A lot of people think that reclaimed wood is just rubbish wood, full of nails and only good for the skip. How mistaken they are. Reclaimed timber is now extremely popular for many reasons: The wood’s unique appearance, its contribution to green building, the history of the woods origins and its physical characteristics, such as appearance, strength, stability and durability. Reclaimed seasoned wood has also already been exposed to changes in humidity and is therefore more stable, allowing it to be used with central heating systems, for example without having to wait for it to acclimatise.
But not all reclaimed wood is old! Huge amounts of wood are used then just thrown away – despite the fact that it is still perfectly re-useable. This ‘new’ wood is mainly reclaimed from the construction industry and would otherwise have gone to landfill, thus contributing to green house gas production.
Britain’s waste wood amounts to approximately 2% of the total waste and the United Kingdom currently consumes about 3% of the world’s wood production – quite a bit considering our island’s tiny size! You may not believe this but there is over 2.5 million tons of timber that is taken out of hospitals, libraries, churches, homes and pubs every year in the United Kingdom. More than half of it is burnt or discarded. Approximately 10% of this is tropical hardwood. Much of this old reclaimed wood is of very high quality so therefore it is a total waste of our precious resource.
Reclaimed wood is often in excellent condition and can be re-used in many different areas such as making things for the garden, i.e. trellis, plant boxes, fencing, bird boxes, sheds. For the inside the home, you can fix flooring, make wall paneling, ceilings, kitchen back splashes, architectural features, trim, wainscoting, counter tops, partitions, shelving, storage boxes… The list is endless.
With reclaimed material being so popular, it is becoming more difficult to source. With such a high demand, some sellers try to pass newer wood off as antique so be careful. Reclaimed wood is also an environmentally-friendly option that keeps quality wood out of the wood chipper and brings depth and character from the wood’s previous life.
Don’t forget it is also a fraction of the cost that you would normally pay in DIY stores. The cost of new wood is so expensive which unfortunately, this puts off many DIY wood enthusiasts which is a great shame because we all like put our hands to something so why not switch to reclaimed wood and save a fortune!