How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Sourcing the Wood (Part 4 of 5)

Last week I talked about the importance of knowing wood trends when remodeling with reclaimed wood flooring, and this week I want to talk about how you can source the right reclaimed wood flooring for your project.

Ordering reclaimed wood has its quirks.  Reliable, established suppliers provide greater consistency, better customer service and certified wood, but this comes at possibly (but not necessarily!) a premium price.  Smaller companies may have lower overhead, but they also may not have the supply or consistency required for something as important as your personal home interior.

A common complaint is, “I loved the look of the sample, but when I went to order they no longer had that barn wood and offered me a different material.”  Armed with this information, you should ask about availability up front.  In some cases you might acquire the wood floor and store it until you need it to avoid supply problems, or go with a larger or more reliable company.

Know Your Terminology:
Recycled” and “reclaimed” typically refer to materials sourced from dismantled buildings or other wood products that have served their original purpose and then re-milled into new flooring.  “Salvaged” generally refers to existing flooring that was removed from an existing building and repurposed.  Both are decent options, but they have their own caveats.

For example, salvage may have an existing finish that may need to be tested for suitability in modern construction, and using the existing tongue and groove can pose more challenges at the time of installation.  Freshly milled reclaimed wood, even rustic face, has a new tongue and groove allowing for seamless installation and many different options for finishing.  With reclaimed it good to ask your supplier if it has been kiln dried for stability.  In the case of salvage the material is old enough that kiln drying is probably not required.

Consider FSC® Certified Wood:
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the global standard for responsible forestry.  This certification is your assurance that the product meets international sustainability goals, including criteria regarding humane labor as well as reclamation and forest management.  FSC certification is a rigorous process, and it is an outward symbol of a company’s commitment to sustainability.

Do It Yourself:
Of course, one option is to find reclaimed wood and get it milled yourself.  This could end up being more time consuming and costly than buying from another supplier, but you will get a custom look and it will definitely add a new dimension to the story of the floor.  If you go this route, you will need to arm yourself with additional information such as if the wood contains any metal, the moisture content, and test the wood if it is painted.

Next week: How to Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring – The Finish Details


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