Often I am asked about the sustainability of reclaimed wood. Sure we all love to be trendy whether it is for a new look or for a new cause, but is reclaimed wood really sustainable? How many old barns, houses and factories could be left and how long will they even last? What happens when I use reclaimed wood in my house or project? How has the years of wear and weather affected the lifespan of the products that are made from reclaimed wood? What if the government of California decides that having reclaimed wood in your home could cause cancer…don’t worry, everything in California causes cancer.
Sustainability is defined as the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level, or the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. (Google) Although we are dealing with a finite resource, reclaimed wood products like our reclaimed wallboard planks create not only a lasting, beautiful and high quality product, it also meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future. How you might ask? By salvaging wood from structures that have outlived their usefulness we are able to put money back into the farmers pocket and reduce the need/demand for more new lumber. This decrease on the demand of new lumber keeps prices lower allowing the farmer to better afford to build his next barn, a more usefully designed barn that someday too will outlive its usefulness and be transformed into something special.
Lasting Capabilities of Reclaimed Wood
Wood reclaimed from century old structures is very structurally superior to our wood produced today. Trees lived in dense forests and had to compete for the nutrients and sunlight required for growth. This led to much slower growth, which created a denser wood with tight growth rings. Modern forests are select cut to create an optimal growing environment for trees, leading to much faster growth, less dense wood and wide growth rings. Old (slow) growth timber will outlast the modern wood. Products made from reclaimed wood unlike the mass produced walls, furniture and floors of today will still be around for generations to come.