The history of reclaimed wood and it’s uses in the home.

UK Home Improvement

The History of Reclaimed Wood and it’s uses in the Home.

Lumber and wood has been used for centuries now to create all sorts; from shipbuilding to furniture. The amount of lumber produced solely in the US in 2016 was 41,026 million board feet and there doesn’t seem to be any decrease.

However, the use of reclaimed wood has seen a resurgence in the last 20 years. Both because of its look and feel, but also due to its sustainability, as we become more aware of our finite resources, people are looking to reclaimed materials more and more. Due to our wide variety of use with wood over centuries, there is a large amount of perfectly usable lumber that is ready to be used for all sorts of projects. 

What is Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood is lumber that has been retrieved from its original application and re-purposed for subsequent use.

This type of wood emerges from a time when wood was in abundance in North America and central Europe. As the industrial revolution spread throughout the world, wood was used greatly for mass production and often sawmills and factories were the heart of any town or village.

Most of the reclaimed wood you see in bars, restaurants and homes these days comes from old barns, factories and warehouses during the 18th and 19th century where wood was used in abundance this was during the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately for these buildings, they are no longer in use. They have since been unoccupied and are generally falling apart. However, the wood remains as strong as ever and in some cases even stronger. The Lumber is then sourced and then upcycled for use.

New lumber can contract and expand which causes splitting. Reclaimed wood, especially if it is over 100 years old is particularly suitable for high traffic areas due to its tight grain, which makes it resistant to damage and heard-wearing.


Over the years we have seen a massive resurgence in using reclaimed wood. We have seen its use in not only flooring and panels but architectural details, cabinetry and furniture making.

Due to over de-forestation, we are seeing a real decrease in the number of trees all over the world. We are now, more than ever, conscious of our planet and using reclaimed wood can help.

So not only is it great for the environment, but it also has a unique appearance that can’t be replicated with new wood. Over the years it has become a stylish and popular choice to decorate modern homes and commercial spaces.

Different styles of reclaimed wood

Reclaimed oak – A very popular choice for reclaimed wood. Often being used for flooring and cladding. With different types including a rustic face, cut face and Versailles panels. See here for examples.

Reclaimed Pine – A cheaper alternative to oak. Pine is a softwood and less hardwearing but has been used extensively for interior architecture such as flooring.

Reclaimed Douglas fir – A very versatile wood that is in abundance. Can be used for a variety of different things. More information here

There are of course many more different types of reclaimed wood available from elm, birch and more exotic lumber.


Reclaimed wood is now more popular than ever. As mentioned above it not only has a patina and texture that can’t be matched by modern new wood, but it has also become somewhat of a status symbol. Suppliers charging higher prices because of this. The popularity of renovating old buildings and houses has meant many people want a material that is in keeping with the rest of the house.


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