How to Choose Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring can make the interior of your home feel more unique. You are also helping the environment as well. Reclaimed wood flooring also provides your home with a sense of enduring beauty with its previous history.

There are various sources of reclaimed wood: from centuries-old barns to industrial plants from the twentieth century. The main driver for choosing reclaimed wood is not structural but aesthetic. Some of the signs on the reclaimed wood that are considered aesthetic are patina (the natural sheen developed on the wood due to aging), cracks, saw marks, and/or “checks” (natural separations between wood fibers running parallel to the grain). Reclaimed wood flooring are made from a variety of wood species such as chestnut and heart pine as these are nearly depleted.

Reclaimed wood’s popularity run parallel to the popularity of the green building movement. It made more sense economically and environmentally to use reclaimed wood for constructions as wood is becoming limited in availability and the price of reclaimed wood is just as high as newly sawn wood due to the reclamation process. However, care is needed in installing reclaimed wood flooring as the wood’s patina and character can be ruined if the wood is not handled with care. 

How to Transform Old Wood

Reclaimed wood is tested for quality first by taking a core sample to determine its age and character. Unsound wood is discarded as the old wood is carefully dismantled. Solid wood is then examined by hand or metal detector to see if there are any metal lodged in the wood like nail. Any metal and the paint are removed before the wood is sawn into the finished boards.

The next step is kiln drying which is considered to be the trickiest part as the wood may have previously been exposed to higher moisture content. Moisture is brought up to 16 to 17 percent then dried down to 8 to 9 percent for normal use.

The boards can then be pre-finished or finished on site after drying. Changing the color of the wood with a stain is not recommended as you may lose the patina. Instead, it’s recommended to apply a high-resin tung oil over bare spots or the entire wood, eliminating the need to sand. Tung oil is also recommended with a water-based polymer to give the flooring a more refined look. For maintenance, it’s highly recommended to use vinegar and water for cleaning.

Choosing A Look You’ll Like

Houses of various styles can be enhanced with reclaimed wood flooring. For lodge and farmhouse-style houses, wide planks with worm holes and saw marks are usually installed as flooring. For Victorian style houses, antique woods with clear vertical grains and a few character marks may work. Whitewash antique oak is the current trend for contemporary style of houses.

Ultimately, the decision of what wood to choose and what features that you think will add the look of your home will be entirely up to you. So pick your flooring well and help the environment while you are at it!

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