Reclaimed wood is an easy accent to add to your home or office. It looks great, is versatile, durable, and easy to work with. Reclaimed wood can be used in a variety of different ways as we have talked about in prior blogs. Reclaimed lumber comes from various sources and can be found in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. The allure for reclaimed lumber comes from its unique abused and washed-out look, perfect for any rustic or vintage style. Reclaimed wood, while being durable and sustainable, can often become fragile if not taken care of properly. Make sure you keep these tips in mind and working with reclaimed wood should be a breeze.

#1 Clean the Wood

Reclaimed wood is over 100 years old and has probably traveled through many different destinations before making it to you. Reclaimed wood is exposed to animals, dirt, weather, debris, and mold. Once you get your reclaimed wood, clean it by running a bristled brush over top of it and then rinse it off with some water. 

#2 Make Sure There is No Metal

These boards are from deconstructed buildings such as factories and barns, which means they may have some nails, screws, or staples that were missed during manufacturing. Make sure you look your boards over and pull out any pieces of metal shrapnel that may be on the boards. If you leave old nails, screws, and staples in the wood you increase the chances of rust and decay.

#3 Bugs Bugs Bugs

There are a thousand different types of bugs that like wood, especially old wood. It would not be surprising to find a few creepy crawlers amongst your reclaimed wood. Although, if your wood was put through a milling process and kiln-dried then the chances of finding bugs is much slimmer. Most mills have preventative tactics in place to avoid this from happening, but just be cautious.

#4 Soften Up the Edges

With reclaimed wood, because it is so old and has been through so much, the surface of the wood may be rough. If this is the case and if your supplier didn’t already sand the surface, sand the wood just enough to take away any abrupt edges, splinters or rough spots. Don’t sand so hard though that you take off the natural top layer, because this will take away your rustic and washed look.

#5 Be Prepared

Reclaimed wood can be a hard material to work with because of the preparation that has to happen. You will probably have to prep the surface as mentioned above with some light sanding, as well as cut the boards to fit your project needs. Since it was not specifically engineered for a specific project, you will have to make minor adjustments to the boards so that they fit and look good based on your project. The other thing to keep in mind would be the tools you need for your project. You will need specific saw blades that will cut your boards as well as nails, screws, or staples depending on how you will be securing your wood. Reclaimed wood may be warped, crooked, and may not be perfectly straight which will take some extra time and patience during install. All these things are easy to fix with the right tools and the right mindset to do the job. Don’t think your install will be a breeze just in case of those unexpected hurdles you may face.

#6 Inspiration and Have A Plan

When you are going to work with reclaimed wood it is important to have a plan and design set in place. Reclaimed wood can be tricky to change up because of its age. You want to make certain that your design is what you want. Inspiration and consulting designers is a good way to decide what you want and make a plan to follow. This way you will avoid mistakes and the need to start completely over on your project.

We hope this guide on working with reclaimed wood useful and will help guide you through the process of your reclaimed wood project and install. If you ever need help or have questions let us know. We love to help!