24 Aug The Truth about Reclaimed Wood
Demand is growing, and it’s readily available at a flooring store near you
It’s a fact: Reclaimed hardwood is now mainstream. You don’t have to search it out through a specialty retailer. Just ask Ben Cochran, whose northwest Virginia company has been making floors from deconstructed buildings since 1978.
“Everything we use in our reclaimed products is structurally salvaged from barns, factories and other buildings that are being removed to make way for new developments,” says Cochran, outside sales manager for the company his father started. “It’s been that way for more than 25 years.”
Cochran Lumber’s flooring is one of four reclaimed flooring brands that are readily available through many hardwood flooring companies.
The reason we are hearing more about reclaimed flooring, Cochran and others say, is that demand has increased and there is a wider range of styles and choices that include low and zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) adhesives and finishes. Reclaimed hardwood from deconstructed buildings also qualifies for credit, which in some cities can mean tax abatements, if you build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)- certified home.
Cochran Lumber offers oak, chestnut and pine floors salvaged mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Revival, another brand at Schumacher and Carpetland, salvages the same species across the United States.
Reclaimed floors have a story
“In addition to looking for something that is environmentally friendly, our customers often want a story about the building their flooring came from,” says Phil Dedic, a salesman for Revival, manufactured by Apex Wood Floors in Illinois. “We tell them their floor’s story, and when they have that first get-together with friends after the floor goes in, and everyone is oohing and awing, they have a really cool, neat story to tell them.”
Other companies are stepping up with a more exotic reclaimed choice — an example is flooring from Indo Teak Design.This is reclaimed teak from old structures built by the early Dutch settlers in Indonesia who used the world-renowned local native timber extensively.
This is really unique, and has a cool story. Some of it is even prefinished to look like old fishing boats.
The design aesthetic of old wood, coupled with the wider planks many brands offer, are the main appeal of reclaimed wood for many consumers. Reclaimed wood actually is more stable than newer wood because it has aged. Installed prices of these products start around $11 per square foot.
In addition to having a unique aesthetic, it can aid in hiding or masking new wear. And some products offer the visible rough sawn, crosscut, saw marks that contribute to a very rustic feel that is impossible to replicate in a new product.
Revival floors also include an engraved plank that commemorates the origin and circa date of the floor.
See their scores
Zanzibar, an engineered reclaimed floor from Mohawk also sold at Carpetland, is made with a no-formaldehyde adhesive and has FloorScore Indoor Air Quality Certification, which qualifies for the Better for People designation on the Natural Interiors® Design Center Scorecards available at Schumacher and Carpetland.
Cochran Lumber, Indo Teak Design and Revival offer low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), UV-cured waterborne finishes, in addition to a zero-VOC, plant-based oil finish from Rubio Monocoat.
Adhesives used in Cochran’s engineered reclaimed floors are low-VOC, the manufacturer states, and comply with CARB Phase II limits for formaldehyde, the most stringent limits that have been set by the state of California. Revival also is CARB Phase II compliant. Adhesives used in Indo Teak Design’s engineered floors contain no formaldehyde, and are low-VOC, based on the manufacturer’s MSDS.
Reclaimed products from Cochran Lumber and Indo Teak Design have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Recycled 100% certification, and therefore, get Better for the Planet designation on their scorecards.
Concern for the planet is the entire reason Indo Teak Design, based in San Diego, CA, started its company, says Christine Coates, the company’s U.S. sales and marketing manager. It all started when the company’s owner wanted to build a home in the Bali design style, but did not want to harvest new teak, which often is controversial. The search for a solution ended in Indonesia.
“So now, you can get all the benefits of this extremely resilient wood, simply by reusing it,” she says.©
— Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.