Archive for June, 2012

Repairing Damaged Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Even though they are hardy and more durable than new wood floors, reclaimed wood floors are still prone to damage, especially in high foot traffic areas.  However, even if the floors experience warping, stains, or scratches, the right kind of cleaning and repair can bring it back to its normal condition.  In fact, the resiliency of reclaimed wood is one of the things that makes it such a great long-term material option.

If your reclaimed wood floors experience damage, here are some tips for repairing them:

  • Clean and inspect. Before starting the repair process, clean your reclaimed wood first with a broom or soft-brush vacuum.  This will enable you to clearly identify the type and extent of the damage on your floor as well as the finish of your floor, so you can repair it accordingly.  If you are not well-versed in such repairs, consult an expert.
  • For scratches, either buff them or fill them with wood filler or beeswax. Shallow scratches can be removed by spraying cleaning agent on a paper towel and gently rubbing out the scratch.  If a cleaning agent cannot eliminate the scratch, use shellac, beeswax, buff or wood filler to fill the cracks and scratches.  Once you’ve filled them, wipe off the excess filler so it dries into a smooth finish.  Just make sure to confirm with your manufacturer that the filler you will be using will be appropriate for your floors.
  • Repair pest damage with specialty products.  If your reclaimed wood floors are damaged due to wet rot, dry rot, or woodworms, consult your manufacturer to find out which cleaning products will be the safest and most effective for your floors. There are products that are specifically made to fix those three problems.
  • For stains, reapply the finish on your wood or use bleach if the stain is too dark for the rest of your wood.  Just be careful because you don’t want to bleach the spot too much and replace the dark spot with a permanent light spot.

If large portions of your floor are damaged, and the repairs are going to cost too much, it may be easier and more cost-effective to replace them instead.  If you end up laying a new floor, be sure to apply finish to the new reclaimed wood for added protection.

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Preparing and Caring Your Outdoor Deck for the Summer

Outdoor decks offer a great place to have outdoor parties and barbecues during the summer evenings. However, they may not always be in good shape after a long and cold winter season. In order to make the most of your outdoor deck and enjoy it for many years to come, taking proper care of it is important.

Preparing and caring for your outdoor deck this summer will not only give you a beautiful wooden deck to host house parties and pass the time, but it will also extend its life and reduce the prevent potentially dangerous situations such cracks and protruding nails. Checking and repairing your outdoor deck will ensure that you and your guests can safely enjoy memorable outdoor parties all throughout the summer.

Before planning your next barbecue party, you need first to make sure that your deck is ready. Give your deck an inspection and check for the following:

  • Protruding objects
  • Loose railings
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Water damage
  • Cracks
  • Rotting panels

If you find any items that need attention, you will need to prepare your deck for repairs, cleaning, and staining if necessary. First, remove all items from your deck, including furniture, heat lamps, plant, etc. You want to be sure you have access to every corner, especially if you’re staining.

Next, repair any damage that exists, such as replacing rotting wood panels or re-connecting boards with nails. If you will be staining your deck, do not do so until all repairs have been made. Avoid painting your wooden deck, as paint can easily peel off and crack when exposed to the elements, which makes your deck less attractive and increases your maintenance responsibilities. Staining offers a more subtle, natural tint and helps to protect your wooden deck from the outside elements.

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Creative Ideas for Using Reclaimed Wood Siding

Exterior siding from an old or damaged house can still be very useful, even if the building itself is structurally unsound.  When you use reclaimed wood, aside from having a remarkably unique and beautiful material with which to work, you will also be using an eco-friendly option because you will be recycling materials instead of buying new ones.  In addition, reclaimed wood is more durable than new wood because it has already been strengthened through weathering, and it is most cost-efficient.

If you plan to use reclaimed wood siding in a home renovation project, here are a few creative ideas on how you can incorporate them:

