What Does Reclaimed Timber Mean?

22 August 2022
Warehouse Roof Pine reclaimed flooring

What to Expect: Reclaimed Wood Flooring and Cladding

With its sought-after look loved by interior designers, and a need for construction materials with green credentials, the growing demand for reclaimed timber is predicted to continue. But what exactly does reclaimed timber mean? And what should you expect to receive when you order reclaimed wood flooring and cladding?

Reclaimed Means Sustainable

When you choose reclaimed wood, you can be certain that you are minimising the environmental impact of your project. For a start, using reclaimed wood reduces virgin timber harvesting. It also takes much less time and energy to refurbish wood that has been rescued than to harvest, transport and process virgin wood. Also, by extending its life you are ensuring that the carbon captured over the tree’s lifetime remains in the the wood. And you’re keeping good, useful timber out of landfill.

Victorian Douglas Fir reclaimed flooring
Reclaimed Victorian Douglas Fir flooring at Thames Lido

What Does Reclaimed Timber Look Like?

Reclaimed timber comes in many different forms — from weathered, original-faced oak and exotic hardwoods, to clean-looking, planed, smooth softwoods — there are boards to suit any interior design project. It can achieve a range of styles, from a pared back, traditional Victorian-era look, to a dramatic industrial aesthetic.

The wonderful texture of our Warehouse Roof Pine. Photo Credit: Chris Fynes

No other material can replicate the natural rustic character of time-tested reclaimed wood. With its ability to provide stylish texture and close-to-nature charm in any space, it’s no surprise that so many interior designers are embracing the beauty of reclaimed timber and using it to make a statement with feature walls and ceilings.

Every Batch is Unique

Reclaimed wood invites you to look closer; choosing this perfectly imperfect timber adds visual drama to any interior. Its beauty lies in its embedded history and the captivating life story it tells. And every batch of reclaimed timber we source will have its own unique characteristics.

Whilst we do our best to categorise our reclaimed products based on their aesthetics, it’s always best to see a sample or images of the current in-stock batch of timber before ordering. And bear in mind that reclaimed timber boards — even within the same batch — are known for their characterful, varied appearance.

Warehouse Douglas Fir reclaimed wall cladding
Warehouse Douglas Fir cladding on our showroom walls

Expansion and Contraction: the Importance of Acclimatisation

Unlike our extremely stable engineered planks, solid reclaimed boards are quite sensitive to changes in moisture content, and they have a tendency to expand and contract when there are changes in environmental conditions. For this reason, you should allow approximately 3 weeks in suitable conditions (with consistent temperature and relative humidity) for your reclaimed boards to become as stable as possible before installing them. So, make your rescued boards feel at home.

Please note: we strongly advise against using solid wood flooring in bathrooms as it will soon distort due to the high humidity levels.

Still Going Strong: Durable, Old-growth Timber

Many of our reclaimed products are rescued from the structural beams of old, disused buildings — many of which used timber from old-growth forests. As a result, the wood used in these historic buildings is often stronger and harder than newly produced solid timber. The ability to re-purpose this old wood as flooring or cladding is testament to its impressive durability.

Our Victorian Beam Oak at a kitchen project by Sustainable Kitchens. Photography by Lukonic.

Warm Tones

Reclaimed wood is renowned for its warmth and its ability to create cosy, inviting spaces with its natural colours. Cladding walls with reclaimed wood is a very effective way to cocoon your rooms with these warm tones to add a sense of comfort to any interior. Our Raw Pine is fantastic for creating this chalet chic interior style.

Reclaimed Raw Pine cladding at Chaunceys’ Bristol HQ

Rare Finds: Exotic Timber Species

There are some wood species which are almost impossible to source ethically as virgin timber — and rightly so, they are very carefully protected — but some of these valuable species can be found closer to home as reclaimed materials and given a new lease of life.

In particular, exotic hardwoods which grew in tropical regions — such as Ipe, Keruing, Massaranduba and Merbau — are often reclaimed from disused warehouses and old railway carriages in Europe. These species are extremely strong and hard-wearing as flooring, and they offer distinctive character and rich colours when used as wall cladding.

Our Riesling Exotic cladding at Superdry’s store in Bristol’s Cabot Circus.