March 24, 2017 Steve Shinn, CR

Using Reclaimed Wood in Your Remodel

Using reclaimed wood

 

The use of reclaimed wood is an idea that has appealed to a lot of people, and it’s not always related to being conscious about the environment. One major benefit is that it adds warmth, texture and character to the look of your home. It can instantly “age” a brand new kitchen. Reclaimed wood has a natural rawness to it that will add balance to an Industrial or Modern style home.  It has an aged patina and each piece of wood is unique with its’ inherent qualities and the natural weathering of the boards. Sliding barn doors 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. Along with old-growth cypress, teak is considered to be an exceptional wood for use in damp area, 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 slight 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 very old, some more than a hundred years, they may be covered in lead paint. Many pieces of old wood may contain nails or screws that must be removed before the 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 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, having all of your counters constructed of wood will be a maintenance nightmare. 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 up-keep. 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 Bedroom or Bathroom?

 

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.

The master bathroom is also a excellent place for reclaimed wood, as it will add a lot of warmth. It is a wonderful contrast to the cold finish materials we normally see in a bathroom like marble, granite, glass and tile.  Special considerations must be made in such a wet, humid area to protect the integrity of the wood. Proper ventilation is a must. All wood must be completely sealed, this usually takes more than one application. 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 very important to use a flexible silicone caulking for installation purposes.

Call or email us for a free in-home estimate

If you would like to discuss more ideas using reclaimed wood or get some ideas rolling on how to remodel your home, we can be reached at 602-478-5102 or Steve@HomeworkRemodels.com.

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