Wood is not boring. In fact, reclaimed or recycled wood is entertaining. What do you call a home without an entertainment system? Boring! Think of reclaimed wood as part of your home’s entertainment system. That remote control you have that controls your flat-screen TV and the surround sound system with just the touch of a button would work so much better if it had been sitting on top of a side table made from reclaimed wood. If you think that’s unlikely, then perhaps your version of entertainment may be more on the sophisticated side. What would entertainment be without a glass of wine to quench your thirst from greeting house guests? Well, that wine you break out every once in a while to welcome special guests would taste so much better if the wine bottle had been sitting on a wine rack made from reclaimed wood.
The point here is that reclaimed wood is versatile which makes it a material that is particularly suited to meet a variety of tastes in home decor. Versatile materials can sometimes come at a premium but thankfully wood grows on trees even though money may not. Moreover, reclaimed wood is a more cost-effective option than fresh-cut wood in terms of preventing deforestation and promoting eco-friendliness. Your house guest will likely be entertained by your thoughtful gesture for the future of our planet. But wait, there’s more about your reclaimed wood furnishings that they’ll likely be entertained by:
- Antique Appeal. Just like convertible sports cars have whip appeal, a house furnished with reclaimed wood has antique appeal. Imagine being able to tell your house guest that the wood flooring in your living room was the same wood used on the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, a 1966 Western film starring Clint Eastwood. That may be pushing it a bit but keep in mind that most reclaimed wood products have sourcing that allow you to find out the history behind the wood.
- Art Appreciation. You’re blessed if you can afford expensive pieces of artwork to put in your home; you’re doubly blessed if your home furnishings double down as artwork.Â Reclaimed wood pieces express a unique character with past design markings and dense grain highlighting that can compete with a Picasso or a Van Gogh piece.
- Durability. The very essence of reclaimed wood is that it is tried and tested. The fact that the wood has endured decades of use speaks to its durability. Imagine recounting a story to your house guest about how the reclaimed wood used for your book shelf survived two Kansas tornadoes in one year.
So how do you get the party started with reclaimed wood for your home? First, it is worth noting that reclaimed wood is usually recycled lumber. Here in the United States, lumber is mostly understood as wood that has been cut and had its surface smoothed for construction use. Generally, there are two routes you can take in getting your hands on reclaimed wood: 1) get a finished product built with reclaimed wood; or 2) get a few lumbers to build your own product. Whichever route you choose, here are three quick tips to keep in mind:
- Ask for certification. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and other trustworthy organizations certify wood products. The company you purchase the wood from should be able to speak to any certification requirements.
- Source the wood. You can find out which structure or building the wood came from which allows you to examine it for toxicity. For example, it’s advisable to avoid woods that were processed with lead based paint.
- Check for moisture and metal content. There are devices that allow you to measure the moisture content of the wood. Note that woods with high moisture content have a greater chance of cracking. You also need to check for embedded metal especially if you plan to use the wood to build your own product. For assistance, you can contact your local Mean Green List contractor.