Age before beauty
Salvaged wood flooring offers character.
From pleasantly distressed to sublimely smooth, rescued wood flooring can create just the look you want in your new home. Wood salvaged from abandoned buildings, reclaimed from unused structures or even pulled from underwater resting spots can be given new life while providing authentic character.
What’s Old Is New
In addition to unique style, reclaimed wood offers other benefits as well. “Old growth is 10 to 15 percent harder than freshly harvested of some species,” says Zac Guy of Appalachian Antique Hardwoods, a supplier in Waynesville, North Carolina. Hundreds of years ago, trees grew in thick forests with greater competition for sunlight, Guy explains. These conditions brought about slow growth and uniquely hard wood with distinctive grain patterns.
“It makes boards that are tighter and flatter,” Guy says. Harder wood is less susceptible to scratches and finish failure, he says.
Salvaged wood can be found in species that are now extinct, such as Heart Pine and American chestnut. The flooring is available in wide widths and may bear marks of its previous life. “The main thing you see is nail holes,” Guy says. Your flooring might also show saw marks or evidence of where animals had walked for years on a barn floor. “There’s a trend toward ruggedness and authenticity,” says Roblyn Powley of Pioneer Millworks, a supplier in Farmington, New York. Reclaimed wood offers that authentic look. Guy agrees.
“You can’t reproduce Mother Nature or Father Time,” he says.
Choosing Your Flooring
Although salvaged wood may have been used for centuries, it still requires further refining. “How wood is treated depends on the source,” Powley says. Pioneer Millworks kiln-dries all materials to ensure even moisture content and to eliminate any insects. Once dry, the wood can be re-sawn into flooring and stained.
Homeowners who are interested in purchasing salvaged wood flooring can look for local suppliers or search online. Virtual shopping doesn’t mean you have to buy sight-unseen. Companies are happy to send samples of their floor- ing so you can see it in your space.
Powley understands choosing a flooring is an important decision: “Flooring is a big visual component of your home,” she says.
Flooring is often sawn to order, Powley says, so it may take four to six weeks for the product to ship. Homeowners should also keep in mind that reclaimed flooring typically costs more than new wood, due to the labor and degree of waste involved in production.
Still, Guy points out, reclaimed flooring gives your home a unique story. How many other people can say they have wood from an abandoned factory or centuries-old railroad trestle on their floors?
TOP ROW: Pioneer Millworks offers reclaimed flooring to suit a wide range of
styles; from refined to shabby chic.
BOTTOM ROW: Weathered flooring from Appalachian Antique Hardwoods creates an understated elegance in this spa bath
and complements the rough log walls.