How Reclaimed Wood Flooring Will Transform Your Home

Posted by Aaron Schaalma

“Barns that once stood and were filled with cows and pigs,

Pallets stacked high with armchairs or wigs…

Wine casks and bleachers and torn-down buildings

Reclaimed wood floors are our favorite things.”

That little verse is a remix.. While our version wasn’t a part of the original Sound of Music score (we couldn’t reach an agreement with Rodgers OR Hammerstein), it’s a riff on a classic.


Our other song “How do you solve a problem like carpeted floors?” could have been a hit!

Hey that sounds a bit like reclaimed wood flooring!

Reclaimed hardwood flooring is just that - a new take on something  that was once all the rage. Let’s talk a bit about where it comes from.

What kind of wood is used for reclaimed wood flooring

Before synthetic, composite and particle-board materials were developed and popular for simple, inexpensive use, people made everything out of wood.

Timber Recycling

Timber recycling is a key part of the reclamation process

Take barns for instance, a highly popular source of reclaimed hardwood. Before industrial buildings were built with steel frames and siding, builders had basically two options - wood or stone.

With wood being the less costly choice of the two, it became the standard.

Other popular applications that turn up these days as reclaimed wood include:

Shipping pallets

Often enduring more than a ton of weight, shipping and warehousing pallets need to be strong. For this reason, they have a long history of being constructed with durable and hard European and American hardwoods.

The rise of the service economy and decline of widespread manufacturing has left a lot of extra shipping pallets around. Innovative interior designers have given new life to these vestiges of our industrial past in the form of unique and durable hard wood flooring.

Pallet wood

 Pallet wood gives you strength, reliability and a low cost relative to other hardwoods.

Sports bleachers

Sports bleachers are made of douglas fir which is a solid choice for hardwood (660 on Janka) They’re also strong in a way that something can only be when it’s responsible for supporting hundreds of butts.

Since much of the interested in reclaimed hardwood is based on its aesthetic qualities as much as its durability, reclaimed bleachers offer carving, numbering and striping that tells a story many other hardwoods can not.

Wine casks

Wine casks also tell great stories. The wine that used to be stored in them often leaves reddish staining which accents the natural striping and knotting of the oak wood. Plus, it makes hardwood flooring a real conversation piece for amateur sommeliers and lovers of distinguished interiors alike.

Barn wood

As we mentioned earlier, barn wood is right up there with reclaimed pallet wood for top dog in the reclaimed wood source list. With the consolidation of agriculture under larger corporate farms, family farms that were once the lifeblood of rural communities in the Northeast and Great Lakes region of the United States have little use for these giants of the horizon.

Barn Wood

Barn wood is among the most popular sources for reclaimed hardwood.

Instead of simply letting them rot, or burning them, using this storied wood for a modern, rustic look is an A+ recycling strategy.

Changes in the way contractors and builders think about hardwood flooring have given us both beautiful flooring aesthetics and are helping to save the planet by upcycling and reducing new materials consumption.

Is reclaimed hardwood a good choice for me?

As is the case with any distinct interior element, the choice to integrate reclaimed hardwood flooring is one that has a lot to do with your existing aesthetic and personal preference!

That being said, reclaimed hardwood flooring adds highly desired feeling to a room. Here are some of the benefits of using reclaimed wood.

1. Reclaimed wood floors are warm

While stark, high-contrast design is beautiful in its own way, the trend in interior design has shifted over the past five years to a more warm and inviting aesthetic. People want to feel at home when they walk through their door and there is nothing that makes people feel that way more than a warm floor.

It’s one of our favorite things about hardwood flooring. Reclaimed wood floors bring this feeling to the next level. Their unique patterning, weathered charm and lack of uniformity add an intimacy that is sure to make you feel at home.

2. Reclaimed wood floors are unique

Often, people who opt for reclaimed hardwood flooring want a degree of character that standard hardwood flooring just can’t quite achieve. Reclaimed wood floors come complete with stories and personality. A single floor could have boards from a barn, high school bleachers and even an old boat.

These floors are strong and meet numerous hardwood flooring quality standards, but take on a starring, rather than supporting, role in their application.

When you install reclaimed hardwood flooring, there’s really no place like home.

3. Reclaimed wood floors are versatile

Somewhat contradictory in nature, reclaimed wood floors are both distinguished and  accommodating. These floors demand a lot of attention, but simultaneously work well with a lot of different interior design palettes.

The Draw Appleton

The Draw art gallery in Appleton, Wisconsin features a multi-colored reclaimed hardwood floor

Their varied texture and color is both modern and traditional, minimalist and ornamental.

4. Reclaimed wood floors are cost effective

Compared to traditional hardwood floors with similar finishes and colors, reclaimed wood floors provide a lot of bang for the buck.

Many more costly wood floors that seek to imitate the look of antiqued wood miss out on capturing the fullness of its appearance, meaning that not only is it less expensive, but it gives you the authentic reclaimed experience.

5. Reclaimed hardwood floors tell a story of human ingenuity

The concept of recycling or upcycling aren’t new ones, but when you think about our ability as people to re-use things and make them even better than they were before, it’s pretty amazing.

This reason is much less objective than the other four, but it’s still a great reason to consider reclaimed hardwood flooring.

Beyond just the story of the wood itself, installing reclaimed hardwood tells the story of people who believe that taking care of our planet is important. It’s a story of innovation and ingenuity to not waste.

Hardwood flooring is renewable, but reclaimed wood takes that sustainability a step further.

If you have questions about hardwood flooring, or for a complimentary consultation, contact us today