Archive for May, 2012

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood for Your Home

If you need wood for your home construction or renovation, the best option is reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood, also known as recycled wood, consists of old and used wood often found in old and damaged buildings or structures, whose individual pieces are still in good enough shape to use for new projects. These used timbers are durable enough to withstand even the outside elements and can last much longer than new wood.

Finding reclaimed wood for your house is fairly easy.  There are many sources for obtaining reclaimed wood now that can be trusted to be legal and safe given the certifications of the dealers. You can either go to these sellers directly or find your reclaimed woods yourself, but just be certain you maintain safety and legality if you choose the latter.

Below are some sources for finding reclaimed wood for your home:

  • Go to known wood companies. There are wood companies that offer reclaimed wood in addition to the new timbers they manufacture. Run an online search for wood companies in your area and begin calling around.
  • Inquire at your local carpentry shops or retail outlets that produce and/or sell woodwork. They may have excess reclaimed wood on hand that they will sell to you, and since this type of wood would already be a surplus item for them, you can negotiate a good price.
  • Find reclaimed wood vendors. There are businesses that specialize in offering reclaimed wood from old structures. This will open up a great selection of recycled wood in various tones and finishes.  Just be sure to verify that the wood is indeed reclaimed as they say.
  • Be on the lookout for homes that will soon be demolished. There is often room for price negotiation because selling the wood to you is a much better option for them than letting it go to waste.  For families who may be losing their home, buying their wood will also help them financially as they start anew.
  • Visit old barns and shipyards. There is a plethora of wood in these damaged structures that is still useful for new construction. Ask permission from the owners or people in charge before gathering wood from their property.

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How to Use Reclaimed Wood at Home

Reclaimed wood is considered a very well-rounded material, given its long lasting functionality and unique beauty. Using reclaimed wood in your home or office provides you with a more distinctive wood color and finish than what you can find in newer pieces because they are characteristics that require time to develop.  In addition, recycled wood is more durable than new wood, which means it will likely serve you for many years to come.

Another great benefit of reclaimed wood is that it provides you with an eco-friendly material option for decorating and construction.  Recycled wood comes from old barns, boats, and buildings, so their use does not require the further cutting of trees.  Reclaimed wood also reduces the amount of natural waste that can end up clogging rivers and ponds.

There are several uses for reclaimed wood at home. The rustic look of these materials adds instant depth and interest to the overall interior design of your home.  The look of reclaimed wood is timeless, and one of the most popular ways to use it is in flooring.  Reclaimed wood flooring offers a wider selection of textures and tones and can easily conform to any kind of design theme.  It is also easy to clean, resilient enough to withstand heavy foot traffic, and forgiving of minor nicks and scratches due to its natural imperfections.

Another popular use of reclaimed wood is floor paneling. Not only are reclaimed wood panels long lasting and elegant, but they are also excellent for absorbing sound, thus making them ideal for apartment living or homes with thin walls.

Outdoor decking is another popular use for reclaimed wood because it is tough enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  It will also give the exterior of your home an instant facelift due to the rich hues and character of the wood.

Wood shelving is another good use for reclaimed wood and you can either buy them ready-made or custom make your own. Reclaimed wood shelving offers reliable, sturdy storage and serves as the perfect accent for showing off your items without overshadowing them.

For dining and entertaining, there are a couple of great uses for reclaimed wood.  In your kitchen, install a butcher’s block made of reclaimed wood for a safe and sturdy cutting and prep area.  When it’s time to serve your culinary creations, entertain your guests at a reclaimed wood dining table.  Depending on the wood tone and style you choose, you can achieve a very modern look or more of a woodsy, country look.  Add reclaimed wood chairs or benches of the same color, and you will have a unique, one-of-a-kind dining set.

There are an endless number of uses for reclaimed wood, ranging from furniture and shelving to serving trays, utensils, and lighting fixtures.  All it takes is the proper maintenance to ensure long lasting beauty and function.

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Tips for Cleaning and Polishing Hardwood

Hardwood floors offer elegance to any home because they are a naturally beautiful material. They are also easier to maintain because their smooth, solid surfaces trap very little dirt or stains.

In order for hardwood floors to retain their beauty, however, consistent upkeep is necessary. Vacuuming or sweeping two or three times a week, plus daily spot dusting will help it to always remain bright.  And, even though it requires some work, the beauty of a clean, polished floor will make the effort worth it.

