Age be­fore beauty

Sal­vaged wood floor­ing of­fers character.

Cabin Living - - Flooring Guide -

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.

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