From a made of weathered cedar fencing to wide-plank flooring milled from the beams of a Tuscan farmhouse, reclaimed wood can generate a and add a sense of history to your home. Reclaimed wood is simply wood that has been salvaged from old structures, meaning it's eco-friendly and comes with built-in patina. Think centuries-old siding from a New England barn, massive beams from an abandoned warehouse, weathered boards from an old fence, or wide-plank flooring from a schoolhouse.
"You can buy new wood, but it's not the same," says Monty Brazell of in Corsicana, Texas. "It doesn't have the character that the old does. The beauty of it is in the old nail holes and the worm holes." When it comes to identifying good reclaimed wood for your next project, his advice is pretty simple: look for wood that's straight (not warped) and dry.
"Beyond that," he says, "it depends on the look that you want." That may include using old cedar fencing or reclaimed yellow pine beadboard (complete with chippy paint) for an accent wall or transforming white oak timbers into a dramatic dining room table.
Fortunately, reclaimed wood is widely available. Here are six suggestions on where to get your hands on some.
Entering search terms like "," "," or "" on Craigslist and will generate pages and pages of buying opportunities. Sellers range from folks looking to make a little cash on their rundown, hundred-year-old barns to more sophisticated dealers with lots of inventory. Before you buy, be sure and ask plenty of questions regarding rot, warped planks, and insects before you bring it into your home.
2. Architectural salvage yards
Places that specialize in architectural salvage, like in Waxahachie, Texas, and in White River Junction, Vermont, are treasure troves of old lumber, as well as columns, porch posts, mantels and doors.
3. Demolition sites
Unfortunately, not all old homes and buildings can be saved from the wrecking ball. If you know of a home or old building slated for demolition (some cities' departments of building inspection have a list) try to the owner of the property to see if you can scavenge for wood pre-teardown. Many see it as a helpful way to get rid of detritus for free.
4. A field near you
Our nation's countryside is dotted with dilapidated barns and farmhouses that have collapsed with age. Some of the owners of those properties with decaying buildings would be thrilled to have someone clear out the clutter—which could be highly covetable silvery barn siding or old-growth pine shiplap. Searching your county's appraisal district website can help you identify property owners. (Get permission from the owner first!)
5. Reclaimed lumber dealers
For those looking for a more hands-off experience, there are an abundance of reclaimed wood dealers throughout the country. Many have sophisticated websites where you can browse their inventory. Brazell recommends Hillsboro, Texas-based , which specializes in antique reclaimed lumber, including long leaf pine, rough cut cypress, cedar and pine, as well as multi-colored beadboard.
6. The Home Depot
That's right, the . The big-box store sells disassembled pallets and crates that can be used for flooring, furniture, and accent walls. The heat-treated lumber is a grab bag of wood in mostly pine and oak and comes in a variety of lengths and thicknesses.