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11 Reasons to Choose Reclaimed Barn Wood - Part 2

by Jake Park 

Refer to Part 1 to start this series for reasons 1-5.

The increase in demand for reclaimed wood has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic started. People from big cities to small communities are seeing the value in using reclaimed barn wood their homes, shops, offices, and other settings.

Let's continue our list of 11 reasons to choose reclaimed wood for your projects with 6 - 11.

Wider Planks of Wood

Some pieces, such as mantels and deep bookshelves, require wide planks of wood that can only be sourced from old-growth trees. Newly harvested lumber isn’t even available in the widths associated with reclaimed barn wood. Homeowners can find incredibly large pieces of reclaimed wood, with widths up to two feet and lengths of 40 feet or more.

Since wide planks are in high demand, it’s easiest to source large pieces from a reputable supplier who knows local farmers and can find high-quality wood. Those who aren’t able to find a reputable local supplier may face long wait times and high prices, especially if they live far from the rural areas where reclaimed barn wood is typically found.

Stability and Longevity

Old-growth wood offers greater dimensional stability and longevity than newly harvested planks. Trees cut and harvested after many centuries were exposed to weather extremes and changes in climate over prolonged periods, which allowed them to create denser, stabler wood. This is especially relevant to homeowners who want to install reclaimed wood floors.

Even after being cut, reclaimed barn wood has continued to experience contractions and expansions due to temperature and humidity changes and has likely been exposed to at least a few inclement weather events. This makes it better able to handle the wear and tear of modern life, whether the wood is used for flooring, furniture, mantels, or other architectural features.

Good Return on Investment

If it has been responsibly sourced and properly finished, reclaimed barn wood holds its value very well. Once it has been installed in a modern home, it will provide an excellent return on investment. Its ability to withstand the test of time means that several decades from now, rare old-growth wood will be worth even more.

In contrast, newly milled lumber depreciates over time. It doesn’t age well, nor does it have the same unique character as authentic reclaimed barn wood. Homeowners who plan on leaving their properties to their heirs can rest assured that future generations will continue to enjoy the unique aesthetic beauty of reclaimed wood furniture and architectural features and that their estates will only continue to benefit from appreciation.

Re-Purposing Rare Woods

No responsible consumer or contractor would purchase newly milled, rare, exotic wood for a home improvement project. It’s not just environmentally irresponsible. It’s also illegal. However, purchasing reclaimed rare wood is a perfectly acceptable and guilt-free way to add value to any property.

Today, rare wood is hard to come by. When most of America was still composed of virgin forests, even rare woods were easily available and more affordable. Since quality timber gets its value not just from its inaccessibility but also its effectiveness as a building material, many buildings constructed with rare woods are still standing today and more of them are being torn down and re-purposed every year. Modern consumers will pay more for the wood than its original owners, but many buyers find that it’s worth the investment.

No Two Pieces Are Alike

Reclaimed barn wood doesn’t just get its unique character from the aging process. Since many historic barns were built before, during, or shortly after the Industrial Revolution, the wood used in their construction was not mass-produced. In some cases, it may even have been hewn and processed by hand.

Many pieces of reclaimed barn wood feature visually interesting surface textures, knots, and irregularities in the grain of the wood that are largely absent from mass-produced lumber. The originality of reclaimed barn wood is only improved upon when consumers buy individual timbers and create custom-made bookshelves, mantels, paneling, countertops, cabinets, and other types of furniture or architectural features.

Give Old Wood New Life

Were it not for modern homeowners’ newfound passion for reclaimed barn wood, this valuable, beautiful, and unique lumber would be left to rot. Using reclaimed barn wood for architectural features, flooring, and furniture gives it a new life while simultaneously adding to the visual appeal of just about any modern home.

This is especially true of distressed wood, which is popular among homeowners who want to create rustic interior designs with an authentic, eye-catching motif. Furniture made from distressed wood can, if finished and maintained correctly, last for centuries, so don’t be put off by the name. Ask suppliers if they have a source for high-quality distressed barn wood for furniture, accent walls, and other non-structural elements.

The Bottom Line

Every homeowner has a different set of reasons for investigating reclaimed barn wood as a building material. Whether they’re looking for high-quality, structurally sound timbers for framing a rustic-looking cabin, wide planks for making deep bookshelves, or distressed wood for fabricating unique, vintage art or furnishings, buyers should look for a reputable supplier in their areas who sources the wood from local farms. It’s the best way to incorporate a unique piece of history into a modern home.

Jake Park
I am a timber expert and serial woodworker dedicated to helping you get educated about the finest woods and materials in the world. Join in my journey on the Modern Timber Craft blog.

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