Reclaimed wood has seen a massive surge in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s environmentally friendly, has unique characteristics, and is extremely strong and durable.
You might have noticed that the cost of reclaimed wood tends to be somewhat on the expensive side—this is due to the labor of love and expert craftsmanship that goes into creating it. Read on to learn why is reclaimed wood so expensive.
What Is Reclaimed Wood?
Many barns and older buildings on the Eastern Seaboard were originally constructed out of the heartwood of 150 to 400-year-old Longleaf Pine trees. This type of wood is durable, resistant to rot, and very strong. As time went by, the once-vast forests of Longleaf Pine trees dwindled to just a few small groves.
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to get virgin Longleaf Pine heartwood—unless you salvage it from an antique building. Construction crews and reclaimed wood specialists like E.T. Moore will come in, demolish the building, and salvage the best pieces of wood.
The Demolition Process
Demolishing a building to obtain reclaimed wood is no easy task. You first need to find a suitable building and then examine it to ensure the original wood is in salvageable condition. It then takes several weeks to several months of hard, backbreaking labor.
As the building comes down piece by piece, workers take special care to identify and salvage desirable pieces of wood that they will eventually turn into beams, paneling, and flooring. Once the demolition is complete, the salvaged wood is then loaded onto a truck and shipped to the E.T. Moore warehouse, where it will undergo a series of processing and refinement steps:
The salvaged wood often has many rusted nails sticking out of it. Before processing work can begin, a team of workers will spend upwards of 50 to 60 hours removing the nails. There’s no machine in the world that can perform this task—it’s all done by hand.
After the nails have been removed, a team of expert graders will visually inspect each piece of wood and use a proprietary formula to determine the best way to maximize the yield for standard 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, and 8/4 lumber. Customized Woodmizer and Esterer saws are then used for rough-sawn products.
Defects in the edges and ends are trimmed to maximize each board's widest possible width and remove any remaining blemishes. Once finished, the boards undergo a secondary grading process that includes re-checking for moisture for quality control purposes.
Depending on the species or type of reclaimed wood, it may undergo further processing. For example, Old Growth Tidewater Red Cypress Lumber gets slow cured outside for six months and then moved to a passive solar kiln for another six months of treatment.
Finally, we send the reclaimed wood through our state-of-the-art molder machine to create molding, custom flooring, and paneling.
Limited Supply & High Demand
Another factor that significantly contributes to reclaimed wood cost is that it’s a finite resource. Antique barns and Industrial-Era textile mills slated for demolition are getting fewer in number with each passing year. Reclaimed wood is sustainable and environmentally friendly, making it very attractive to those who want to build with a green resource.
How to Keep Reclaimed Wood Costs Down
There are a few things that you can do to keep costs down. For example, E.T. Moore has four primary grades that are priced differently:
All Heart Nail Hole Heart Pine and No. 2 Heart Pine Flooring are two of the more cost-effective grades of Reclaimed Heart Pine.
E.T. Moore Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed wood costs more due to the amount of manual effort and expert craftsmanship that goes into salvaging and processing. At E.T. Moore, we’re one of the biggest reclaimed wood manufacturers on the East Coast.
Our proprietary salvaging and processing processes allow us to provide our clients with a wide range of unique and beautiful antique wood products. Click below to learn more about our reclaimed wood lumber and flooring products.