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11 Reasons to Choose Reclaimed Barn Wood - Part 1

by Jake Park 

Reclaimed barn wood has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years, not just in rural homes but in high-end city apartments. No matter where they live, homeowners will love the unique character and charm of reclaimed wood. Read on to find out about just a few of the reasons modern consumers are using it for everything from bookcases and mantels to flooring, wall decor, and more.

Let's take a look at reasons 1-5 of 11 reasons to choose reclaimed barn wood for your home, office, getaway place, or other setting.

(For reasons 6-11 go here.)

Unique Character

Every piece of reclaimed barn wood is a little different, but all of them have a weathered beauty that gives them character and draws plenty of positive attention. Many pieces of reclaimed wood display unique and interesting character marks that further increase their visual appeal. As barn wood is exposed to the elements for years, decades, or longer, it develops a beautiful gray patina that forms a perfect complement to both rustic and contemporary home decorating schemes.

As it ages, reclaimed wood only becomes more beautiful. There’s no replicating that ageless distinction using modern production methods. The only way to incorporate a genuine, unique rustic character into a modern home, condo, or apartment is to source the reclaimed wood from a local farm or a seller who specializes in finding high-quality barn wood.

Environmental Stewardship

Wood may be considered a renewable resource, but the practices associated with modern forestry are not sustainable. Using reclaimed barn wood reduces the demand for new wood, which helps to protect the forests. Eco-friendly homeowners don’t have to feel bad about destroying natural habitats for birds, squirrels, and other critters to bring a touch of natural beauty into their own homes when they use reclaimed barn wood.

Habitat loss isn’t the only problem with using modern wood. Transporting and processing felled trees also consumes a vast amount of energy. Using reclaimed wood can reduce energy use by a factor of 11 to 13, helping to preserve natural resources and protect the environment that every living creature, including people, depends on for survival.

Inability to Source Newly Cut Old-Growth Wood

Old-growth forests require centuries to develop fully. When the timber industry in America was in its infancy, irresponsible logging practices led to the destruction of most old-growth trees, which produced denser wood and larger planks that fetched more money for landowners, lumberjacks, sawmills, and distributors. Today, old-growth forests are protected. Even if homeowners don’t care about protecting forest diversity and natural habitats, they can’t buy genuine old-growth wood, even if they want to.

Reclaimed barn wood is almost always made from old-growth trees. The boards are larger and the wood is denser, which is part of why it was able to withstand the test of time and decades, or even centuries, of exposure to the elements. Homeowners who want to use old-growth wood can still do so without running into legal problems as long as they source it responsibly by buying reclaimed wood.

Strong, Durable Timber

Older wood is stronger and more durable than timber cut and manufactured in the 20th and 21st centuries. Builders and homesteaders chose only the strongest, stablest, and most durable pieces of timber, so what’s left now is the best of the best.

Antique barns were originally constructed using virgin timber that grew and matured for hundreds of years, often sustaining most of their growth before the Industrial Revolution began generating air pollution. These optimal growing conditions also help to explain the strength, longevity, and unique timbre of reclaimed wood.

Indulging a Passion for History

Every piece of reclaimed barn wood has its own unique history. Some pieces are sourced from family farms looking to modernize their facilities, while others come from century-old homesteads. Buying reclaimed wood helps to preserve links to the past and allows homeowners to indulge their passion for history while simultaneously protecting natural forest ecosystems against future degradation.

Some homeowners like to purchase reclaimed barn wood directly from farmers so they can meet the people who used it and hear their stories. Others buy from companies or individuals who specialize in sourcing reclaimed wood. Either way, they’ll get the benefit of knowing that they have a genuine piece of American history adorning their walls, bringing the past to life, and preserving a link to those who made this country great.

For the next 6 reasons to choose reclaimed barn wood, check out Part 2 of our series. I bet you won't guess #6!

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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