It seems like every magazine or interior design blog you explore today features pictures of rustic, weathered wood. Reclaimed wood is a massive hit in Canada and has been heavily adopted by our neighbours to the South, but what is it really? What is so special about this wood? Should you be incorporating this eco-friendly building material into your next project?
Reclaimed Wood. What is it?
Reclaimed wood is also referred to as reclaimed lumber and is popular for the story that it comes with. Most reclaimed wood comes from old structures that were originally erected in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. This wood, which has already served its original purpose, can be relocated and recycled to meet the modern demand for eco-friendly and sustainable building products.
Reclaimed wood is NOT salvaged wood, which is wood that has been naturally harvested from the wild and then stored for a certain amount of time to make the wood appear aged. Salvaged wood has not been used in any sort of construction previously whereas reclaimed wood likely came from a building, such as an old church or barn.
Which Type of Wood is Best?
Any species of tree can be utilized for reclaimed wood but the majority of builders 100+ years ago favoured oak, douglas fir and redwood. A connoisseur of reclaimed wood might seek out longleaf pine, which is quite rare as that type of tree can take up to 500 years to mature in the wild. For a builder, the wait is worth it because when a longleaf pine is fully grown, they are absolutely enormous and can supply long sturdy planks that are perfect for building.
Today, one of the only eco-friendly ways to build with longleaf pine is to use reclaimed wood as only 2% of its original planted area in the US is covered by this species. Compare that to 41% in the 1800s and you can see why recycling the wood of the longleaf is so important moving forward in 2018.
What Are the Benefits of Reclaimed Wood?
The benefits of using eco-friendly building products such as reclaimed wood are vast. Some of the main benefits that The Eco Floor Store love are:
- It has a timeless, rustic appearance
- Reclaimed materials tell a “story”
- Re-using wood preserves natural resources
- Less pollution is created by avoiding further treatment
Reclaimed Wood’s Rustic Appearance
One of the first aspects of reclaimed wood that attracts homeowners and builders is the beautiful, refined antique appearance of the material. After tens and even hundreds of years of use, the grain in wood becomes tight, actually making it more resistant and hard-wearing. Worn wood is absolutely timeless and never goes out of style. When reclaimed wood is incorporated into the decor of a home or a business, depth and character is instantly brought into the room. On the ceiling, on the walls, on the floor or as furniture- wherever you decide to utilize reclaimed wood, you won’t regret it when the design trends switch a year from now.
Tell a “Story”
When you bring reclaimed wood into your home, you are not simply adding another eco-friendly building material to your structure, you are bringing a story under your roof to share with others. How much more interesting would your home become if your floors where taken from an old blacksmith’s barn from the Canadian North? Or what if your wall feature was previously a train station from a small town that was built from the traffic that was made possible by these exact pieces of wood?
A story in your home from reclaimed wood creates conversation between you and your friends but it can also raise the value of your home. With all the cookie cutter homes on the market today, homebuyers are looking for something “extra” to catch their attention.
Preserves Natural Resources
When you choose reclaimed wood instead of investing in fresh lumber, you are helping to preserve the natural timber resources for additional future uses. Less demand for fresh lumber means less logging and therefore less deforestation! As homeowners and builders adapt and utilize reclaimed wood, the trees in the natural environment around us have more time to fully regrow and extend the lifetime of the forest they are part of. Did you know that the global tree count has fallen by about 50% since the dawn of human civilization? A scary statistic that can we can help reduce together by choosing eco-friendly products such as reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed Wood Mean Less Pollution
Foraging and transporting reclaimed wood has an extremely low impact on the environment when compared to the manufacturing and treatment processes that are required of new wood. This is because the lumber from reclaimed sources has already been treated in the past and therefore does not have to be treated again. This means less refining chemicals being released into the environment, protecting our soil, wildlife and watersheds.
Using reclaimed wood is one of the most eco-friendly ways to build or decorate your home and with The Eco Floor Store, you have many options to choose from! We offer reclaimed barn wood tiles and reclaimed boat wood wall tiles among other products!
Interested in making your home more eco-friendly? Stop into our store in Surrey, British Columbia, or contact our team and inquire about ordering materials to your location!