To bring out the best in your floors when you polish and clean, here are some useful tips you can follow:

  • Know the finish of your hardwood floor, since this will help you determine what type of cleaning and polishing materials to use.
  • Clean your floors well, but use as little water as possible because too much water can easily change the color of your wood, remove protective coverings, make it rough, and eventually damaging it.
  • When using wood polish, read the instructions first and make sure you understand the procedure prior to application. Certain polishes have special instructions, so you want to be sure you are doing it properly.
  • Make it a habit to dust and sweep the floor regularly. Then apply an almost dry mop all over the floor to thoroughly remove any residue.
  • When using wood polish or any other cleaning agent, use natural mixes over artificial ones if you can find them. Artificial solutions can contribute to the quick wear and tear of your hardwood floors. You can find a variety of different cleaning solutions online.
  • Always use products that are specifically designed for hardwood floors. Some cleaning agents are not intended for hardwood floors and an actually cause damage to them.  So, ask for recommendations if you aren’t sure what to buy.
  • Avoid using ammonia or alkaline products on your wood floors because they will scratch your floors and make them dull.

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Safety Tips for Wood Deck Construction

When it comes to wood deck construction, projects are generally best left to the professionals because they know how to maintain high standards of safety and quality throughout the building process. However, many homeowners choose to go the DIY construction route to save themselves money on labor costs.  If you decide to tackle the project on your own, be sure to educate yourself on a few things first before you begin.

For DIY wood deck construction, it is crucial to understand the essence of the building process, including the techniques, tools, and safety measures involved. This will ensure that you maintain proper work flow, while also preventing risks to your health and safety.

Below are some safety tips to keep in mind while building a wooden deck:

  • Always wear appropriate clothing. Avoid wearing loose clothing because it can become tangled in your construction tools. Wear something comfortable that you can move around in easily and avoid wearing jewelry or dangling accessories.
  • Before using any wood, check for nails and screws.  This is especially true for reclaimed wood, which can sometimes contain used nails and screws since it is recycled material. Remove any nails or screws you find to avoid injury while you cut and install the wood.
  • When working with wood, always use gloves to protect your hands.  Not only can working with wood give you splinters, but it can also expose you to irritating toxins if the wood has been treated with chemicals.  Use gloves to cover your hands and make it a habit to wash your hands after construction and/or before breaks.
  • Use a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling sawdust. Many people are allergic to sawdust, and you don’t want a reaction to interfere with your work.
  • Dispose of excess wood properly. There are several ways you can do this.  You can use it as burning material in your fireplace or outdoor cooking unit. You may also give some to neighbors or friends who may find it useful.  Or, if you have a large enough quantity remaining, sell it. Not only will you free you from having to store it, but it can also provide you with some extra money to offset your construction costs.

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What to Expect When Using Reclaimed Wood

People love to use wooden materials in their homes.  Even though other types of materials may offer wider ranges of color and design, there’s something about wooden flooring, doors, or cabinetry that continues to attract people.

There are many options when it comes to wood materials, so choosing the right kind of wood for your home may require a bit of research.  Wood materials can be broken down into three broad categories: new wood, laminate wood, and reclaimed wood.  If you are looking for an eco-friendly design, then reclaimed wood is going to be your best choice because it is the most sustainable option.

Reclaimed wood, also known as recycled wood, is wood obtained from damaged structures such as old barns, unused buildings, and boats.  Even though the overall structures themselves may be ruined, the individual pieces of wood are still intact and durable and can be perfectly reused in a different way.

When using reclaimed wood, it is best to first know what you can expect from the material. Just like any other type of wood or housing material, reclaimed wood also has its own share of pros and cons, and it is important to understand them prior to making a decision. For example,  reclaimed wood may warrant a little more work on your part because certain preparations must be done prior to installation. You will likely need to remove the nails, sand the wood, and varnish it. It may sound like a lot of work, but in the end, your wood will have one-of-a-kind character that will be unique to your house.  So, you have to decide whether or not you feel the amount of work required will justify the benefits.  There are also companies that handle the preparation of the wood for you, which saves you time and effort.

Another factor to take into consideration is that there is a risk of obtaining illegitimate recycled wood when you opt for reclaimed wood.  Many recycled wood dealers claim that they sell real reclaimed wood, when, in reality, they do not.  When you purchase your wood, just make sure to buy it from certified reclaimed wood companies, which will minimize that risk.

