reclaimed wood can be.

These are some of the best places to begin looking for reclaimed wood:

  • Home improvement stores. That’s right! Home improvement stores, like The Home Depot and Lowes, that we all know and love, also deal in reclaimed woods. From pallets and crates to wood panels and planks, you can find reclaimed wood perfect for furniture building, accent walls, and flooring.
  • Craigslist. This is especially true if you live in or around a rural area. These areas are filled with people looking for someone to remove their old barns and sheds, many of which offer the perfect weathered wood reclaimers are looking for. It may require elbow grease, money, or a little bit of both, but the results are a workshop filled with reclaimed wood for you.
  • Architectural salvage yards. Not only can you find reclaimed wood in these wonderlands, but you can also find reclaimed doors, mantels, columns, bricks, and more.
  • Specialty lumber dealers. Some lumber dealers specialize in reclaimed woods. They are often the best resources for this type of building material, but at a higher price than other resources. The upside is that it requires less time and effort to obtain reclaimed wood from these sources.
  • Online Marketplaces. Sites like Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, and OfferUp may have reclaimed pieces you’re just dying to have.
  • Demolition sites and dumpsters. If you okay with routing through a dumpster, or have permission to access demolition sites, you might find some reclaimed wood treasures there.
  • Retail businesses that use pallets. Many businesses, such as pet stores, grocery stores, equipment and furniture stores use pallets and are often happy to provide them to you for free. Check with your local newspaper organizations, too, as they receive may receive pallet shipments, and have plenty to give away.

As you can see, there is a lot to love about reclaimed wood for building, and so much more. With these amazing resources, and the benefits it offers the planet, it might be worth considering using reclaimed wood in your next woodworking or building project.

If you’re committed to the planet and making your home planet friendly for you and your family, then reclaimed wood isn’t the only way to go. Consider the added benefit of bringing a natural latex mattress, like this amazingly luxurious 100 percent natural latex mattress from Eco Terra into your home ― for a home where you can rest easy knowing you’ve chosen products that are amazing for your home and the planet at the same time.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.