Taking on a DIY project can yield unlimited possibilities. Maybe you want to go small and build something like a spice rack or go much bigger, creating a cabinet. Whatever the project is, you want the right materials for the job.
- What is Reclaimed Wood?
- Why Reclaimed Wood is a Better Option
- What to Look for When Buying Reclaimed Wood
- Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Online
- Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Locally
- What Does Reclaimed Wood Cost on Average?
But for budgetary and stylistic reasons, it is imperative to have the right wood. Reclaimed wood is quite popular no matter the home project. The good news is that you can find reclaimed wood in plenty of places, too. It can be found through online sources like Etsy, eBay, and Craigslist while you can also find it through several local outlets as well.
What is Reclaimed Wood?
Reclaimed wood is just another term for “recycled wood.” For instance, some old lumber from a factory can be repurposed to create a coffee table, wine rack, or about a million other things. And while it may sound like it is about sustainability, it actually is about one thing: stylistic choices.
Most people opt for reclaimed wood because it has a distinct style. Items built from reclaimed wood have such a standout aesthetic that they can make for a beautiful focal point to any home.
The downside is that it takes a lot more work to find the right reclaimed wood. If that weren’t enough, you will also find that reclaimed wood is quite a bit more expensive than wood that you can pick up from any big home improvement store.
Why Reclaimed Wood is a Better Option
Despite the difficulty of finding reclaimed wood and the higher price tag, there are plenty of good reasons to make it your material of choice. Keep in mind that, while you may save a bit on your average wood through a major retailer like Home Depot, you also aren’t going to get much of a unique factor aesthetically speaking.
Here are four reasons why you should go with reclaimed wood over the standard options from your local home improvement store.
Some Types of Wood are No Longer Available
One of the primary reasons why people choose reclaimed wood for their projects is the availability of certain types of wood. Depending on where you live, there are regulations that prevent certain types of trees from being cut down and harvested.
So, while it may cost a little bit more, you can create your next project from reclaimed wood that simply can’t be found anymore. That alone is enough to make that project unique enough to stand out from just about any of the competition
It Has History
The wood that you buy from a big box store may be readily available in great quantities, but it is simply mass-produced. There is nothing unique or interesting about that wood. It gets the job done if that is all you are looking to do.
But reclaimed wood has its own unique history. Maybe the reclaimed wood you are working with comes from an old lumber factory. Or maybe it is from a barn that was built in the 1800s. With reclaimed wood, there is a story behind each piece. That story is enough to give real depth and history to your project.
It’s Friendly for the Environment
More and more people these days have an eye towards the environment. We realize the impact that we have had on this planet and it has not been a good one. Many people are looking to make a positive impact on the environment and the type of wood chosen for a project is a good place to start.
Reclaimed wood is not grown on any farm. Those farms cultivate trees that grow fast and do not support the local ecosystem. While reclaimed wood is from a tree that has already been cut, it is getting another purpose in your project. No cutting down more trees just to create more lumber when you use reclaimed wood.
It Has Unique Character
With these mass-produced lumbers that are grown on farms, there is no uniqueness to them. You get the same piece of wood that you could find at a hundred other stores. It will get the job done if you need it to, but that is about where it ends.
With reclaimed wood, however, you can get a real character and age to it that can’t be copied. The environment in which old wood had to grow means that it likely had to fight for sun and nutrients. That battle made it stronger, more durable. Even better, that fight brought out the natural color within that wood. That can’t be mimicked through quick-growing, quick-cultivated wood.
What to Look for When Buying Reclaimed Wood
Because of the difficulty and cost of buying reclaimed wood, there are a few things to be aware of before you begin shopping. First and foremost, make sure that the wood you are getting has been treated properly. The last thing that you want is to use your reclaimed wood for outdoor purposes only to see it deteriorate and rot due to lack of proper treatment.
You should also find a dealer that has cleaned and scrubbed the wood thoroughly. Having to clean reclaimed wood is just another step and a hassle that you have to deal with. Further, they should be using a metal detector to find any nails that may be hidden below the surface.
Reclaimed wood will more than likely be cut from a larger beam. It should be planed and, most importantly, kiln-dried. With the kiln-drying, the wood could potentially warp. It also helps to kill off any infestation that may be in the wood, so you won’t have to worry about bringing termites into your home.
