October 3, 2020 Steve Shinn, CR

Using Reclaimed Wood in Home Remodels

Using reclaimed wood in home remodels has been an on-trend design element for a few years now. It is an idea that appeals to a lot of people for reasons that extend beyond being solely conscious about the environment. One major benefit is the warmth it adds, as well as texture and character to the look of your home. It can instantly add an aged patina to a brand-new kitchen.

Reclaimed wood has a natural warmth to it that will add balance to an Industrial or Modern-style home.  Each piece of wood is unique with its’ inherent qualities and the natural weathering of the boards. Sliding barn doors, accent walls clad in wood, and ceiling beams are especially popular and it looks as though they will remain so for quite a while. Interior designers are seeing an increase in the number of clients requesting the addition of reclaimed wood into their new remodel. Here are a few things you should know about using reclaimed wood to make your newly remodeled space even more visually interesting.

Old but Not Unusable

The idea of using wood from an old building or shipping crate might lead to some worry about rot or insect damage. Reclaimed wood should always be thoroughly examined for those issues prior to use.  Not all reclaimed wood is equal in its properties.  Old-growth timber generally is denser than new wood harvested from younger trees. Therefore, it would be much better suited for a humid part of the home.  Teak, considered the most rot-resistant wood, is highly resistant to weather and moisture. Along with old-growth cypress, teak is an exceptional wood for use in the damp areas, such as a master bath.

Reclaimed wood may need refinishing and will require some amount of routine maintenance, but it can be well worth the extra effort and expense. One additional perk, by using reclaimed instead of new wood, you will not subject yourself and your family to the potentially dangerous off-gassing from a VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) which is found in new wood.

Other Notable Points

Even your own home can be a source of used wood if you are removing old cabinets or shelves. A big reason for the appeal of reclaimed wood is the fascinating details it contains. Odd knots, nail holes, and even the imperfections contribute to the character of the pieces. You may be lucky enough to find a rare species of reclaimed wood no longer being harvested. You will usually find reclaimed wood in different lengths and widths, but this is also considered a visual bonus.

Using reclaimed wood does come with a few challenges. Usually, it is best to have a professional deal with this material, even if you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer since many of the pieces are incredibly old, some more than a hundred years. Many pieces of old wood may contain nails or screws that must be removed before refinishing.

Using Reclaimed Wood

You can use reclaimed wood in any part of a home remodeling project that requires this material. Think about an interesting, one-of-a-kind table made from a vintage door. Sturdy and attractive shelves and cabinets can be constructed, as well. Repurposing wood to make your floors will significantly raise your costs, especially here in the southwest, where we have no 150-year-old barns to salvage!

If you have your heart set on the look of reclaimed wood floors, you have two options. You may want to consider using new wood, stain it to achieve the same look, and save yourself some money. The second option would be to use a porcelain plank tile flooring that resembles barn wood. Tile is more durable and less expensive. An accent wall of reclaimed wood would not be as expensive as doing all the flooring and would add a lot of visual interest and a sense of history to your home.

Where to Use Reclaimed Wood

In the kitchen, we would caution you to be careful with where you place wood in relation to wet areas. Using wood for a small butcher block counter is one thing, but having all your counters constructed of wood will be a maintenance challenge. These countertops would have to be refinished every few years, especially near the sink area. Spills would need to be wiped up immediately. This is definitely not a countertop material for everyone!

Some of our clients have asked about using reclaimed wood as their backsplash material. Again, we would caution you about the extra upkeep. It can be done; however, you would need to have the backsplash sealed multiple times with a lacquer type sealant. In a sleek industrial style kitchen, for instance, as a nice contrast, you may want to add open shelving made from reclaimed wood. Pairing reclaimed wood with other salvaged items like a vintage sink also adds drama and interest to your new space.

How about the Living Areas: Great Room, Bedroom, or Entry?

The Great Room is an excellent place to add an accent wall of reclaimed wood.  If you have a fireplace, a reclaimed wood mantle adds warmth and texture to the room. The master bedroom is a great place to add an accent wall of reclaimed wood, you may not even need to use a headboard.  In addition, an entry or a dining room is also a perfect place to add an accent wall of barn wood.

One other thing to be aware of when working with wood, it will swell and contract depending on the ambient temperature and the amount of humidity in the air. It is important to use a flexible silicone caulking for installation purposes.

 

Let Us Help You Love Your Home Again

As a home remodeler in the Greater Phoenix Area, we will help you do the homework to make the best decisions regarding your remodel.  If using reclaimed wood, we will make sure it goes in the right areas and make is visually stunning! Ready? Call us at (480)895-3442 to schedule your free 60-minute in-home or virtual consultation to get started! Our award-winning design team and craftsmen are ready to make your vision for your dream remodel a reality.

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