Anyone thinking about having hardwood flooring installed in their home should give strong consideration to using reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood also goes by some other names, like salvaged wood and antique wood. There are many companies in the United States that specialize in providing reclaimed wood to homeowners and builders.
These companies scour the cities and towns of the United States--sometimes around the world--looking for old buildings that have been slated for demolition. They inspect the wood beams, columns, and flooring used in the construction of the buildings, which are often over 100 years old, looking for wood that is in good shape and suitable for being re-milled into beautiful, eco-friendly flooring. These companies also find old barns that are in disrepair. While not usable as barns any longer, these often contain beautiful wood beams and columns.
The reclaimed wood is transported back to the company's milling facility and sawed down into flooring of many different widths and thicknesses. Most reclaimed wood is available in widths from 3" to 10" and in 3/4" or 1/2" thickness although custom sizes are usually available. Sometimes a company discovers more exotic woods, but these reclaimed woods are the most common:
Reclaimed wood is also available in several different grades. People who prefer a rustic look will usually pick a Country or Traditional grade which will have original nail holes, knots and color variations. If you prefer a more elegant look, then choose a vertical grain pine, or select grade oak or chestnut--all of which will have tight grain, small tight knots, and few if any nail holes.
Reclaimed wood is installed the same as any modern hardwood. If you have installed hardwood flooring before, you should have no problem installing reclaimed wood. If you haven't, finding a flooring installation contractor is recommended.
Reclaimed wood is installed with a hand or power nailer and then sanded down after installation. Most people prefer the natural, aged patina of reclaimed wood, so it receives no stain after installation. Instead, it typically gets a coating of tung oil and paste wax for protection. Your flooring installation contractor should be able to do the complete job.
Your new reclaimed wood floor might come with some interesting history. The company that reclaimed it should be able to tell you about the building it came from, so be sure to inquire. By using reclaimed wood you not only have a beautiful floor, but you've given the wood a second life, and saved new trees from being cut to provide you with flooring.About the author: Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I. and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time.