Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring is an ugly way to describe a sustainable use of the world's resources. The purpose of using salvaged wood is to create an efficient use of energy. In the Twenty First Century we are looking at the energy used in production of a product as well as the energy used in its destruction. Wood is one of the world's resources that is natural, durable, recyclable and renewable.

All forms of life on earth are carbon or water based. Trees and plants use photosynthesis to create energy from the sunlight. A very important by product of that process is oxygen. Wood absorbs carbon, thus removing it from the atmosphere, which helps to reduce carbon emissions. For an increasing number of people this is sufficient reason in itself to use reclaimed wood flooring.

Reclaimed wood flooring comes from a variety of sources and the geography of where you live will dictate what type of salvaged wood is on offer locally. Sometimes it cuts out waste altogether and it uses trees that would be mulched, burned or destroyed. In other places it is salvaged wood from old houses or other buildings. Many countries have a "National Wood Flooring Association" which will help you search for salvaged wood from barns, old warehouses, marine timber and many other sources.

Contrasting colours of wood have a vibrancy of their own. This means that it is not as difficult to match the colours of reclaimed wood flooring to existing pieces of furniture. If your current wooden furniture is in a dark wood such as mahogany then it will look more dramatic on a light coloured floor. A dark floor will give a definite contrast to lighter coloured furniture.

It is worth remembering that a dark wood floor will make a room appear smaller, whilst a light floor will appear to open up the room, and make it appear larger.

If reclaimed wooden flooring has to match the furniture you already own, then in some cases a stain may be applied to achieve the correct color. In general it is usually recommended that wood is given a clear finish, to maintain and highlight its natural color.

Sometimes the natural color of the wood has a lot of variation in color and this needs to be toned down. However bear in mind that wood stains do not penetrate the wood to any great degree, they tend to stick on the surface. This means that if the floor is exposed to continuous bright sunlight it will fade quickly.

The woods that have a grain very close together such as maple, beech and birch do not take stains well and a patchy look is often achieved. This is because most of the stains are oil based, and the pigment accumulates inside the open pores of the grain, which builds up an uneven color.

The best results are achieved on open grained wood which include the varieties of oak, ash, walnut and pecan. If your decide to stain your floor then you must exercise as much care as if you were finishing it. If you choose a varnish which has already been combined with the pigment then it literally sits on the surface of the wood and blurs the wood's natural grain.

Reclaimed wood flooring is becoming "trendy" because it is eco-friendly and completely biodegradable. It is longer lasting than softer coverings and only needs refinishing about every twelve years.

See Also:

Oak Hardwood Flooring
Install Wood Floor Step by Step