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reclaimed wood home project ideas

Reclaimed Wood Home Project Ideas

By Laura BourlandRise Writer
Feb 12, 2020

As your new home takes shape, you may begin to realize the vast amount of waste produced from your construction project. It’s not uncommon to over-order materials like lumber or create massive piles of recyclable materials from the deconstruction of preexisting structures.

By sorting usable materials like wood, metal, and stone, you’re doing your part to preserve natural resources, minimize environmental impact and repurposing materials for further use. We recommend starting any new home building project with a soft tear down of existing buildings to reduce waste and preserve usable materials for reuse. Learn more about soft teardowns and sorting recyclables in our construction waste series.

Reclaimed Wood
Reclaimed Wood. Photo Credit: Wesley Tingey Photography

What Can I Do With Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood is a trending construction material applied to thousands of creative applications - from walls and floors to furniture and décor. Investigate any wood rescued from existing structure demolition for toxic sealants, paints, and finishes, as these may not be suitable for reuse. Any wood that passes the test may be suitable material for additions to your new sustainable home building project.

Wood is a natural resource, and sustainably conscious homebuilders look to build with reusable, environmentally friendly materials and look for opportunities to reuse natural resources rather than sending them to dead-end landfills.

Can Reclaimed Wood Be Used in New Construction?

Structurally sound reclaimed wood can be reused to capture your home site's history and the surrounding areas. For example, here in the Pacific Northwest, towering Red Cedar Trees were cut down by the Native Americans to build ocean-stable canoes for transportation, fishing, and even racing. Incorporating reclaimed red cedar from a previous build provides the opportunity to pay homage to the native history while giving that valuable and beautiful wood a new purpose.

Where Can You Find Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood products can be purchased from local sellers and lumber yards or salvaged for free from farms, old buildings, fences, snow fences, the beach, waterways, or even scraps from local home improvement stores. Some companies are even sourcing wood from bogs, lakes, and streams and reclaiming their findings through drying and milling processes. You may also find many reclaimed wood sellers listed on the internet. If you decide to buy locally through a private seller, it's essential to do your homework on the seller and ask them about the source, original use, and wood species.

Can You Buy Products Made With Reclaimed Wood?

The natural, weathered, and distressed accents of reclaimed wood make it a great addition to any home. Many manufacturers offer reclaimed wood in either a raw or finished format. The benefits of purchasing reclaimed wood from a manufacturer are:

  • a wide range of rare, exotic, and highly durable species available
  • guaranteed and consistent condition
  • often sturdier than commercially purchased wood
  • the ability to buy in bulk
  • properly salvaged and dismantled (free of spikes, nails, breaks, chips, and other common haphazard issues)
  • the reclaimed wood has likely been precision-milled for a specific use
  • inspected and free of toxins, paints, or other health concerns

Many popular reclaimed products are also readily available from manufacturers at both a local and national level. The possibilities are virtually endless, from furniture, countertops, and flooring to doors, wall paneling, and siding. Manufactured reclaimed wood products provide rustic, warm, and eco-friendly options or if you're hoping to escape the conventional cookie-cutter designs for something more unique.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring. Photo Credit: Revolve Design–Build

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Flooring?

Reclaimed hardwood flooring provides a long-lasting, classic, and time-honored look that lends style and warmth to any home. Durable, reclaimed hardwood suitable for flooring can be hard to come by locally. Multiple reclaimed hardwood manufacturers offer a wide range of species perfect for your next home renovation or build.

While buying or freely sourcing reclaimed wood locally can be a cost-effective option, securing enough products for a large job can be challenging. It's important to note that rare reclaimed hardwoods can also be more expensive than buying new materials. Architectural Digest recommends using reclaimed pine boards, as an alternative, because it is plentiful, less expensive, and easier to find than hardwoods. Whether you purchase the material from a manufacturer or source it locally, it's essential to hire a professional to prep, treat, and install reclaimed flooring.

reclaimed wood accent wall
Reclaimed wood accent wall. Photo Credit: Plank and Mill

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Accent Walls?

