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Why Can Reclaimed Wood Be Expensive?

by Jake Park 

Reclaimed wood has become increasingly popular over the last decade and is a staple in many home remodeling projects seen on television. People sometimes mistakenly believe reclaimed wood is an inexpensive choice. In reality, reclaimed wood is often more expensive than modern or manufactured wood simply because of the rich history it offers. With this guide, you will learn more about reclaimed wood. Although it is not a bargain selection, there are many reasons reclaimed wood has become a prized treasure for construction and remodeling.

What Is Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood is a high-quality wood that has been removed from buildings before remodeling or demolition. Often, reclaimed wood comes from old barns that have been torn down, allowing for the wood to be upcycled for new projects.

Many people choose reclaimed wood because they want the rich history it brings. Even if you do not know the story behind a piece of reclaimed wood, each mark gives it a unique look modern wood simply cannot duplicate even when distressing techniques are used.

Reclaimed wood also helps the environment. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, around one-million feet of lumber can be reclaimed from demolished buildings.

How Is Wood Reclaimed?

Salvaging wood from a demolition or remodeling project can be time-consuming because great care must be taken so as not to damage the wood. Even though the salvage process is slow, energy expenditure can be reduced when compared to producing new virgin lumber.

As a part of the process, reclaimed wood must go through a kiln-drying procedure that helps to stabilize it. Over many years, barn wood can develop mold and a very rugged exterior. Once dried, the mold spores are destroyed, and the reclaimed wood is then ready for milling.

Milling removes the outermost layers of the reclaimed lumber, exposing its beauty. After milling, the wood is in its most exquisite form and is ready to be shipped to suppliers and buyers alike.

Should any wood not measure up to the high standards of quality control, it can be used for creating usable wood projects, such as pallets. If the wood is of deficient quality, it can be ground for mulch or even used as firewood.

Reclaimed Wood Is Durable

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding reclaimed wood revolves around its strength. Without full knowledge of reclaimed wood, it would seem feasible that it would be weaker than modern wood, but this is not the case.

Reclaimed wood is often far superior in strength compared to modern or manufactured wood. This type of wood is much different than modern varieties. For one, trees were allowed to grow hundreds of years before being cut down and used for timber. There was also much less air pollution, making for denser and healthier lumber.

Because of its superior strength, it is highly prized. When purchasing reclaimed wood, you are not getting a worn down piece of lumber. This wood is virgin wood and is a slightly more expensive timber option, but well worth the cost.

Reclaimed Barn Wood Has a Rich History

If you could view the memories of reclaimed wood pieces, it would be amazing to witness. Each scratch, dent, and ding tells a story of days gone. Some people believe they can feel the presence of life in each piece. Many people purchase reclaimed wood solely for the history it brings with it to any building or remodeling project.

Reclaimed Wood Is Becoming Scarcer

When the demand for any product rises, keeping up with production becomes more arduous. In the case of reclaimed wood, there is only so much wood available, and more of it is being upcycled than ever before.

Reclaimed wood will eventually become more difficult to find due to its popularity. Simple economics makes it clear that when the demand goes up so do the costs. Its popularity is one of the reasons you are going to pay slightly more when purchasing reclaimed wood.

It is now more challenging to find one-hundred-year-old barns and other buildings that bring rich layers of history. Eventually, reclaimed wood from barns and other structures of historical value is going to be harder to discover. Because the supply may at some point become dangerously low, buyers can expect to pay more for reclaimed wood now and even more so in the future.

Benefits of Choosing Reclaimed Wood for Projects

There are multiple benefits of using reclaimed wood in building and woodworking projects. The many benefits are what have led people to purchase reclaimed wood in increasing numbers.

  • Reclaimed wood has many uses and can become flooring, walls, and furniture, among many others.
  • Anything that can be done to save the destruction of trees is an admiral pursuit. When people purchase reclaimed wood, they are lessening their carbon footprint.
  • Reclaimed wood can be as much as 35-40 points higher on the Janka hardness scale. This rating means the wood is going to be much denser and durable.
  • While exotic wood is still a prime choice, deforestation is resulting in dwindling supplies. Choosing reclaimed wood allows individuals to purchase exotic wood without guilt.
  • Because the reclaimed wood has been through many years of use, it has a charming and distinctive look that is very difficult to recreate with new lumber.

Conclusion

While purchasing reclaimed wood may not lead to money savings, it will bring a lot of unique character to any wood project. Reclaimed wood offers history and presence that cannot be found in manufactured or new wood.

When purchasing reclaimed barn wood, make sure to ask how the wood has been treated. Reclaimed lumber needs to be kiln-dried to a temperature of at least 140 degrees to kill any mold and insect pests that may be present. Remember that reclaimed wood is not the same as salvaged wood. Purchase reclaimed wood from a reputable dealer, and you will be able to rest assured the wood will offer a beautiful addition to any remodeling, building, or woodworking project.

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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