Have you been looking for a guide that would help you not only understand the hype around reclaimed wood but also the ways that it’s made or procured and how to use it throughout your home? We’re here to help! Within this guide, you’ll find each of those specific things and more.

At Manomin Resawn Timbers we provide all things reclaimed wood including doors, mantels, timbers, paneling, flooring, and more. As an expert in the world of reclaimed wood, this ultimate guide to reclaimed wood is designed to be a resource to both home builders, remodelers, and homeowners alike.

There’s lots to get into, let’s get started.

Obtaining Reclaimed Wood

reclaimed wood timbers

Before we can even begin creating reclaimed wood that you can use throughout your house, we need to obtain the wood. There are a number of different places that reclaimed lumber can be obtained include abandoned barns, old warehouses, older houses, and any other places that have naturally finished wood.

We obtain all of our wood from a number of different places and we always keep track of where it came from. Reclaimed lumber can tell a story of its past life through the character that it displays. You’ll see this especially when you used reclaimed wood for paneling, flooring, and anything like that.

If you’re interested in trying to obtain reclaimed wood on your own, there are some DIY reclaimed wood ideas on our blog.

What Is The Reclaiming Process

The reclaiming process is very extensive. Within the industry, we call the processes after we obtain wood, the “reclaiming” process, thus giving us the name – reclaimed wood. There are several steps to reclaiming wood. We’ll do our best to break them all down in clear and concise ways. Here’s are the steps to the reclaiming process:

  • De-nailing
  • Cleaning
  • Kiln Drying
  • Milling
  • Installation

Those are the steps to the reclaiming process, here’s how they break down.

De-Nailing

De-nailing is a really simple process. But it’s not just about removing any and all of the nails that are contained throughout. The other key element within our de-nailing process is removing all metal from the wood. In some cases, wood will have metal ties or other material embedded within it. When we’re reclaiming lumber from different places we check to make sure all of the metal is out. This ensures that there aren’t any unwanted surprises as we cut and shape the wood in the future.

During de-nailing, we’ll also remove any large junks of debris that aren’t part of the wood. This could be anything from dirt to plastic pieces or brackets that are still attached from the wood’s previous life.

Cleaning

Part of the cleaning process starts during de-nailing, as we’ve already mentioned. But, there is more to the cleaning process! The amount of time and energy that goes into cleaning the reclaimed lumber will primarily depend upon where the wood came from and what condition it’s in. In some cases, the wood will need to be stripped of the paint on it or sanded down a bit to remove major blemishes and imperfections.

In most cases, we want to keep any major changes to the woods aesthetic to a minimum. But it’s also important that the wood is cleaned thoroughly so that you’re not bringing anything more than the wood into your home. Additionally, at times there can be insects in the wood that need to be removed. Don’t worry, a few insects aren’t uncommon and our reclaiming process ensures that the wood is completely free of any insects.

Here is a post with a more in-depth look at cleaning reclaimed wood on your own.

Kiln Drying

After the cleaning process, we have to place the wood in large kiln dryers. These dryers are like gigantic ovens for wood. They allow us to bake out all of the moisture and ensure that the wood dries straight. The wood is dried for different amounts of time depending on how much moisture is present in the wood. The end goal of a kiln is to heat treat the wood to destroy any bugs and larvae in the wood – before they become unwelcome visitors in your home and to ensure that the wood is at a proper moisture level.

Not all recovered wood companies perform this important step. Proper Kiln Drying separates the good companies from the great companies.

Milling

Milling is the process of shaping and forming the wood into the different products that we need. We cut down the boards into panels, flooring, and more! Through the use of saws, planers, sanders, joiners, molders, and other specialty tools we’re able to create something truly unique and perfect for each and every one of our customers.

Installation

Finally is installation. When you’re working with high-end reclaimed wood that’s gone through an extensive reclaiming process, it’s ideal that you have the wood installed by someone that has experience working with the wood and that can ensure everything is properly handled and taken care of. If you have some experience then there’s nothing wrong with making it a DIY project but we can also refer you to some of the contractors that we regularly work with.

We regularly work with builders and contractors that are committed to high standards and creating beautiful projects with our reclaimed wood projects.

how to reclaim wood

History Of Reclaimed Wood

So, how did reclaimed wood come into style? At one point in time, everyone did want new things in their house and not old or reused products. In that way, one might wonder why reclaimed wood is at all popular. Reclaimed wood can also be expensive… Why is reclaimed wood so expensive if it’s a reused product? Let’s break it down.