Reclaimed wood can be patterned and pieced to create a standout, natural accent wall in your entryway, living room, or even the bedroom. It can also create a beautiful border around an interior walkway or window. This is a relatively easy project as the wood doesn't need refinishing.

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Wall Paneling?

Consider using recovered wood to panel a cozy den or bedroom for an earthy touch that will release natural wood scents when the house is toasty warm in the winter. Some vendors are even using wood from old pallets to create a beautiful industrial effect.

Reclaimed Wood Fence
Reclaimed Wood Fence. Photo Credit: Tierra

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Fences?

Wood can be repurposed as fencing around your yard to keep the dogs in or around your front porch, stairs, and walkways for a down-home vibe.

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for External Structures

Larger, structurally sound wood can be used in building additional buildings like a shed for outdoor tools, a treehouse or swing set for the kids, an art studio, a garage, a backyard man cave, and so much more.

barn wood sliding doors
Sliding Barn Wood Doors. Photo Credit: Grain Designs

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood To Make Doors?

Reclaimed wood can be redesigned into beautiful sliding barn doors in place of more traditional French doors and noise-reducing interior doors. This is an easy DIY project, and there are now many decorative sliding door hardware options to choose from.

reclaimed wood wall

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Small Projects?

Reclaimed wood comes in all shapes and sizes. From furniture, shelving, countertops, to art, planters, and picture frames - reclaimed wood can often be the perfect material for smaller, DIY home projects.

reclaimed wood coffee table
Reclaimed Coffee Table. Photo Credit: RC Willey

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Wood Furniture?

Reclaimed wood farmhouse tables are all the rage right now as a natural and rustic dining room centerpiece. Consider repurposing your reclaimed wood into usable tables, chairs, beds, headboards, benches, and more!

Reclaimed Wood Shelves
Reclaimed Wood Shelves. Photo Credit: West Elm

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Shelves?

Every new home needs shelves to hold all your precious books, pictures, and knick-knacks. Reclaimed wood can be reused to build both stand-alone bookcases and wall-mounted shelving.

Reclaimed Wood Countertop
Reclaimed Wood Countertop. Photo Credit: Carl Mayfield Photography

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Countertops?

Durable hardwood can be treated and installed for unique surfaces in the kitchen, bathrooms, and hallways. When using reclaimed wood for countertops, ensure that you use food-safe and low VOC products to seal and finish the working area.

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood in Your Entryway?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a coat rack, a bench for changing shoes, or a wall-mounted hook for your purse, hat, and keys waiting for you when you get home every day? Reclaimed wood can make that dream a reality.

Reclaimed Wood Wall Art
Reclaimed Wood Wall Art. Photo Credit: iirntree

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Wall Art?

Small pieces of wood can be reengineered into wall scones, rustic signs, mirrors, picture frames, and more. This can be a do-it-yourself project customized for your space, or you’ll find unending possibilities from craftspeople, local artists, and online sellers.

Can You Used Reclaimed Wood for Planter Boxes?

Reclaimed wood can be quickly repurposed into simple, five-sided boxes for flowers outside your kitchen window and throughout the garden. Larger pieces make for excellent raised garden beds.

When in Doubt, Donate!

Excess building supplies and usable materials discovered during soft tear down of existing structures don’t do any good piled up in a shed for years. If you don’t see an immediate use for reusing construction waste, someone else might! 

Thrift stores and second-hand building supply shops like Habitat for Humanity ReStores will accept usable material donations for other projects in your area. You might also have some luck in listing usable materials on CraigslistKijiji, or Facebook Marketplace or holding a yard sale. 

But remember, building a new environmentally friendly house is about more than the house itself. The ethical and sustainable recycling of C&D waste will help you minimize your environmental impact and limit the amount of waste dumped in landfills. Do your part!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-06-25T01:25:45+0000
Laura Bourland

Article by:

Laura Bourland

Laura grew up in the California suburbs, far removed from environmentalism, but nature always has a way. She uprooted her life in 2015, moving to the countryside of Washington to live a more sustainable and simple life on 12 acres. She and her fiancee are learning on the job as they attempt everything from gardening and natural pest control to eco-friendly building and home improvement.