  • A sliding carriage door – Do you like the country feel of dark wooden doors and windows and earth-toned accents?  If so, then you’ll love creating a huge wooden sliding door to divide rooms.  Reclaimed wood siding is particularly great for indoor sliding doors that separate the living room and dining room.
  • Wooden furniture – Use old siding to create unique furniture like lawn chairs, armoires, and picnic tables. Because repurposed wood is so sturdy, you can be assured that your picnic table and lawn chairs will last for many barbecue parties to come. Armoires and chests of drawers made of reclaimed wood add a comforting feel to a room with their rich textures and unique tones.
  • Bookcases and shelves – Design reliable, attractive storage and display units for all of your books and DVD collections. You can even add glass to the front for protection and an added touch of class.
  • Frames – Whether for a picture frame or a frame for your mirror, reclaimed wood can make an eye-catching statement. Choose old wood with a rough grain for a more rustic or country effect, or use a smoother texture for more universal appeal.
  • Tabletops and countertops – Wooden countertops are a classic touch in a more rustic or rural kitchen if well-maintained. If you don’t want your countertops to be all wood, you can use reclaimed wood siding to create a butcher block or even a small wooden table for your breakfast nook.
  • Decorative flower beds – Create rectangular boxes for your flowers and place them on your window or in a small garden. Reclaimed wood siding is perfect for these types of projects because it is strong enough to hold the heavy weight of the soil and is already proven to withstand the outdoor elements.

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Five Common Enemies of Hardwood Floors

New and reclaimed wood are some of the highest quality materials when it comes to flooring, and when you take proper care of your hardwood floors, they can remain beautiful and sturdy for years.  However, if you do not protect them against their worst enemies, they will lose their texture and shine, they may become scratched and broken, and you may find yourself walking around on unsightly flooring.

To get the most out of your hardwood flooring, keep it away from its five most common enemies:

  • Water – Generally speaking, water and wood don’t mix well together because water can seep through the wood and encourage mold growth, making your hardwood floors more prone to damage. Although water can be used to effectively clean your floors, use as little as possible to reduce the chances of damage.
  • Sunlight – Although trees and plants require sunlight while they are still alive, it becomes their worst enemy once they are dead. Too much direct exposure to sunlight can fade the varnishes and finish of your hardwood floors and even cause discoloration.  If direct sun exposure is unavoidable, use window treatments or an extended roof to lessen its intensity.
  • Furniture – It may sound ironic considering furniture is always present, but when it moves and drags across hardwood flooring, it is the greatest cause of scratching.  Try to keep furniture rearrangement to a minimum, and if you have certain pieces that you move regularly, attach small pads to the bottoms of the legs to prevent scratching.
  • Dirt Buildup – If you don’t take the time to clean and maintain your floors, you may start to notice a yellowish tint.  You will also notice that they become dull and less shiny. That is because when too much dirt, grease, and dust accumulate on your floors, they hide the previous luster and gradually begin to damage it. If there is too much buildup on your hardwood flooring, you will either need to deep clean it or strip and replace it. Both are time consuming and expensive, so the best approach it to clean regularly.
  • Liquid Spills – Whether you live alone or in a house with other people, spills are inevitable. But, that doesn’t mean you should give up on maintaining your hardwood floors. Spills can indeed damage the beauty of hardwood floors, especially if they are left unaddressed, but if you clean a stain quickly and thoroughly, you can save your hardwood floors from possible damage and you’ll never know it was there.

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Choosing the Right Reclaimed Wood for Your Home Project

Choosing reclaimed wood for your home project offers many benefits.  Using recycled wood can be a cost-effective decision because it is typically less expensive than new building materials and it has already been time tested and proven to be durable and long lasting.  In addition, using reclaimed wood is a very environmentally friendly choice because it reduces the demand for newly processed wood and can last for years without being replaced.  And, because it is usually weathered, reclaimed wood offers a unique, imperfect beauty.

If you decide to use reclaimed wood for your home project, make sure you choose the right kind for the type of project you are doing. Reclaimed wood is available in a wide array of wood species and finishes and, as a result, offers many different looks and functions. Moreover, not all  manufacturers offer quality used woods, so it is important to do your homework so you don’t end up with wood that becomes damaged after a few months of use.

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the right reclaimed wood.  First, you must decide what type of reclaimed wood you want for your home.  Older planks and beams are best found in old barns and buildings that have been around for many years. But, for home projects that require new wood, you can still find recycled options by inquiring with construction companies, lumber yards, and reclaimed wood manufacturers.

The wood species you use is also a major consideration when it comes to choosing the right reclaimed wood. There are so many species to choose from and all of them offer ranges in tones and textures. For a more traditional style of wood flooring or beams, heart pine, cherry, and white oak are some of the best options. Wood species such as red oak and eastern white pine offer a more country look. If you would prefer a modern floor or ceiling, birch, hickory, and walnut are excellent choices.

