Reclaimed wood from old farm buildings and other structures can be used to build gorgeous new homes, flooring and furniture. Several companies across the United States specialize in creating new beauty from old wood--some searching for buildings to dismantle, others looking for antique lumber in various sources. Barns are most in demand.
Home builders and furniture makers who build with old wood prefer lumber that is at least 100 years old, which offers a rich appearance as well as durability and strength. New items commonly made from reclaimed wood include frames, siding, beams, paneling, flooring, doors, windows, molding and trim, stairways and decks. Builders create residences, second homes and businesses. Old wood also is worked into cabinets and furniture, particularly tables. See the Resources section for links to lists of companies that are potential buyers of old lumber. A search for "dismantles old buildings" also returns many possibilities.
Barns are the most reliable source of antique lumber, with other farm buildings holding value as well. Many were built with large-dimension lumber and have a great deal of usable wood, even when they are dilapidated. Old barns also provide the widest variety of sizes, weathering, appearance and types of wood. A unique look can be achieved when no two boards look alike. Weathering varies depending on whether the building was located on a hill or in a valley, exposed to sun or shaded, and in a dry windy climate or one with hot summers and cold winters. Also, much of the wood comes from old-growth forests and has characteristics builders cannot find anywhere else, such as dense growth rings.
Other reclaimed wood comes from warehouses and factories, hand-hewn log cabins, antique wood flooring, grange halls and mills. Unique lumber can be found in old stockyards, telephone poles and redwood water tanks and beer barrels. Builders look for a wide variety of woods, including oak, chestnut, walnut, cherry, white pine, heart pine, Douglas fir, redwood, cypress and hemlock.
Along with preserving and restoring the beauty of antique wood, using this material maintains the unique American heritage of these old buildings, some of which are over 200 years old. This reclamation also conserves natural resources, salvaging an undesired old structure and adapting its materials for new use.
Homes and other buildings created from reclaimed wood typically cost more than those built with new wood, because the reclamation process is expensive. Dismantling the original structure, shipping the wood, performing metal detection and then preparing for a new application all contribute to the extra cost.
- Photo Credit photo by Belinda Hankins Miller at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninjapoodles/794190467/in/set-72157600784043218/
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