Recycled Wood Flooring

Model: Old wood can be given a new life | Date:2010-05-11

Old wood can be given a new life when it is recycled into "new" wood flooring.

Recycled wood flooring is made from salvaged boards or trees that have been remilled into a product suitable for residential use. Since this wood came from old growth forests of America, it is often harder, denser, and more attractive in appearance than new growth wood. Recycling wood is more resource efficient than making new wood flooring.

Specialty recyclers glean reusable hardwoods such as chestnut, hickory, cherry, and oak from old houses, buildings, and barns that are slated for demolition. Another source for reclaimed wood flooring is river and lake bottoms where wood from long-ago logging operations sank and has been retrieved from its underwater storage. Salvaged logs, beams, and planks are sent to a lumber mill where they are remilled into individual flooring pieces. The surface can be selectively finished to have a final appearance anywhere between rough-hewn to finely sanded and varnished.

Recycled wood flooring can be installed in planks, similar to the flooring seen in historic homes. It can be milled into tongue-and-groove strips similar to modern wood flooring systems, with individual strips made in widths from three inches to sixteen inches. One company makes end-grain flooring by cutting oak beams 3/4-inch thick and placing them on the floor with the end-grain facing upwards, almost like laying tiles.