The Abundance of Reclaimed Wood

Prior to the late 1900s wood was used as the main element in almost all of the structures that were built throughout the United States. From houses to large office buildings and warehouses, wood was used throughout and as support for the structure itself. One of the main larger buildings that wood was used as the primary building material were barns and farm structures. As the agriculture industry took off throughout the U.S. there was a huge surge in the construction of barns and thus there is now a large surplus of wood ready to be reclaimed as those buildings begin to fall into disrepair and new metal barns are being built.

Another common element that is reclaimed along with wood is brick. Old bricks that show large amounts of character due to the years of weathering that it has received. While we don’t deal in reclaimed bricks, we can say that they are truly beautiful and that they offer a lot to homeowners that are looking for a weathered look to the exterior or interior of their home.

This all to say that there are lots of places where reclaimed wood can be obtained and there is a lot of value in reusing the valuable lumber that is found within old buildings. If the lumber isn’t reclaimed and reused it will likely find its way to a local landfill or burned.

How Did Reclaimed Wood Come into Style?

One of the biggest reasons that reclaimed wood started coming into style is because of the environmentally friendly and clean aspect of reusing lumber instead of cutting down new trees. Another big reason is that vintage or somewhat antique look has become very popular among higher-income and larger new homes as well as middle-range homes.

In a way, you could say that reclaimed lumber and reclaimed wood used in homes has always been in style. Old homes have always used wood mantels over their fireplaces and many use hardwood for the floors. In newer homes, it’s also extremely common to use hardwood flooring as a durable, long-lasting, and high-end flooring solution. For that reason among others’ reclaimed wood flooring is extremely popular.

As any trend like this starts, it quickly became attractive to homebuyers when homes have reclaimed wood throughout. Lastly, homeowners have recently grown extremely fond of exposed wood beams in homes. Reclaimed wood beams bring an entirely unique feature to every home that they’re installed in. The cost of reclaimed wood directly relates to both the demand and the time and energy it takes to properly treat the lumber before it can be installed in your home. For more information on the cost of reclaimed wood, consult this post from our blog.

Where To Get Reclaimed Wood

You can find reclaimed wood in a number of places. While it’s not always easy to get exactly what you want, if you put in the time to look for the wood you want then you’ll definitely be able to find it. A common place to find reclaimed wood is through a dealer such as Manomin Resawn Timbers. As a reclaimed wood dealer, we can work with you to find the perfect wood for your home.

Ultimately the best way to get reclaimed wood is from a dealer that has experience and that you can trust to get you the wood that you need for your home. If you want to try and reclaim the wood on your own that’s always a possible option as well. But, you should know that finding and reclaiming wood on your own can be very difficult.

If you do find lumber that you want to reclaim on your own, check out this great video where you can learn about DIY reclaimed wood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6iMyiesc0s

Uses Of Reclaimed Wood

The uses for reclaimed wood are truly unlimited. There are just too many ways that you can use wood and in turn use reclaimed wood. Here are some of our favorite ways.

Furniture

DIY reclaimed wood bench

Furniture is a great way to incorporate reclaimed wood in your home. There are a number of companies on the market that make reclaimed wood furniture. Some different pieces of furniture that look great when made of reclaimed wood include chairs and tables or desks. Each of these items adequately shows off the reclaimed wood and can catch the attention of anyone who has the opportunity to see it.

Here’s some info on reclaimed wood dining tables that you can use in your home. Also, be sure to check out this post for a DIY reclaimed wood table and bench.

Decorations

Decor is a great way to use reclaimed wood. You might not think it, but wood paneling or even old wood toys make for great pieces. When we’re talking about reclaimed wood decor, think of anything made from wood that you can use in your home. Even a cutting board or an old wood bowl is a great way to utilize reclaimed wood for decor.

Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are a great way to bring reclaimed wood into your home. There are several ways that you can use wood in light fixtures but some of the simplest ways are almost always most eloquent and tasteful. Here are a few examples:

reclaimed wood beam light fixture.

reclaimed wood light fixtures

Bed Frames

Square checkered headboard

Bed frames look great when constructed from reclaimed wood. No matter how you like your bed frame to look, there’s likely a way that you can use reclaimed wood to construct. Headboards and legs to bed frames look great as reclaimed wood! Find some examples in this blog post.

