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Recycled Wood Flooring

Updated on December 25, 2008
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

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Recycled wood flooring is hardwood flooring that has been reclaimed from any one of a number of sources.  It is a fantastic choice if you want a wood floor because it is beautiful, easy on the environment, and unique.

Generally the wood flooring is made from old growth wood, something that is no longer available.  The old growth wood is not only more beautiful than what is available now, but it wears better and is more durable than the new wood.  Best of all it is easy on the environment.  The reclaimed lumber does not cause deforestation but is wood that has been brought up from the bottom of rivers where it was lost decades ago, or it could be taken from an old home when it was torn down.  Using recycled wood flooring is the ultimate recycling project.

Advantages of Reclaimed Wood Flooring


The advantages of using reclaimed wood for new flooring projects are:

  • Durability. The wood from old growth trees has a tighter grain. This makes it harder and denser than new wood. It will wear better, be more durable, and maintain its look longer than the new wood products.
  • Designer appearance. The wood is often distressed, whether from being walked on for years or from being at the bottom of a river. People spend large amounts of money to have the wood for their floors distressed but when you buy reclaimed wood it is done for you, for free. Vintage floors have also usually been hand planed and hand stained. The difference is obvious.
  • Eco-friendly. Buying reclaimed wood means that the wood does not get tossed into the nearest landfill. It means that trees are not cut down, nor are forests destroyed to provide the wood for your new floor.
  • Value. The cost of buying a vintage floor may be much less than the cost of buying a similar new floor.




The wood that you can expect to find in reclaimed flooring is:

· Oak

· Maple

· Heart Pine

· Cherry

· Chestnut

It is taken from homes and old buildings that are being demolished as well as from the bottom of rivers and lakes. The logs found their way to the bottom of the lakes during logging and transport many years ago. The wood is brought up from the river bottom, dried, and milled into planks for floors and other items.

Finding Recycled Wood Flooring


This reclaimed wood is then sold to lumber mills and consumers that are looking for recycled wood flooring. You can often find it at:

  • Architectural salvage places
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Newspaper
  • Lumber mill
  • Some home improvement stores
  • Local designers and builders specializing in green home building
  • Aged Woods-Leeds approved


Potential Problems


When you are considering reclaimed wood flooring you do have to be careful. Always inspect the wood very closely. Some of the issues that you may find are:

  • Bug damage. You may find pits, tunnels and other signs of bug damage. This wood may be compromised even if the bugs have been killed by kiln drying or fumigation. You may be able to use the wood for something (Wainscoting etc) but flooring is probably not a great ideas.
  • Warped. Always check for warping. There is not any way to fix a warped board.
  • Discoloration. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people like the color variations that can happen with reclaimed wood.
  • Short lengths. Unless you have a very stable subfloor it is not good to get short planks. The floor may not be as stable as it needs to be.

Installation Tips


Before You Install Your Reclaimed Wood Floor:

Reclaimed wood flooring gives a warm and wonderful look to kitchens, dens, and other areas in homes that need a casual ambiance. There are a few things you will need to do before installing your floor.

  • Lay the planks out and run a metal detector over them. You want to find any nails or any other metal item that may be in the wood. These can damage the sander.
  • · If you plan to fill the nail holes with epoxy it is best to do it before you install the floor.
  • Lay the flooring out over the existing floor. Arrange the wood in a pleasing pattern.
  • Allow to cure in the room for several days.
  • Nail the floor into the subfloor or, if laying it over a cement floor, nail to plywood underlayment.
  • Sand the installed floor carefully.
  • Finish with the chosen finish.
  • Don’t walk on it for at least 24 to 48 hours.


Using recycled wood flooring is a fantastic way to have the wood floor you always wanted.


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    • profile image

      All Floors Inc. 6 years ago

      Recycled wood floor provides the beauty and feel of wood flooring without the associated damages caused by deforestation. It is unique – you will never find another piece to match its look, texture and unique history. It is a link to our past. Depending on its grade, the wood will have unique variations in colour tone, grain structure and character, due to the origin of the timber and the elements that the wood was exposed to during its life in the antique structure.

    • Manda Trevarthen profile image

      Manda Trevarthen 7 years ago

      Aside from reducing environmental impacts, I love the look or recycled wood floors. Great hub.

    • gothicjunk profile image

      gothicjunk 8 years ago from Waverly, NY

      If you have access to wood shop type tools you can reclaim wood from old barns and sheds to make flooring out of.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 9 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      At the prices now a day, you are crazy if you throw old wood flooring away. Also, it is the best wood. Today wood is not the quality of the old wood.

      Happy Hubbing New Year.