Reclaimed wood has a rustic, eye-catching aesthetic. Its authentic look and environmental responsibility make it a leading building material for new homes, accents or additions to existing homes, and commercial buildings.
Read on to discover more about reclaimed wood, including what it is, its pros and cons, and how to source high-quality antique timber for your next building project.
What Is Reclaimed Timber?
Reclaimed wood, often called antique wood, is upcycled wood taken from old structures like barns and buildings. The rescued wood must go through a lengthy cleanup process, including nail removal, cleaning, and drying. Next, the timber is milled and finished to create the final product.
How Is Reclaimed Wood Different From Recycled and Sustainable Wood?
Sustainable, recycled, and reclaimed timber are all forms of green building materials used to build custom timber homes, add accents, or create pieces like tables or gazebos. While each of these types of wood is sustainably sourced, reclaimed and recycled wood are the most eco-friendly.
Sustainable timber is new wood harvested from sustainably managed forests and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. On the other hand, recycled and reclaimed timber both come from previously used wood or damaged trees.
Reclaimed wood is refinished timber with a timeless aesthetic, while recycled wood products are engineered from wood waste into things like planks or tiles. Reclaimed timber beams and frames are more suitable for building a new home’s timber frame than recycled products.
The Pros and Cons of Building With Reclaimed Wood
No type of timber is perfect for every situation. Take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of using antique wood in your next project.
Antique Timber Pros
Reclaimed wood beams and other timber are the most sustainable and environmentally friendly lumbar. Its use can help minimize carbon emissions and safeguard forests.
2. Unique Look
The rustic appearance of antique wood makes it popular for finishing touches or add-ons in a home or commercial building. There’s something luxurious and comforting about the aged aesthetic.
Upcycled wood has similar longevity as newly harvested wood. With proper care, it can last many decades, if not longer.
Antique Timber Cons
1. High Price Point
One of the most common misconceptions is that reclaimed wood is less expensive than newly harvested timber. In fact, a reclaimed timber frame can cost as much as 50% more than one created from new, sustainable timber.
2. Expertise Required
While you might simply reuse some wood that you find for small-scale designs, it’s best to have a professional prepare reclaimed wood for new homes or other expensive projects. Old wood can have mold or other pests that should be removed before building with it. Additionally, the timber needs expert finishing for a professional look and optimal durability.
Souring Reclaimed Timber
Whether you have an old building from which you’d like to source reclaimed wood or need a reliable antique wood company, Hamill Creek Timber Homes can help. Our experienced team of craftsmen and millworkers create finished antique timber that retains the character of the reclaimed wood.
Where does reclaimed wood come from?
Reclaimed timber can come from almost any old building or structure, including barns, churches, houses, sawmills, decks, and industrial buildings. Most people source reclaimed wood from a trusted supplier like Hamill Creek Timber Homes.
Is reclaimed wood cheaper than new wood?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that reclaimed wood costs less than new timber. In fact, reclaimed timber is typically more expensive than newly harvested wood. Depending on the type of wood used, antique wood can cost as much as 50% more than new wood for the same project.
How long does reclaimed wood last?
Properly milled and finished reclaimed timber lasts as long as newly harvested wood, so long as it is properly maintained and protected from inclement weather. You can expect structures made from antique wood to last generations.
Should I choose sustainable wood or reclaimed wood?
If you appreciate the look and sustainability of reclaimed timber and are willing to pay a higher price, you should opt for this rustic option. But if you are on a tight budget or love a new, uniform look, sustainably sourced timber might be better.
Is there a rustic-looking alternative to antique wood?
Yes, there is. Professionals can achieve a reclaimed look using wire brushing and different stains. Typically, recreating the antique look with expert finishing is less expensive than using reclaimed wood, but it is not as sustainable.