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Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Reclaimed Floorboards Lend Character

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reclaimed floorboards

Reclaimed wood floors add warmth and texture

elmwoodreclaimedtimber.com

"My wood floors lined the inside of wine barrels in a previous life." Can you imagine using that line at your next cocktail party? Reclaimed floorboards not only infuse your home with character and provide a conversation starter, but they also qualify as a very eco-friendly building material. Let's take a look at where they come from, where to buy them and how they affect your green home renovation.

Where do reclaimed floorboards come from?
Reclaimed floorboards may be salvaged from a variety of sources. Chances are, they weren't floorboards to begin with but served some other type of structural purpose. Common sources include:

  • Old buildings that have been demolished or stripped
  • Fences
  • Railroad cars
  • Wine barrels
  • Retired mills

What are common types of reclaimed floorboards?
Back in the old days, hundreds-year-old trees were hand-hewn into beautiful boards and other structural members. Modern forestry practices don't allow trees to age as long, and wide plank floors are a rare find. Additionally, many of the tree species that comprise reclaimed wood members are endangered or extremely expensive sources of wood today, including:

  • Longleaf pine
  • Heart pine
  • Elm
  • Cypress
  • Chestnut
  • Oak

Reclaimed flooring advantages:

  • Keeps old wood out of the landfill
  • Prevents the cutting down of trees
  • Contributes to LEED points
  • Stability and durability
  • Character and back story
  • Wider plank options
  • May be installed with radiant heating

Disadvantages:

  • Expense
  • Some devious sellers make false claims about age and origin
  • May contain nails or other metal pieces, making sawing difficult
  • Shipping costs and use of fossil fuels
  • Off-gassing from treatments with harmful chemicals

Where can you buy reclaimed floorboards?
You can't drive to Home Depot or Lowe's and purchase antique, salvaged wood floors. Though it requires a little more sleuthing, you can purchase reclaimed floorboards from a variety of sources:

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