When it comes to finishes, there are also several different options, including wood oil, wax, and urethane-based finishes. Keep in mind that using the proper finish on the wood you choose is very important in order to protect it from possible water and heat damage, as well as pest infestation. When you buy your reclaimed wood be sure to examine it well and avoid wood with signs of water damage or pest infestation to ensure you receive a high quality product that will last a long time and give you your money’s worth.

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How to Care for Your Reclaimed Wood Table

Reclaimed wood adds an exceptional, unique beauty to any home. The small cracks, nail holes, and splits, not to mention the distinctive wood tones and textures, can only be achieved with time, leaving you with something that adds character to your home.

To preserve the elegance of a reclaimed wood table, proper care and maintenance are important. The right kind of cleaning techniques and the appropriate tools should be used to ensure that you clean the surfaces properly without damaging the wood.
Here are some tips:

  • Invest in the right wood cleaner. When looking for a wood cleaner, be sure you choose something that is appropriate for reclaimed wood. Ideally, it should consist of natural ingredients and be free of any harmful chemicals.  Try to find something as eco-friendly as possible, safe for use, and specifically designed for reclaimed wood.
  • Remove food particles and liquid spills from your table immediately.  It’s inevitable that they will appear from time to time, but it’s important to properly clean the area quickly and thoroughly to avoid staining, drying, and cracking.
  • Remove water marks using non-gel toothpaste. Gently rub the toothpaste onto the table using a soft cloth and then wipe it dry. These marks are usually caused by glasses being placed directly onto the wood, so use coasters and placemats to avoid the problem.
  • Avoid placing your wooden table in the way of direct sunlight. If you use a reclaimed wood table outside, make sure you have a large umbrella or make-shift cover to protect it during hot days.
  • Do not place hot plates or pans directly onto the wood, as they can create marks on your table. Use hot pads or trivets to provide a protective barrier.
  • Remove food crumbs that fall into the cracks of your table with a soft, small paintbrush or toothbrush.
  • Before applying any wood cleaner, make sure that your table is free of residue.
  • Choose to properly finish your reclaimed wood table before using it will do a lot to help protect it from possible spills and stains.

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Using Reclaimed Wood for Rustic Décor

For years, people have loved incorporating rustic and antique elements into their homes because they add warmth, comfort, and an elegance that cannot be imitated by new things.  When people think of rustic and antique design elements, they usually think of decorative items and furniture, but by extending that to wood floors and ceilings as well, you can take the rustic look to a whole new level.

When looking for the perfect material to use in your home renovation, consider reclaimed wood. As the name implies, reclaimed wood comes from old barns, damaged buildings, and old boats that may not function anymore, but contain wood that is still viable for other uses. The wood can be recycled and used in new building projects to provide an environmentally friendly material option that is also more durable than new wood.

If you think about it, reusing reclaimed wood can do a lot to prevent buildup in rivers and landfills. It also reduces the demand for newer trees, which is important not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a legal one because many manufacturers cut down younger trees illegally to keep up with the demand of consumers.

Reclaimed wood is also very cost-effective.  There are stores that sell reclaimed wood if you want to compare a larger variety of colors and grains.  However, if you want to find the wood yourself, you can often negotiate a very good price with the people who own the structures, and sometimes they’ll even give it to you for free.  If you are sourcing your own wood, it is important to remember to always ask permission before taking any wood, even if a structure appears to be completely abandoned.

Aesthetically, the imperfections of reclaimed wood offer a distinctive, one-of-a-kind appeal.  When working with reclaimed wood manufacturers, you can choose from a wide array of color and grain variations. For flooring, for example, Antique Oak, Douglas Fir, Tank Redwood, and Hickory are popular options. For wood beams on your ceiling, you may decide to go with a Wormy Chestnut, Heart Pine, or Pecky Cypress.  Consult with your wood manufacturer  to find out which type of species is ideal for your current project. You can also ask them how to maintain the wood after the project is complete because different types of wood require different types of care.

After you choose the type of wood you want, then you can begin exploring colors and textures.  Reclaimed wood offers bold colors and rich textures that can last a long time, even outside.   You can even throw in an additional splash of character by inserting a wide plank of wood in  the middle of your wood floor or alternating the widths of the pieces you’re using.

If you’re looking for something unique, reclaimed wood is a great option because it offers rare finishes that can usually only be achieved through aging.  The beauty of reclaimed wood lies in its weathered appearance and the imperfections like saw marks and nail holes that add personality to your home.

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