If you flip through any home design magazines, or browse through online resources or forums on home décor or staging trends, one of the ideas that will be sure to grab your attention is the rising popularity of reclaimed wood as an option for design. Because reclaimed wood is repurposed from previous use, it is considered as more environment-friendly and a much greener option than having to cut down new trees. With the emphasis on ecologically sustainable options for furniture and flooring, it is no wonder why reclaimed wood has seen a surge in popularity lately.
There are many advantages to the use of reclaimed wood, but you also have to be mindful of some of the downsides to using reclaimed wooden furniture and flooring. Some unscrupulous people have sought to cash in on this trend by deceptively marketing some of their products as “reclaimed”. Before purchasing anything reclaimed, ask for a certification from a reputable organization such as the Forest Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance.
Depending on the source of the reclaimed lumber, there may be some toxins or chemicals in the original wood itself, or as it is treated and prepared for reuse by the manufacturer. Chemicals, paints, preservatives, adhesives, insecticides, lead, and other compounds can be a problem for you or someone in your household. Make sure to get full disclosure on what toxins may be present in the reclaimed wood, and have the necessary precautions applied.
Generally, furniture or flooring options made from reclaimed wood command a higher price tag mainly because of the process that it has to undergo before it is ready for reuse. However, you may be able to offset this higher cost by doing the reclamation yourself if you are knowledgeable or have had some experience with it before.
When it comes to the strength and quality of the wood, reclaimed lumber is hard to beat. Reclaimed wood can be up to 40 points sturdier on the Janka hardness scale compared to virgin wood, mainly because it comes from old-growth trees rather than first-generation trees. Some reclaimed wood is taken from old barns or structures that have stood the test of time.
Reclaimed wood also has a certain rustic, classic appeal to it. It goes well with antique designs and staging plans, but also blends in with modern, contemporary furnishings, making for a versatile option. You will find a wide variety of designs, colors, and textures that would suit the designing or staging plans you have in mind.