Kiln-drying takes time, though. The wood is heated using lower temperatures and the process can take a year or more. The bigger the beam of reclaimed wood, the longer the kiln process will take. Another thing to keep in mind is the rarity of the wood. The rarer the wood, the more likely it has not been kiln-dried.
Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Online
The internet has made nearly anything possible. So, why not use it to find reclaimed wood, too? The great thing about shopping online is that you are not restricted to what your local sources have. Depending on which channel you go through (more on that in a minute), you can find options that would not have been otherwise available.
The good news is that there are a plethora of sites that you can go to for your reclaimed lumber needs. Shopping online not only means more possibilities it means that you can have your lumber delivered right to your door. There is no arguing the convenience offered by online shopping.
There is really nothing you can’t find on eBay. Known as the “worldwide garage sale,” sellers can list just about anything under the sun. That includes reclaimed wood. A simple search for “reclaimed lumber” will bring up well over 1,000 results, giving you more than a few options.
Depending on the format, you can get your lumber instantly through the buy it now option. This way, you can shop for available prices (with shipping listed) and make your choice without having to go to a million other places. If you want to try to get a deal on some reclaimed lumber, you can keep an eye out for an auction and watch it to the finish.
There are a few things in common between Etsy and eBay. The most common thing is that you can find just about anything that you could imagine. A simple search for, well, anything on Etsy will turn up far more results than you would think.
Not only can you find reclaimed wood on Etsy, but you can search for goods built from reclaimed and wood. From décor to furniture and everything in between, all it takes is a quick search to unlock the possibilities.
Etsy is particularly great if you just want to get something made of reclaimed wood in your home but don’t want to actually build it yourself. Skip the labor and get right down to the beautiful, reclaimed wood piece that you were hoping for.
Craigslist can be a treasure trove or a nightmare depending on the day. It is similar to the aforementioned options in that users across the country can list their items for sale. The difference here is that you will find a lot more local pickup options than you might through either eBay or Etsy.
And that is where the crapshoot begins. You can find plenty of cool and interesting things on Craigslist. But you will also find more than a few unique and interesting characters, too. In-person meetups always have their caveats and this is no different. Unless you want to meet some unique characters in person, you might want to go with an option that will ship to your home instead.
What better source to go to than one that deals exclusively in reclaimed wood? Longleaf Lumber has many options available for all situations: flooring, paneling, board & beam, custom milling, and more.
Even better, they have special offers on some of their items so you can either bundle or save. Best of all, they ship to you. Find precisely the kind of reclaimed lumber that you have been looking for and have it delivered right to your door.
While you might be able to save a few bucks going through Etsy or eBay, you won’t get the same selection or quality as you would going through a distributor. This is the best place to go for the best quality reclaimed wood.
Plank and Miller
Another online distributor, Plank and Mill brings the various reclaimed wood options out there right to your screen. What is cool about Plank and Mill is that they feature a gallery of all the various projects their reclaimed wood has been used for.
On top of that, they offer a number of tutorials for DIYers who are looking to do something different with their reclaimed wood. Whether you are completely new to the world of reclaimed wood or a veteran, you will get quite a bit from their tutorials.
There are even samples available! If you aren’t quite sure what direction you are going in, they have sample packs of whitewash barn wood planks and reclaimed barn wood that you can contrast and compare. It may be convenient to buy online but there is nothing quite like holding a sample in your hand and seeing how it looks in your home.
Another online distributor for reclaimed wood. As far as pure selection goes, Vintage Timberworks may be the best option. It is a trusted source for quality reclaimed wood all delivered right to your door.
There are reclaimed wood flooring, reclaimed teak, vintage boards, rustic cladding, reclaimed wood box beams, vintage beams and timbers, rustic mantels, corbels, reclaimed ironwood, and even exterior siding.
Vintage Timberworks even offers timber trusses! If you don’t want to deal with going to local place after local place, a distributor like this is the perfect option. Prices may be a little higher than you would find locally but there is no beating the selection available.
Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Locally
Buying online offers more than a few options but it also has its setbacks. Paying for shipping can get quite expensive depending on where it is coming from and how much wood you are buying. Not only that, there is always the risk that something could wrong in transit, damaging your wood or even losing it entirely.
For that reason, people may want to shop locally for their reclaimed wood. Besides, there is nothing quite like holding the wood of your choice in your hands, getting a feel for it, and seeing the colors and character of that wood in person.