Countertops

Last on today’s list, but definitely not least of all is countertops. Reclaimed wood can be a great material to use for countertops that you’re looking to cut on or enjoy as a bar. Everyone loves the look of a wood bar so why not use that look in your own home or business. Finding the wood to use for countertops can sometimes be difficult so be sure to reach out to your local reclaimed lumber dealer for more info on countertops and what types of wood might work best for them. Here are some examples of how you can use reclaimed wood as a countertop or tabletop.

Designing with Reclaimed Wood

Corner wood paneled wall

There are many ways to utilize reclaimed wood throughout the design of both new homes and remodels. If you’re thinking of using any exposed wood elements in your home then you should definitely be considering reclaimed wood. There are many ways that reclaimed wood can be used. Whether you choose to use it within furniture or decor or you want to use reclaimed wood beams and reclaimed wood floors in your house. There is so much potential with the use of reclaimed wood.

Here are a few common design styles that use exposed wood:

Modern Home Design

Modern design has taken a big swing towards the use of exposed raw materials such as concrete, wood, and sometimes steel (although steel or metal is much less common). Reclaimed wood paneling, timbers, or flooring are all great ways to include reclaimed lumber in your modern home design.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse and modern farmhouse almost always use exposed lumber throughout the home. Reclaimed lumber will give your home a warm, aged, and character-filled feeling that is otherwise missed when installing “new wood” where you could install reclaimed wood.

Remodeling with Reclaimed Wood

Finally, remodeling is a great time to consider including reclaimed wood in your home. Kitchens are a great place to use reclaimed wood floors. Another common design feature is including timbers or using reclaimed wood for mantels. Where you’ll use reclaimed wood in your home will entirely depend on where you remodel and how much you’re spending on the remodel.

Types Of Reclaimed Wood

There are a number of different types of reclaimed wood that you can purchase and use throughout your home. Keep in mind that in the end, these are just the most common types. Reclaimed wood can be used almost anywhere where you would use real wood.

Panels

Panels are a reclaimed lumber product that is regularly used in homes to create wood accent walls, paneling for wood ceilings, or any other place where you want there to be a large appearance of exposed wood. These wood panels are not too difficult to install and can add a lot to a home. Reclaimed wood walls and ceilings are beautiful additions to any home. View our reclaimed wood paneling here.

Timbers (Box Beams)

Accented wood beams with light fixtures

Timbers look great in almost any home, but especially in homes with high vaulted ceilings. Vaulted ceilings help to bring out the beauty of exposed wood beams and add a certain elegance and class to the home. You’ll likely notice box beams and timbers used in higher-end homes where vaulted ceilings are extremely popular. View our timbers here.

Mantles

Reclaimed wood mantels are a beautiful and priceless addition to almost any fireplace. There aren’t too many fireplaces that don’t utilize a mantel so when you decide to install a fireplace whether it be gas, electric, or wood in your home consider adding a reclaimed wood mantel as a unique way to set your fireplace apart from the rest. Check out our reclaimed wood mantels.

Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring offers character and uniqueness, unlike any other flooring. Traditional hardwood flooring looks beautiful but doesn’t offer any character or story along with it. We love using reclaimed wood flooring because of the advantage that the character brings to a home. While you’re in your kitchen or dining room you can look down at the reclaimed wood floor and see 100’s of years of character right below your feet. At MR Timbers we know where every piece of wood came from so we’ll even be able to tell you where the wood was located in its previous life. Find reclaimed wood flooring, here.

Doors

Finally, doors offer another amazing and beautiful way to take advantage of reclaimed wood and its character in your home. Reclaimed wood doors can be used on both the interior or exterior of your home. You might even see reclaimed wood used for garage doors on homes. For more info on our reclaimed wood doors, click here.

Species of Reclaimed Wood

Along with there being a number of different ways that you can use reclaimed wood, there are also several different species of wood that we regularly reclaim to reuse throughout our customers’ homes and businesses. Here are some of the most common species of reclaimed wood:

  • Teak
  • Oak
  • Redwood
  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Cedar

No matter how you choose to use reclaimed wood in your home, MR Timbers is here to help you. We supply reclaimed wood either to homeowners directly or to builders on behalf of homeowners. We’ll gladly put you in touch with a builder/contractor that can help you get your reclaimed wood products successfully installed.

Be sure to check out our blog for more info on reclaimed wood, how to use it, and inspiration for your home! And, check back on this blog post as we’ll be adding more information every month.