What is Reclaimed Timber?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Reclaimed timber is wood that has been used in various building projects in years past and have been salvaged or reclaimed for use in new building projects. This reclaimed wood can be used to create new wood floors, serve as framing for new homes and other buildings, or even be used to finish walls or basement areas. Reclaimed timber is an efficient way to make good use of available resources. In addition, the wood from old houses may also be visually appealing and add character to a newly constructed home.

This type of antique wood often provides several desirable qualities. The reclaimed timber often is high-quality with a moisture content that is considerably less than newly milled wood sections. This means that old barn wood as well as timber frames from older houses are much less likely to shrink and pull slightly apart after construction. From this perspective, reclaimed wood offers a degree of structural stability that minimizes the settling that normally occurs over the first several years after the edifice is constructed.


Wood reclaimed from timber frame houses offers aesthetic or decorative possibilities as well. Weathered panels can be used to construct a decorate accent wall in a main living area. Planks and other sections may create a pleasing design for wood flooring in a bedroom, kitchen, or den. Reclaimed timber also makes excellent material for decorative door and window frames as well as molding and chair railing. Often, the recycled wood has a patina that would be very difficult to achieve with new wood.

The use of reclaimed timber is especially attractive to people who wish to build environmentally responsible homes. Utilizing wood that is reclaimed from older structures means that trees do not have to be cut down in order to create building materials. Since the wood has naturally cured as part of the aging process, there may or may not be the need to treat the wood in order to maintain the strength and integrity of the materials, making the use of the recycled products even more environmentally friendly.

As an added incentive, reclaimed timber comes with some sense of history or connection to the past. The wood may be harvested from a childhood home or old lakeside cabins and used to construct a new dwelling that will be useful for the current and future generations. This makes it possible to create a new living space that is to the taste of the current occupant but retains something of a cherished home once owned by a parent or grandparent.

Today, there are a number of suppliers who deal especially in reclaimed timber. The types of wood offer may vary somewhat depending on local availability. However, the pricing is often competitive with newly milled lumber, making the use of recycled wood products attractive to just about everyone.


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