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Advantages and Disadvantages of Reclaimed Hardwood Floors

by Guest on Jan 25, 2019

Over the years, wood has always been one of the most favorite building materials for both residential and commercial buildings. It was the world’s second-oldest material of construction by about 8,500 BC, second only to Brick. Deforestation wasn’t an issue back then; trees were felled to cater to this demand. All this changed when too many trees were cut especially around the Industrial Revolution and the aftermath of World War II. This is where reclaimed wood came into play—to conserve the environment by curbing deforestation and reducing waste.

One sector that makes use of reclaimed wood is the flooring of houses. People love nature and beauty it brings to their indoors. If you have ever walked into a room with floors made from reclaimed hardwood, you know this is nothing but the truth. If you are considering using reclaimed wood for your floors in your upcoming building project, you might benefit from this post. We will highlight both the advantages and disadvantages of reclaimed wood hardwood flooring and hopefully help you make the right decision.

Advantages

Strength and durability

Contrary to popular belief, reclaimed lumber lasts longer than virgin wood. According to Sam Sikes, Old Barn Reclaimed Wood Co’s President, reclaimed lumber is more durable and stable compared to new timber belonging to the same species. The reason is that reclaimed wood has weathered every harsh condition possible and is, therefore, less likely to split. Additionally, reclaimed lumber has been harvested from competitive forest environments where the trees were left to grow to maturity. Mature trees have a distinct chemical composition that develops more heartwood—the dark, stable, and dense part of the tree that no longer transports nutrients and water from the soil to the different parts of the tree.

Beauty

The reclaimed lumber looks fantastic. We are talking about wide rings, appealing knots, and plenty of unique markings that all work together to give your floors that unique and rustic look. The silver-grey natural patina draws the eye while the natural look adds up to the warmth of any home in an instant.

Eco-friendliness

Reclaimed lumber reduces the demand for new wood hence curbing deforestation. This is a bold step in the right direction as deforestation is a hard enemy. According to the Global Trees campaign, only 30 trees can do the following:

  • Provide sufficient oxygen for 120 individuals every day
  • Absorb 9.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year
  • Cool the atmosphere the same way 300 A/C units, running 20 hours each would.

If you didn’t know trees were that important, now you do. Also, if well harvested, reclaimed wood is a fantastic renewable energy resource that reduces the extreme use of environmental hazards in the manufacture of new products and landfill waste.

More wood choices

Thanks to deforestation, many tree species are now extinct or endangered. This means that using virgin woods limits you to the type of timber to use. Reclaimed wood, on the other hand, allows you to try out many hardwood choices.

Enhanced character

Many people claim that their reclaimed hardwood floors possess a unique character that reflects some sort of history. The good feeling that your floors have this richness and value gives people a sense of pride and fulfillment. To help with this, reclaimed wood dealers nowadays even print the source of the wood on the lumber so you will always know whether yours came from an old barn, a ship, a decommissioned building, someone’s home, a pallet or crate.

Disadvantages

Reclaimed lumber, sadly, has a few disadvantages along with the advantages. These include:

Expensive

With all the aforementioned benefits, it is easy to see why reclaimed timber Big Timber Works would be a bit pricey. They cost higher than the regular wooden floors, partly because of the high demand and the broad manufacturing process involved. All the nail pulling, edge smoothening, and extra work to make it good for the customer requires quite a lot of work. Sometimes the wood pieces are inserted in the lumber. This process needs a different kind of equipment than the one used in normal wood flooring equipment.

Fake products

The popularity of reclaimed wood has attracted some shoddy businessmen who will sell you fake versions of the lumber claiming it is from legitimate sources. It is a common problem now and many have fallen victim to it. To avoid being another statistic, purchase your lumber from a reputable dealer who can provide certifications for such organizations like the  Rainforest Alliance and the Forest Stewardship Council.

Toxins

Reclaimed lumber, like all other wood flooring options, is treated using paint and chemicals. These chemicals can contain lead, insecticides, preservatives, and organic compounds. To be safe, you might have to test the reclaimed wood for such toxins if you are looking to source it on your own. Additionally, learn more about the lumber’s past life to have a better understanding of the exact treatments the wood has undergone in the past.

Hidden Dangers

You are safe from this if you want to install processed lumber on your floors. Otherwise, if your choice of reclaimed lumber is the unprocessed version, there could be danger lurking somewhere nearby. You could get pricked by a nail or a sharp corner. Always wear gloves when handling unprocessed reclaimed wood.

Pests

Like all other wooden floor options, reclaimed wood also suffers from pest infestation. Pests just love putting up shop in wood. Before you make that purchase, look through it to ascertain that it is indeed pest-free. Some of the tell-tale signs include the presence of bugs, asymmetrical holes in the wood, or fragile wood that breaks apart when you apply some force to it. Be sure to use kiln-dried wood as a building material.

Reclaimed timber may have begun as a way to conserve the environment but it is now much more than a fad. Its host of benefits and sustainable energy has made it one of the most preferred options in the Architecture and Design Industry. With it, our planet is safer and our buildings remain eye-catching.

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