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All You Need to Know About Reclaimed Lumber Wood Floors
Reclaimed Lumber : Hardwood Flooring
Reclaimed wood is soraing in popularity as a choice for homeowners wanting to get the look and style of hardwood flooring, but want to be mindful of their impact on the environment (for the record, we have already debunked the myth that hardwood flooring is bad for the environment) but the allure of the word "reclaimed" is understandable, and it certainly earns its badge as an environmentally friendly building material . Before you make a big decision about a type of lumber to use for your floor, it is important to make sure that you do your research and compare your options.
Today we will take a close look at reclaimed lumber, its origins, the pros and cons, costs, and its green certification.
Everything You Need to Know About Reclaimed Lumber:
Let's start at the beginning.
Q: What is reclaimed lumber?
A: Reclaimed lumber is processed wood retrieved from its original application for purposes of subsequent use. Most reclaimed lumber comes from timbers and decking rescued from old barns, factories and warehouses, although some companies use wood from less traditional structures such as boxcars, coal mines and wine barrels. Reclaimed or antique lumber is used primarily for decoration and home building, for example for siding, architectural details, cabinetry, furniture and flooring.
The short version: It is wood that has been salvaged, then treated and re-used.
Q: From where does reclaimed wood come?
A: The most common source for reclaimed lumber is old barns or old mills and factories that are no longer in use, but there is no specific age limit that a wood must be to be considered "reclaimed". With the demand for reclaimed wood skyrocketing over the last decade, wholesalers have begun to use some pretty interesting sources for reclaimed wood including cargo/shipping boxes and even wine barrels.
As you can imagine, years of being exposed to the elements, or carying caro across the ocean, or standing up against rain and wind for decades adds a certain character to wood that no artificial distressing technique can exactly match. Enthusiasts site the unique appearance of reclaimed lumber as one of the main factors which lead them to purchase this type of lumber. It is important to note that it is possible to purchase planks which are very uniform in wear, color, and grain; however, many people who seek out reclaimed hardwood specifically seek out wood with differing characteristics.
Here are a few examples:
Pros and Cons
As with everything else, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of choosing reclaimed hardwood flooring. We'll start with the good:
1.) Environmental Impact-
Or lack-there-of , we should say.It is pretty simple logic: since no trees have to be cut down in order to produce this type of flooring, it has less of an impact on the environment. In fact, some studies show that it takes 13x less resources and energy to produce this type of flooring than its competitiors
2.) It is certified green building material-
LEED, along with basically any other authoritiative role in green practices, recognize this material as green.
Here's the documentation: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/good-know-minimum-program-requirements-leed
3.) Rare Wood Options-
You can't go into a forest and cut down a redwood. However, that bard that was built back inn the 1800s that fell down and is now the wood under your feet is absolutely acceptable. Proponents of this flooring material site the ability to attain rare, exotic woods, or woods from meaningful moments in history draws them into trying it out.
The cost of reclaimed hardwood? Expect to spend around $6-12/sq foot, with extremely rare or exotic woods becoming more expensive.
1.) Hard to Regulate: The demand for reclaimed floors has made the matertial somewhat hard to source. There is no way to really verify the claims from any given company that the reclaimed wood you just spend thousands of dollars on, is any oder than a pallat from behind a grocery store. Unfortunately, there just isn't a system in place just yet to protect consumers.
2.) History: Hand in hand with the inability to really varify claims that the wood youre purchasing is actually reclaimed, you also don't know what the wood was usedf for before it was turned into planks. Some wood may have had exposure to toxins like lead etc. Generally the curing process eliminates such problems, but you just never know.
3.) Contaminates: Sometimes you'll find bit of metal, like broken off nails etc inside the wood. And this can render huge sections completely useless. Its important to do a throrough inspection before you buy
The idea of reclaimed luymber for hardwood flooring is a unique and interesting one. It seems like it wont be dropping in popularity any time soon. Just make sure to make informed decisions before major purchases!