Using Reclaimed Wood Flooring

by ziggy on June 7, 2013 -- 1 comment -- Follow

Reclaimed wood flooring

Unfinished reclaimed wood flooring

There is nothing terribly easy about using reclaimed wood flooring, or reclaimed wood in general. Though I really do like it. New lumber is nice and all, sometimes, (and certainly really easy to work with, primarily), but when experiencing or working with new wood, sometimes I get that feeling similar to when I have a new pair of shoes or boots on — something just doesn’t seem right. The brightness, the lack of wear and that really perfect/clean feeling, the lack of a history or story embedded in there… that doesn’t appeal to me. The imperfections and wear, scratches and dings, the colors of reclaimed wood all tell a story, I think, and I like that. Also, older wood is often higher quality material, too.

All of the tongue and groove flooring in our straw bale and timber frame house is reclaimed, mostly coming from an older fellow who lives in the area who has been taking houses apart for decades, and reselling the material. I have no idea how old the floor is that we are using now, but it’s been around the block, so to speak. There are plenty of 14-16 foot clear running boards, something that I’m sure is increasingly rare these days, too.

We are just about to wrap up putting floor down in our “storage loft” — the space above the porch, under the slope of the north side of the roof. This small triangular space can be accessed from upstairs and is intended mostly for storage. You can only barely stand up at the tall end. Anyway, I’m not sure how we will finish the floor. Since the storage room won’t see a lot of traffic, it doesn’t make sense to go all out to put a pristine finish on it. Maybe we’ll sand it and oil it, maybe not. It could be that it will “self clean” itself through normal use.

We are certainly intending to sand and oil the reclaimed wood flooring in the rest of the house. I really love the look of old wood made new — either sanded or planed, and then oiled. The wood still retains its story, but gets a little freshening, too.

Time to put those last few boards down.

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  • Hi Z,

    Love the look you got in the photo. Very charming!

    I remind folks all the time the reclaimed wood is beautiful, but it’s also hard work to get it there. Also, with flooring, you really must keep track of grain in the wood, placing the boards, “bark side up” there by avoiding long splinters and getting better wear out to of the wood. Try not to surface nail; if you do use surface attachments, screws or cut nails are the best to use, and a slight counter sink is the best way to avoid some nasty cuts.

    Warm Regards,


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