Regardless of whether you have an older home or are building a brand-new one, reclaimed wood is an excellent architectural and décor accent that can add personality, interest, and uniqueness to your abode. But what exactly is reclaimed wood? Loosely defined, it’s wood that has been used in previous building or woodworking projects, and it’s often found at recycling centers, at the junkyard, from properties with old or demolished buildings, or even online.
A word of caution, though: with the explosion in popularity of reclaimed wood, growing demand has also caused a surge in reclaimed lumber from questionable sources that are of low quality. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for – and to go through a reputable dealer you can trust, such as Bingham Lumber. If you happen to have your own source for reclaimed wood, here are some helpful tips for choosing good wood:
Make sure the wood is dry and tight. Damp or degraded wood are signs that it is less than optimal and no amount of sanding and refinishing is going to fix that.
Make sure the wood is stable. Check for things like soft or moldy spots and active insect holes.
Have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Want a western, frontier effect? Look for rougher, weathered reclaimed barn wood. Attempting a softer, antique look? Select gently worn, smoother wood, such as reclaimed hardwood flooring.
Be safety-conscious. Some reclaimed wood has old nails, screws, and bits of wire still embedded in it. Be sure to carefully examine your wood and remove any potentially-dangerous items. Old paint could contain lead that should be carefully removed.
Once you have your reclaimed wood in hand, here are 8 ways you can incorporate it into your home to create a variety of different effects:
Kitchen island paneling Center islands can be functional and fashionable. Use reclaimed wood to cover the sides of your kitchen island and dramatically change the appearance of what is probably the most popular room in your home.
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets Similar in effect as covering a center island, cabinets faced with reclaimed wood oozes rustic charm. Add simple, iron knobs or pulls to complete the look.
Room accent wall Reclaimed wood with distinctive markings such as knots, a deep grain, and contrasting visual textures can complement all kinds of furniture and turn a room from drab to dramatic. Makes a great backdrop for a bed or sofa.
Exterior siding This requires just the right structure, but exterior siding reclaimed from old barn siding can be used just like traditional wood siding. This might work best for a rustic summer home in the woods or mountains, a small getaway cabin, or even a backyard shed.
A western bar Forget tiki-, Vegas- or sports-themed bars – a walkup bar with rustic hand-hewn beams and reclaimed wood cabinets and paneling creates an authentic western feel that’s just right for conjuring up images of thirsty cowboys ponying up to the bar for a drink.
Built-in beds Make simple, solid platform beds with drawers underneath for durable, cost-efficient sleeping space in a kid’s bedroom or guest room.
Wood beam accents Reclaimed structural beams can add sturdy charm as a fireplace mantel, a base for mounting ceiling lights and, in the right situation, a structural element for a weight-bearing wall and ceiling or roof beam.
Stairway accent Many homeowners like to hang photos or artwork on stairway walls – but why put them on a boring painted wall when you can give them a dramatic backdrop with reclaimed wood paneling?
Learn more about these and othertips for using reclaimed wood in and around your home – better yet, stop by Bingham Lumber and talk with our helpful reclaimed wood experts.
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!
Do 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.
New England abounds with old factories that hark back to the earliest days of the American Industrial Revolution. Massive brick-and-wood structures that once lined the banks of New England rivers have long since fallen silent, many transformed into condominiums and office space.
But some of these old factories are too far gone for that kind of restoration. Instead, they’re being reclaimed for their beautiful, durable lumber. They are filled with enormous weight-bearing beams hewn from old growth timber and gorgeous wide plank flooring exhibiting the unique wear and coloration that can only come from decades of contact with feet and machinery.
One of the most prized woods found in old factories is long-leaf pine, cut and hauled north from southern forests after the Civil War. Some experts say the Industrial Revolution was built on long-leaf pine which, before steel became available, was considered the most durable building material around. In fact, long leaf pine was used extensively in New York City during the building boom in the late 1800’s – it was even used in the foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Throughout the Mid-West and up and down the eastern seaboard lives a deep rooted history in agriculture and farming that has existed since the arrival of the first American settlers. The result is a landscape that has been dotted with beautiful old barns steeped in American history and use that has imbued them with character, charm and unique features. These features are the reason for the recent increase in popularity of reclaimed barn siding, paneling, and the overall use of reclaimed materials in new construction.
There are a number of reasons to recycle old lumber from reclaimed barns, starting with the recycled wood’s unique characteristics:
Physical Appearance- There is nothing on the market today that compares to reclaimed barn wood. Many of these old barns were built over a hundred years ago using virgin timber that no longer exists. Much of this wood has been gently weathered and features unique coloring, beautiful grain patterns and knot structure, insect markings, and nail holes that add character and charm to the wood. Properly handled and processed for modern use, the beauty and functionality of recycled lumber is unmatched.