Are Wooden Kitchen Floors a Good Option?

When most people think of kitchen flooring, they think of tile or vinyl flooring, not wood. But to overlook wood flooring for your kitchen is to miss out on an opportunity to create a beautiful, durable, and reliable floor people will admire in what is probably the most popular room of your home.

One of the best reasons for choosing wooden kitchen floors is how wood can easily enhance the look of your kitchen. Wood adds an elegant touch and provides warm character to this hard-working space. In today’s more open floor plans, it also enables you to seamlessly transition from kitchen to dining to entertaining areas by tying the flooring together with a uniform look that supports a wide variety of architectural and interior-decorating styles.

Some of the many benefits of wooden kitchen floors include:

  • Design options multiple wood species, styles, and colors provide a wide range of choices and finishes to complement any kitchen.
  • Longevity Wood flooring is remarkably durable and can stand up to the high traffic of most kitchens for years.
  • Value Because it’s so durable, wood flooring can last for decades. Even when it’s finally showing some wear, it can often simply be refinished – no need to tear it up and replace it.
  • Easy maintenance Regular sweeping and damp mopping is usually all it takes to keep a wood floor looking its best.
  • Comfort Because wood is an organic material it’s easier on your feet and back than unforgiving tile or polished concrete. Wood is also warmer – a great benefit during New England’s cold winters.

Wooden floors showcase the natural beauty of wood grain and make any room appear warmer and more elegant, including kitchens. Wooden kitchen floors can be purchased prefinished or unfinished and come in a wide range of colors and tones, making it easy to find a look that coordinates with any kitchen design.

A popular wood flooring option is reclaimed and recycled lumber. Nothing adds unique character and interest to flooring as the wide planks of antique lumber as well as the marks and general wear-and-tear that hints at an interesting previous life of the wood. Here at Bingham Lumber, we source all of our reclaimed lumber from responsible and respected suppliers and then carefully remill and recondition the wood as needed to give it added life and make it compatible with modern building standards.

So if you’re in the process of building or renovating a kitchen, consider wood flooring to add beauty, durability, and value. To learn more about the benefits of wood flooring and the various woods available, talk with the experts here at Bingham Lumber.

Make Your Mantel a Focal Point

Beam Mantel

Regardless of the design or architectural style of a room, when a fireplace is present, it is almost always the central element that attracts the eye and invites people to come to sit by it. In addition, the natural stone, brick, or other hard construction materials used in a fireplace make it the perfect place to use a contrasting, organic material such as wood in a custom mantel.

Natural wood has a richness and warmth that can’t be found in other materials. Used as a fireplace mantel, reclaimed wood that has been finished to highlight the natural grain and take center stage in the design can add the right amount of depth and warmth to the room as a whole. This is perfect for living rooms, family rooms, and other areas where you want to encourage people to gather and feel comfortable.

A reclaimed wood mantel is an ideal, versatile feature that can complement virtually any style and decor. Antique wood that still shows the saw marks and nail holes of its original use has an authentically rustic appearance that can blend easily with fieldstone, drystack stone surrounds, and other rustic designs. Reclaimed wood mantels began their lives in another place and time, and still show many of their original marks and signs of age, wear, weathering, and patina. The simplicity of the mantel adds interest and character by itself, or when accentuated with artwork and other decorative elements.

Reclaimed wood comes from numerous sources, such as old farmhouses and buildings, often more than a century old. The lumber can be from many species of wood, and may show marks from its growth, milling, and use, enabling the wood used for your mantel to take on a unique look and characteristics.

At Bingham Lumber, we specialize in reclaimed lumber and often receive truckloads of it, which we carefully separate, clean, and gently remill when necessary to improve its appearance and usability. Our top quality reclaimed mantel wood generally falls into one of three categories of original milling:

Live edge: This term refers to an edge of the wood that has not been cut by a saw blade; this leaves an irregularly shaped edge that is unique to each piece.

Hand hewn: This old style of processing used hand tools such as an adze and slick (a kind of large chisel) that, in the old days, were the only way to turn a round tree into a square beam.

Circular sawn: The circular saw blades used to process lumber back in the day left a unique texture to the wood that we often reproduce on our classic plank flooring because some customers love the textured, old-fashioned look it creates.

The fireplace is one of the most important design features in a room. To highlight yours, make the mantel the focal point with the attractive, dramatic, or soft natural look of reclaimed wood. For more design ideas and help selecting just the right wood and look, talk to our reclaimed wood experts here at Bingham Lumber.

