The growing trend in home renovations is upcycling, reclaiming, and reusing discarded materials to create new accent pieces, décor, and even furniture. It has a staple place in the homes of environmentally concerned individuals and it has now found its way to the hearts of rustic and loving, DIY enthusiasts too.
Salvaging and repurposing reclaimed wood and other used materials has many advantages as well as disadvantages. Although it is a unique and interesting sustainable resource, it is always good to check if this is the right choice fit for your home and lifestyle. If you are interested in trying this trend, mainly using reclaimed wood on your next project, weigh in the following pros and cons to ensure you are getting the best for your home.
What is reclaimed wood?
Any wood that has been previously used and discarded is reclaimed wood. It goes through the process of deconstruction if it comes from a previous form to be able to use it again for another project. Reclaimed wood can come from different infrastructures like old houses, barns, or even wooden cargo boxes from ships. The wood comes from different parts of these sources such as walls, flooring, and furniture. Because of these varied sources and their old forms and use, reclaimed wood greatly varies on texture, look, size, quality, grain, color, and more. There are no two reclaimed woods that are the same, so you are getting more character and unique novelty touch on each piece.
What are the Pros of using reclaimed wood?
Reclaimed wood has a rugged look that is genuine and unique to each piece. This counts as a novelty item if that is your DIY niche. It can be made into a great conversational piece because it can make a one of kind furniture or accent into your home. Every piece comes with a history and story that you could sculpt and mold into a new purpose and home. If you love the rustic style and look, reclaimed wood is your authentic way to achieve this aesthetic.
Quality and strength
Reclaimed wood has gone through a drying and curing process raking up to 40 points harder on the Janka hardness scale compared to virgin wood. This makes it a quality choice for furniture that will hold ample weight such as tables and chairs. The strength of reclaimed wood compared to virgin wood is also because virgin wood often comes from young trees that are planted for logging.
Using reclaimed wood is eco-friendly as it helps decrease the demand for newly sourced lumber and helps reduce wastes from manufacturing new lumber. Reclaimed wood will also help reduce landfill waste by repurposing materials that are just thrown away.
Because it is safe to be repurposed and strong enough to hold new forms, you can use it in multiple ways. Use it for home accents, shelves, flooring, furniture, and anything you would usually use new wood on.
What are the Cons of using reclaimed wood?
Because there is a rising demand for reclaimed wood, there have been counterfeit wood claiming to be reclaimed when it came from newly cut low-grade wood. It is best to check with your dealer’s certification for reclaiming and repurposing reclaimed wood before you buy it.
Although reclaimed wood can easily be found in most deconstructed infrastructures and wooden items, it is still a finite resource that is unmatched for the rise in demand. With this comes a higher price from your dealer. But if you can and you want to outsource the wood yourself, or you can find infrastructures or someone you know has an infrastructure to be deconstructed, and you can help out and ask for the wood that they will not need anymore.
Pests and other unwanted materials
Thoroughly inspect reclaimed wood before and after purchase to ensure that it is properly treated to get rid of pests and unwanted materials before bringing it in your home. Some reclaimed wood might still have nails and rough patches that can pose dangers if unseen. Always use gloves when inspecting reclaimed wood.
It may be exciting to start creating something unique with your reclaimed wood. But chances are it will be hard to have an easy fitting to your construction plan. This is because reclaimed wood does not come in standard cuts and vary in sizes and shapes. Know that when working with reclaimed wood you are experimenting and trying out how to fit it all together to its new form.