Salvaged Woods: Pros and Cons

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Salvaged WoodsSalvaged wood is any old, repurposed wooden material that has been taken from other structures and reused for another purpose. It might be deconstructed into smaller pieces to fit a different design requirement or used as initially intended in the new structure. Sources can include barns, homes, ships & boxcars, railroad ties, or bowling alleys. However, salvaged woods may also come from pallets leftover after delivery on trucks, etc.

New uses for this recycled resource could include flooring walls, countertops desks, tables swing accent walls, finish cabinetry, siding exterior, trim moldings, floors, ceilings, beams, staircases, doorknobs, doorways, windows, furniture, bars counters for kitchens, tabletops sculptures, garden features, yard art, firewood fencing, pet beds, bird feeders, and wooden toys.

Like all materials, salvaged woods or reclaimed wood has not only benefits but also has some drawbacks. Here are some of the pros & cons of salvaged wood that have been given below.

The Pros of Salvaged Wood

  • Salvaged woods or reclaimed wood is eco-friendly because it has been repurposed from an older resource, reducing the need to create new materials. This saves energy and reduces CO2 emissions. However, one must consider where the initial wood came from to determine just how much ‘green’ is in it. For example, if the wood came from a barn or home, the energy expended on deconstruction is relatively tiny compared to cutting down a tree and milling it into lumber. But no matter what, using reclaimed wood is always preferable to creating new wood from virgin materials.
  • Salvaged woods or reclaimed materials have various applications. Salvaged wood can be used to make furniture, flooring, countertops, or other decorative purposes. You can use it to build reclaimed hardwood floors and decking or wall paneling. They are often cheaper than new lumber because they have already been harvested once and may even be considered antique.
  • Salvaged materials have great strength. Salvaged woods is up to 40 points harder on the Janka hardness scale than virgin wood because it often comes from old-growth trees instead of first-generation forests. The exact type of reclaimed wood you use depends on where it was initially used. Many barns, for example, are built using oak beams because this species of tree is so strong and can handle the weight from the rest of the structure. Salvaged materials have been milled to precise designs, making them rely on one another for structural integrity.
  • Even exotic wood is becoming a sustainability no-no in the design world. However, there are some exceptions for reclaimed lumber. Salvaged wood is one of the most sustainable options for building materials because it’s already been harvested once. Salvaging lumber is recycling at its best.
  • Salvaged woods or reclaimed woods are great for furniture-making, especially when you need a material with character and a unique look that cannot be easily replicated using new-growth hardwood trees.
  • The aged and weathered look of reclaimed wood is a desired, unique feature that you won’t find in newer materials. Salvaged wood can add rustic charm to your home while reducing costs because it is often sold at a lower price. Salvaged hardwood flooring, for example, has an aged and worn look that’s pleasing and not too flashy or gaudy like some new materials would be.
  • Salvaged woods adds to the appeal of your finished project because it has a story that contributes. Sources can include old barns, ships crates, decommissioned buildings, schools homes, railroads pallets, and more. Salvaged wood is an excellent option if your design calls for something with character and fascinating history.
  • Salvaged woods is perfect for those looking to do some DIY home projects. You can work it into many different interior and exterior renovations, such as laying flooring and reusing beams as architectural elements in your home building furniture.

The Cons of Salvaged Woods

  • A lot of work goes into producing salvaged lumber, and the price reflects this. A reputable dealer with certifications from organizations will charge more for their product because they have put in a great deal of effort to reform it by sorting and preparing wood previously deemed unsafe for consumers. This process is known as “nail pulling.” If you know how to handle lumber, some circumstances will allow the deconstruction of wood products to mitigate costs.
  • To ensure that the salvaged wood you use is safe, be sure to test it. If your source of reclaimed lumber isn’t a company or someone who can guarantee its safety, do research on what types of chemicals and preservatives may have been used before sourcing from them.
  • Before retrieving your salvaged lumber or deconstructing an item to get wood, inspect it for signs of damage. Signs can include asymmetrical holes in the lumber, bugs present on the surface area, and crumbling once touched. If you are using salvaged wood as a building material, then kiln-drying is recommended, but only if there’s no sign of infestation.
  • Splinters or other organic matter may be hidden in salvaged wood if you don’t purchase it from a reputable company that sorts and processes it. Handling the lumber with gloves is a good idea, as well as inspecting for nails or any other items of concern before beginning your project.

Salvaged wood is an eco-friendly option for homeowners who want to use reclaimed materials in their homes. While the aesthetic of salvaged woods may not be what everyone is looking for, there are many benefits that outweigh the cons when it comes to using this type of material. If you’re unsure about whether or not salvaged wood will work in your project, contact Eric Christopher Art today! Our team has many years of experience helping our customers find a custom solution that works best for them, and they can’t wait to help you too.

Final Thoughts

If you consider adding salvaged wood to your next home renovation or construction job, take some time to weigh the pros and cons of this material type before making any decisions. It is essential that you understand how it will affect both the design’s aesthetics as well as its durability. In addition, it is helpful to know what types of salvaged woods are available to make an educated decision on which one would suit your needs best.

We can help answer these questions! Contact our team today for more information about salvaged lumber options in Sebastopol, California, and pricing quotes for all materials we offer at Eric Christopher Art.

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