Reclaimed wood floors-opinions and experiences

thereddogrubyJune 5, 2009

Hello everyone-

We're looking to replace 1000 sq. feet of wood flooring throughout our home. We've had to rip up the previous wood floor BC of severe damage. 70 year old white oak trimmed in mahogany (so sad). It will be a continuous, open area (living room/kitchen/dining area/entryway), bedrooms also, fairly contemporary looking. Does anyone HAVE a reclaimed wood floor, what are your opinions and experiences with it, differences between new and old wood... etc etc. Anything you can offer up opinion-wise would be useful, pics would be great! Also, I've gotten a quote from a company but not really sure what ballpark it should be in. Thanks!

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Some woods, such as heart pine and chestnut are reclaimed
because that is pretty much the only way you can get them.
Heart pine (long leaf) is available new, but does not have
the same patina and durability as reclaimed material
Chestnut was largly wiped out by the 1920s
Other woods, oak, hickory and all barnwoods are reclaimed for their rustic nature and inherant stability

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 10:50PM
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It is an EXPENSIVE choice. $30-$50 for materials depending on species. I've seen upwards of $200 for true teak (tectonia grandis) because it's now impossible to import and only available from some old boats. The labor will be higher too, just because you're working with such an expensive floor and the "insurance" premium will be higher.

If your pockets are deep enough, it's a beautiful and green choice. Unfortunately, green choices are always more spendy than "regular" materials.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Thank you for the feedback, Its VERY helpful in this stage and am receptive to all you might know. Going to have to check a little more about installation since my husband and probably another carpenter will be installing it. I received a quote for about 5.50 a sq foot, Black Walnut (NOT select), 3-6 inch width, I choose the size with no difference in price, plus about 600 to ship. I've basically asked them for anything that might be a sale item and they've offered up a few choices. Besides this online company that is selling reclaimed wood, the only flooring store I've gone in the area is a Lumber Liquidators which has various kinds, already finished Bellawood for about that price+. I'm skeptical about LL and are also looking into ordering from an online source since I'm hearing you get better service and quality. I'm also questioning durability on pre-finished and vs. US finishing the floor. I keep hearing you get better and longer wear on pre-finished woods BC of the aluminum oxide coating that you can't get when you do it yourself. We are on a budget but I don't mind spending an extra few hundred, if the quality and character will be evident.I'm not necessarily looking for an exotic wood. At one point we looked into strand bamboo but then I began to think about all the glues that are used in it, how that may be over time, where its coming from, etc etc?

Back to the reclaimed wood, from what you are both telling me, it would be a more interesting look, and durability BC it is aged, correct? I don't want a "country" look but would like a worn look. Trying to keep a modern feel throughout. We are leaving some brick exposed, installing shaker style cabinetry with straight bar handles, bringing some walls down, and want to keep the space as open and clean as possible. the living room, dining room, kitchen and foyer all run into each other (NYC apartment). We will also be flooring the bedrooms too. Thanks SO MUCH for your advice and would love to hear more.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:33AM
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$5.50 a square foot won't be true reclaimed wood. It's somebody's idea of distressed new wood masquerading as reclaimed. YOu can't even good a good grade of new walnut floors for $5.50 a foot. Double that figure to start, maybe. And, that's for new wood.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:22AM
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I have reclaimed antique white oak floors throughout my house. (Upstairs we mixed antique white oak, red oak and chestnut in some rooms). I love it, it looks and feels warm and never shows dirt. I have a more "distressed" looking floor because I like knotholes, wormholes, nailholes, etc. and I have two teenagers and a dog.

White Oak floors, Antique Chestnut fireplace surround

Mix of White Oak, Red Oak, and Chestnut

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 11:26AM
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idrive65: Very pretty floors!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Look fantastic. What company did you buy from? We are looking at Carlisle wide plank Antique Oak any suggestions opinions.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:50PM
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You can get reclaimed for a lot less than 30-50 (!) if you shop around, but 5.50 sounds considerably lower than I have seen.

I can't imagine paying extra for the worn character of reclaimed wood and then putting aluminum oxide on it.

The main advantage that I can see for reclaimed, other than obviously the look, is potentially denser wood than you can get today.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 2:14AM
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You can get reclaimed for 5.50 if you are obsessed and quick. I stalked several reclaimed company websites for weeks and still check their special pages every day. When I found what I was looking for (oak from old barn beams) I called and half was already sold! I ended up getting about half of what was originally listed. It's going to be tight, but think it will cover our first floor..still stalking to find enough for second floor.

We paid just under $6.00/sq foot and it is certified antique flooring from old barn beams and siding. If you are concerned about it being fake, ask for the certification.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 9:12AM
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Look fantastic. What company did you buy from? We are looking at Carlisle wide plank Antique Oak any suggestions opinions.

Thanks. My floors are from Chestnut Specialists, dh's company. At the time (2 years ago) the wide white oak flooring in the family room was going for around $15/sf for unfinished T&G flooring in that width range. In today's economy everyone has lowered prices of course, and the narrower mixed wood flooring in the second pic is less expensive than the wide oak. (It's also a look that not everyone likes, but I love it.) I don't know that anything has gone as low as $5.50 but it's been close. Never as high as $50 though! Wow, I'd have a much nicer car if that were true. :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 9:27AM
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Have you tried Craigslist? I'm being serious, that's where I found my reclaimed maple floor. We have a 1910s house and wanted the wood patina to match our existing oak and maple floors.

$2.00/ sq. ft for 2 1/4" and 2 ft. lengths through 7 ft (we could have paid $3.00/ sq. foot for mostly longer lengths). My husband went and checked it out beforehand, they were demo-ing a 1930's warehouse in Chicago. He had to rent a truck to pick it up (luckily they loaded it), and we hired someone to refinish and install. It looks great, I really should take a picture of the finished product.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 10:46AM
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idrive65, your flooring is gorgeous ! thanks for sharing the pics.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:50PM
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Check out The Woods Company, Inc. in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. They have been in the antique reclaimed flooring business for over 30 years. Offer antique reclaimed and traditional country wide plank flooring. High quality and great prices!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Woods Company, Inc.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 12:38PM
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WOW! I thought you were not allowed to advertise on this site.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Businesses are not allowed to post links in that way. Most are able to do it just once and then are warned not to do it again.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Cautionary note: much reclaimed wood flooring is manufactured by individual mills that are not part of any particular flooring association and thus may not produce the flooring in accordance to accepted standards.

1) make sure your installer is familiar with reclaimed wood flooring
2) make sure to take moisture content readings BEFORE you pay for the product and that it falls within standards provided to you by your installer
3) make sure to take moisture content readings at your house before installation, and compare the readings to other floors in your house.

Had I done this, and purchased the $150 Delmhorst J-LITE pin LED meter 2 months ago instead of this week, I would have saved myself several thousand $.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Hi shoelvr - can you tell us what sites you were checking daily to find $5.50 sqf reclaimed wood flooring?? Am desperate to find same - help!!

Also to jemeaux - amazing craigslist find!! I'm also in Chicago and scouting CL daily for reclaimed flooring...could you share photo of your finished floor? Do you mind sharing your installer's contact info?

Thanks so much!
Kelly in Oak Park

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 7:17AM
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