How to Use Salvaged Building Materials in New Construction

Using reclaimed materials in your new construction or renovation project can add touches of authentic charm, regardless of your architectural style. As an added bonus, salvaged construction materials can save you money and contribute to a more environmentally-friendly build. 

The warmth and character of wood is hard to beat, and reclaimed wood often tells the story of its previous life with every nick, scratch and nail hole—all of which add charm, character and authenticity to new builds. Wood flooring is especially popular and can come from any number of sources: barn demolitions, old homes and factory buildings – even shipping pallets. If you bought a piece of property to build on, you can even utilize any timber and rock you clear from your own land. 

When considering reclaimed wood, don’t limit yourself to just floor boards. Think about repurposing old wainscoting, beams, handrails, crown molding, doors, and other materials that can find new uses as decorative features and accents. For some especially ornate or desirable antique pieces, the cost of the salvaged piece itself may be higher, but its architectural significance will add overall value to your home. Likewise, a salvaged piece can sometimes add so much character to a room that a more modest, less expensive design is best to complement the salvaged showpiece. 

Using salvaged material is more an art than a science due to the unique ages, structures, sizes and shapes of the materials. Because no two boards, bricks, or metal pieces are ever identical, there are no standard practices when it comes to using salvaged materials, which is what makes working with them so exciting, as well as challenging. Using salvage requires planning, especially if the material will be used structurally and has to meet building code specifications. 

A great example of how to work efficiently with salvaged materials was featured in an episode of PBS’s popular DIY program, This Old House, in which a centuries-old house was renovated using a significant amount of material salvaged from the original construction. Most of the old kitchen floor was pulled up and an exterior wall was taken down, resulting in a stack of pine floorboards, subflooring, and sheathing in various widths and lengths. The keepers were set aside so that nails can be removed and surface debris sloughed off with coarse sandpaper. A fireplace surround was built using brick from an 1800s chimney that was torn down in the kitchen, and a wood post from a demolished wall was repurposed for the mantel.

Feeling inspired to use reclaimed or salvaged materials in your next project? We’d be happy to help. Here at Bingham Lumber, we offer a wide range of reclaimed wood siding, flooring, and trim that has been carefully re-milled and renewed to make it easy to use in modern construction. Drop by or give us a call today!

Create a DIY Mini-Greenhouse with Recycled Windows

With so many of us spending more time at home these days, you might be looking for a fun, easy-to-do project for yourself that can even involve your kids and get you outdoors and growing things. A tiny, do-it-yourself greenhouse made from recycled windows will add some color and a little whimsy to your backyard while encouraging you to do some gardening that’s also fun and productive. 

Start by collecting some old windows. You may already have some lying around in the basement, garage, or backyard shed that can be repurposed for your greenhouse. No old windows on hand? Try a yard or garage sale, ask friends and family, or try your local recycling center – it’s usually not too hard to find the odd window or two in a variety of places.

Follow these simple steps to build your greenhouse in no time: 

  • Check your windows for old lead paint using a lead paint test kit, clean them up a bit, maybe repaint them, or leave them as is for a more antique, distressed look
  • Screw some 1”x4” inch lumber cut to size onto the bottoms of three windows to create a sturdy base ledge around the bottom of your greenhouse
  • Attach three windows together using L-brackets to create the three walls
  • Attach the fourth window with hinges to create a door – vintage hardware will add a more antique look
  • Add a doorknob or other handle – if you’re going for the antique look, an old cut-glass doorknob would be perfect
  • Assemble an A-frame roof using 2”x2” pine lumber screwed together
  • Use recycled decorative tin or other flexible sheet metal to add a roof
  • Add shelf brackets or hangers inside for flower pots and planters
  • Mount your greenhouse to an old table with screws – paint to match if desired
  • You’re done!

Now all you have to do to get your garden started is select some beautiful flowering plants that like the sun. You could even add herbs and vegetables to supplement your summer meals. Check out this short DIY Network video to see how quickly and easily your greenhouse can come together.

DIY Decorating Ideas: Turning Old Windows into New Decor

With a history dating back over 400 years, New England has no shortage of old things, including many old buildings full of beautiful, high quality architectural items such as wide-plank flooring, wonderfully distressed barn siding, massive beams and other elements that can be put to good use in new, renovated, and restored homes. 

One element in particular often gets overlooked when people salvage materials from old buildings – windows. This is a shame because windows are highly useful, versatile features that can be repurposed for almost unlimited new uses.

