Reclaimed Wood Flooring – Frequently Asked Questions!

Q: Is reclaimed wood flooring more or less expensive than new wood flooring?

A: Generally, reclaimed wood flooring is more expensive than new wood flooring. However, rare species of new wood, including the top grade of the otherwise common American white oak, are exceptions. Our approach to reclaiming starts with disassembling old barns with care. We take the time to carefully move the wood through each step in the process of turning it into quality flooring. In contrast, modern new wood flooring mills typically operate with minimal human interaction, using kiln-dried raw lumber to produce boxed products quickly.

Q: What are the benefits of reclaimed wood flooring?

A: Reclaimed wood flooring offers several benefits. First, it helps ease the demand on forests by reusing wood from trees that were cut down 75 to 200 years ago. Additionally, reclaimed wood flooring adds warmth and visual interest to any space from minimalist, neutral decors to purposely rustic ones.

Q: Where do you find wood to reclaim?

A: We primarily focus on reclaiming wood from old barns, granaries, and other agricultural outbuildings. Other companies reclaim wood from factories and warehouses. Beyond these common sources, people are reclaiming wood from wherever it is unneeded in its current use, wasn’t adulterated in the manufacturing process, and where there is enough of it to be economically feasible to repurpose. Examples include old redwood bridges in California, whiskey barrels from Jack and Jim, and European oak intended for Russian rail cars that were never made.

Q: What species of wood do you reclaim and offer as flooring?

A: Our reclaimed wood floors are made from barns in the Mid-Atlantic region, which were built from native trees, such as red and white oak, yellow and white pine, chestnut, hickory, and maple. Early barns were built from the trees cleared from the land where the barns were constructed. Later settlers built their barns with wood from the closest lumber mills.

Q: What gives flooring made from weathered barn wood its color?

A: The color of weathered barn wood flooring comes from patina. Rich brown tones imparted to the wood by the chemical process known as oxidization lie just beneath the weathered grays of an old barn. Repeated wetting-drying cycles and UV rays are the primary drivers of this process. Wood framing inside a barn also experiences wet-dry cycles and oxidation, which changes the wood dramatically over a typical barn lifetime of 75 to 150 years.

Q: Which of your floors would work best for a dark or light decor?

A: For lighter, more modern decors, we recommend the flooring we make from the insides of old timbers, such as our Antique Oak Remilled. Oxidation starts on the surface of the wood and goes deeper over time, but it seldom penetrates more than ½” to ¾”. Other than at checks/cracks in old beams, their insides have richened with age but not by weather.

For spaces with darker, more rustic themes, the flooring we make from “outers,” such as our Antique Distressed™ Oak and Ranch House™ Oak floors, is a better fit. In many barns, the siding and “two-by” framing members were sawn from trees by very large circular saws, sometimes several feet in diameter. By retaining some or all of the sawtooth texturing in our planing processes, we produce flooring that is considerably more rustic. Our Ranch House™ Oak is one such example.