When the calendar turns to a new year, it is almost inevitably chalk full of improvement projects. Many people target bettering themselves physically, while others focus on their surroundings by sprucing up the home. Renovations offer nearly limitless projects to undertake, and those with a sustainable slant might want to start from the ground up (literally) by concentrating on the booming usage of reclaimed wood flooring. Fitting snuggly into the “reuse” column of the Three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), reclaimed wood offers the option of a beautiful and earth-friendly way to update a home while limiting dependence on environmental resources.
Aged Woods recycled oak
Aged Woods' Bunkhouse Plank reclaimed oak flooring
To many, an old barn is nothing more than an eyesore, but for those committed to sustainable building practices, old barn siding or dilapidated flooring in a century-old building is a gold mine of reusable resources. Companies like Aged Woods, Inc. of York, PA, offer customers the chance to own antique planks that have been “carefully re-milled from recycled wood” salvaged from “old weathered and distressed barnwood.” The company promotes the environmental benefits and multitude of uses of reclaimed wood as “the sustainable choice to add unique and authentic rustic character to residences, retail stores, restaurants, casinos, country clubs, etc.” Further, Aged Woods, Inc. distinguishes between various types of woods commonly used for flooring: antique oak, antique white pine, antique yellow pine and antique maple. Other, rarer species are also offered from the company, including antique American chestnut, antique hickory and antique heart pine. Amazingly, this wood is reclaimed from “agricultural out-buildings, i.e. barns, ranging in age from 75 years to as much as 200 years.” It is not hard to see why reclaimed wood is the smarter, more eco-friendly choice. Utilizing wood that has previously been employed in another structure means that new trees are not cut down and milled for new construction. What’s more, reclaimed wood is commonly region specific, meaning the reclaimed wood utilized in a given remodel or new construction project most likely came from a nearby demolition. Taking wooden planks from demolished buildings even provides something that no freshly cut timber can: a sense of history. Aged Woods, Inc. explains this further when mentioning that such old wood “retains the patina and character imparted by the signs of old-time craftsmen and decades of wind, rain and sun.” Reclaimed wood can be used for furniture and decorative purposes as well. In fact, the uses of reclaimed wood (or other building materials) might only be as limited as one’s practicality. In Seattle, homeowners now grasp this idea fully and can boast about the reclaimed wood in their homes. Many local homes have utilized reclaimed wood that was the flooring from Garfield High School for decades. It’s not a stretch to imagine that these homes now have a piece of history, as music legend Jimmy Hendrix, former NBA star Brandon Roy and record producer Quincy Jones all walked the floors of this school. If you are thinking of tidying up your property with some home-makeover work in the coming months, be sure to consider reclaimed wood. Who knows what amazing stories you might discover with this environmentally sustainable option?