Here are just a few basic window-repurposing ideas that can be simple and easy DIY projects for homeowners of all skill level:

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Simple Farmhouse Window Treatments and Other Reclaimed Wood DIY Projects

Reclaimed Antique Oak Island Top
Reclaimed Oak Island top

Reclaimed wood from old barns, houses, and other structures has become popular for a number of good reasons – it’s a great way to reuse a valuable resource; old wood is often of higher quality than modern, new lumber; and every piece of reclaimed wood has a unique character and look from wear and tear, to name a few.

While reclaimed barnboard, paneling, and flooring are favorites for bigger projects such as antique hardwood floors and accent walls, it’s also ideal for smaller, do-it-yourself projects regardless of your woodworking skill level.

For example, an old, weathered plank makes a perfect farmhouse-style window treatment. Simply select a piece that appeals to you, such as one from our reclaimed wide plank paneling, cut it to fit over your window, screw it into place, and attach evenly-spaced 1¼” vinyl-coated cup hooks to hang a sheer tab curtain. Then tie or drape your curtains to suit your taste and room décor. It’s that easy!

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Doing it yourself? Well, you’re not alone.

Reclaimed Brown Barn Board Paneling in Narrow WidthsDo It Yourself home improvement is a growing phenomenon these days as the internet abounds with do-it-yourself (DIY) websites, blogs, forums, social media and other ways for individuals to check out cool DIY projects such as handicrafts, woodworking, and even furniture-making.

Maybe you’ve even decided you’d like to try your hand at your very own DIY project. After all, winter’s a great time to do a little research, look around, and check out an interesting project or two to start in the spring. Perhaps you saw a beautiful table, bookcase, chair, or sign on Pinterest or Instagram. So how do you get started?

First, think about the kind of wood you’ll need for your project and what you’d like to use – there are hardwoods and softwoods in a variety of textures, grains, and colors. There’s new lumber and beautiful reclaimed lumber – decades or even centuries-old, high-quality panels, planks, and timbers from old homes, barns, and other buildings. Here at Bingham Lumber we procure the finest reclaimed lumber from respected sources throughout the Northeast to ensure the highest quality and then we remill it for a wide range of uses.

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Taking Care of Your Wood Floor

image of a floor being cleanedA wood floor — especially one crafted from vintage, reclaimed, wide-plank lumber – is not only a thing of beauty, it’s one of durability when properly cared for. Wood flooring that has received a quality finish using an appropriate finishing product is relatively easy to care for and will provide many years of use and pleasure.

A little knowledge goes a long way in maintaining your wood floors, so get to know your specific type of flooring and finish and rely on the manufacturer’s or supplier’s instructions for proper care. Research your particular finish so you’ll know which cleaners can be used without damaging your floor or finish. Never use cleaners designed for other surfaces such as tile, lineoleum, or laminate on hardwood — these will dull the surface or cause it to become overly slippery,

Sweep your floors regularly with a soft broom – this will not only keep them clean but also naturally buff the surface of the flooring and keep it from scratching – and use a dry towel whenever possible to wipe up messes and spills. Use as little water as possible and immediately wipe up any wet spots. Do NOT use oil soaps because they will leave residue, build up, and eventually dull the surface, making refinishing difficult.

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The Difference Between Strip Flooring and Plank Flooring

IMG_8605Years ago, wall-to-wall carpeting was viewed by many as the ultimate flooring for new homes – a vast expanse of soft, warm, cushiony flooring that seemed ideal for young families moving into new homes in the suburbs.

However, hardwood flooring has seen a revival in recent years as homeowners have rediscovered the beauty and value of durable, attractive, versatile hardwood that remains long after carpeting has worn out and faded. Today, hardwood flooring is recognized as a highly-sought-after, top-quality flooring that maintains its value over the years and helps homes appraise higher and sell faster than homes with synthetic carpeting. Also, many individuals with allergies and asthma have turned to hardwood flooring over carpet because of the reduction in allergens associated.

If you’re a builder or buyer looking for high quality hardwood flooring, there are two types in particular that are popular but can be confusing because of their relatively similar look and names: hardwood strip flooring and hardwood plank flooring. We’ll explain the difference here and why plank flooring is the better overall value.

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The Reclaimed Story

At Bingham Lumber we are able to yield an extremely high percentage of usable fiber from the salvaged timbers, roofing boards, and barn boards. The reason we are able to be an industry leader in percentage is the way we approach the milling process. We rely on our 70 years of sawmill experience to use different techniques to increase the usage of this recycled fiber. Continue reading “The Reclaimed Story”