Using recycled wood provides several worthy benefits that are advantageous not only to you and your home, but to the environment as well. Reclaimed wood is eco-friendly because it helps to reduce the over-forestation of young trees in the forest. Moreover, because it is recycled, less energy is involved in preparing it for use.

Reclaimed wood also provides long lasting beauty. It offers a unique and comfortable appearance that is very well-suited for home use. Recycled wood is also strong and stable due to its age, so it can guarantee longer years of service than other materials and new or faux wood.

So, educate yourself on the details of reclaimed wood.  Knowing what to expect from reclaimed wood will help you to better understand the advantages of using recycled wood and what you have to do to get the best deal.

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Tips for Buying Eco-Friendly Reclaimed Wood

While wood may be one of the most versatile materials to use for home construction and renovation, there are certain types that can pose a threat to the environment. Many wood manufacturers are not concerned about the effects of deforestation and they continue to cut down thousands of trees daily, despite the balding forestry. Due to deforestation, many species of trees have been listed as endangered.

Each one of us can now help save the environment in our own little way by not conforming to the unwarranted cutting of new trees in the forest. Instead, using reclaimed wood is a more suitable and eco-friendly alternative. Reclaimed wood, or recycled wood, does not require more trees to be cut down because it comes from old or unused structures.  Even though the overall structures are old, much of the lumber within them is still viable and can still be reused for new construction.

However, when buying reclaimed wood, it is also important to understand a few factors so you can choose real and reliable reclaimed lumber. There are some manufacturers that advertise new timber as recycled wood, and their customers are neither able recycled wood to enjoy the benefits of using reclaimed wood nor truly utilize an eco-friendly material.

To help you purchase good reclaimed wood, here are some useful tips to consider:

  • Inquire about any certifications that can support its claim of being an eco-friendly wood. Organizations such as Forest Stewardship Council and SmartWood offer certification to manufacturers that harvest their woods in a more sustainable way.
  • Ask what species of wood it is. There are endangered species of wood these days, and buying them would be the opposite of the eco-friendly approach you’re trying to take. Research the types of trees that are now endangered, so you will have them in mind when you buy your wood.
  • Be wary of manufacturers with unrealistic prices or unprofessional transaction processes. They are sometimes uncertified and harvest their woods illegally.
  • Look for signs of aging. Even though it’s not always necessarily a good feature for your floor, the presence of nail holes will help prove that the wood is already old. In addition, look for other aging signs, such as weathering and a rustic appearance.
  • Check with your manufacturer to be sure your reclaimed wood has been through the proper treatments like cleaning, kiln-drying, and checking for hidden nails. Kilning your wood kills insects and removes excess moisture, thus reducing the chances of warping.

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The Benefits of Hardwood Floors

One of the most popular choices for flooring material is hardwood. Due to their aesthetic appeal, hardwood floors are widely used in private residences and commercial establishments alike.  The  added value they provide to a home justifies their worth, but there are also many other benefits that they offer.

Learning about the different benefits of hardwood flooring will influence the decisions you make when it comes to flooring materials.  Most people prefer to buy something that offers the most advantages rather than just focus on cost or aesthetic factors alone. Hardwood floors offer many positive features, which is what makes them such a wise flooring choice.

Here are some of the benefits of hardwood floors:

  • Easy maintenance and care – Hardwood floors are very easy to maintain and clean.  The material does not easily accumulate a lot of dirt and debris, so regular, light sweeping and mopping will leave it spic and span. In addition, cleaning your hardwood floors does not require a lot of cleaning agents.
  • Long lasting strength and beauty – Most flooring materials wear easily over the years, but hardwood floors can easily retain their beauty and grace with proper maintenance.  In fact, that ageless feature continues to be one of the biggest reasons why people choose hardwood flooring.
  • Low effective as a greater value, a worthy investment – Homeowners who have hardwood floors often say that they are the most worthy investment they’ve made, given the low cost and excellent features.  Hardwood floors are generally more cost-effective than other types of flooring anyway, but if you decide to use recycled wood instead of new timber, you will receive an even greater savings.
  • Flexible for any interior – Hardwood floors look great with any kind of interior, from classical themes to modern looks. You can use stainless steel, neutral paints, plain designs. or bold colors and, still, hardwood floors are an ideal match.
  • A wider variety – Compared to other types of flooring, hardwood floors offer a much wider variety of options when it comes to tones, stains, species, and styles. You can go with deep, dark tones or brighten up a room with lighter shades. You can even choose a particular kind of wood that suits your liking.

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