The great thing about shopping locally is that you can get as niche as you want. There are big box stores that offer reclaimed wood but you may not get quite the selection that you were hoping for. But there are lumber dealers and more niche outfits that will have a ton of different options.
Reclaimed Lumber Dealers
Without a doubt, the best option available is to go through a local reclaimed lumber dealer. Depending on the size of the area in which you live, there should be more than a few available options. For most of these companies, if they do offer delivery, they will be local only.
Depending on how big the lumber dealer is, they may have special delivery options. Even then, you can go to their in-store location to find deals on reclaimed lumber as well. Not only that, you can see the differences in person, which can sometimes make a huge difference in your selection choices.
Local Demolition Sites
This one all depends on your knowledge of the area as well as timing. If you happen to know of buildings being demolished in your area, then there is a chance that there will be salvaged wood available. Just know that it isn’t a guarantee that you will be able to get reclaimed lumber this way.
Call the owner of the property before you do anything. Ask them what the plan is for the lumber on site. In some cases, you might be able to get the lumber for free. Worst case, you can ask if it’s possible to buy the lumber before they have a chance to take it to one of the aforementioned lumber dealers.
This takes quite a bit more leg work than shopping online or going to a local dealer. Still, there is the potential for major savings if you can pinpoint a demolition site that was going to just discard the wood anyway.
Architectural Salvage Retailers
You may be thinking that there couldn’t possibly be any more options than we’ve already listed. But there’s one more option (aside from the super common option below): an architectural salvage yard or store.
These are the type of businesses that sell more than reclaimed wood (like a reclaimed wood dealer). They will sell a variety of materials like stained glass, hardware, lighting, and a whole lot more. You can even find décor and furniture that has already been made from those reclaimed materials already available for purchase.
This is almost like a local version of Etsy. For those who simply want to have a reclaimed wood item in their home and don’t want to have to go through the trouble of actually building it, an architectural salvage retailer is a great option. OldHouseOnline provides a pretty comprehensive list of local stores that sell architectural salvage.
The Home Depot
There is a reason why Home Depot is such a giant in the home improvement world. They are basically akin to what Walmart is to groceries and retail. There is a pretty good chance that you can find whatever you need when you walk through their doors.
Yes, in some cases that even means finding reclaimed wood. The thing to remember is that it all depends from location to location. You may find more at one Home Depot location in the same geographical area, let alone when you put some miles between each store.
The one caveat here is that the selection is likely to be far more limited than it would be with one of the other options. If you aren’t looking for a rare, reclaimed wood, you may be able to get away with going to the local Home Depot. But rarer options you are going to have to do a bit more digging than that.
This is one of those options that has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle in the days of the internet. Craigslist is your digital version of local classifieds but why not check the local paper first? There is still a classifieds section with various listings.
There is always the chance that you may find a listing from a property owner or contractor looking to get rid of debris from a renovation. Even if you don’t spot anything right off the bat, check the next week or so to see what pops up.
Local classifieds can really be a great, underutilized method for finding reclaimed wood and other difficult-to-find items.
Local Construction Dumpsters
The old saying is that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you are on a tight budget, it may not be financially prudent to go to a local dealer or shop online for your reclaimed wood. If you aren’t having a whole lot of luck with local construction sites, there is another route.
Should you find a local construction dumpster that has reclaimed wood, be certain to ask permission first. The last thing that you want is to get in trouble for swiping reclaimed wood that the contractors had plans for. Still, this can be an excellent way to get reclaimed wood for cheap or free.
What Does Reclaimed Wood Cost on Average?
It has become a little easier to buy reclaimed wood than it used to be even a decade or two ago. Even better, it has gotten a little less expensive than it used to be especially when you compare it to new hardwood prices.
While it depends on what type of wood you are looking for, you can expect to spend anywhere from $5 to $20 per square foot of reclaimed wood. Realistically, it is more like $9 to $12 per square foot unless you are going for a higher-quality reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood has a certain unique aesthetic that other mass-produced woods simply do not have. If you are looking to make a statement with a piece of furniture or décor, going with reclaimed wood is a great option.
The good news is that there are a ton of different avenues that you could take. Whether it be to find the wood to do the project yourself or to buy something previously made, you will be able to find the right option for you.