Going Green: Choosing Reclaimed Lumber Instead of New Wood - By: Michael W. Clark

We may not be able to control whether or not the world ends in 2012, but one thing we can control is how our spending habits impact the planet in the meantime. One of the most Earth-healthy decisions a consumer can make is to look for products made from recycled timber instead of new wood. Reclaimed lumber prevents deforestation - and since forests are like the planet's lungs, changing carbon into oxygen, stronger forests equate to healthier conditions for every living creature.

Not convinced yet? Check out the following benefits of building with recycled timber:

1. Oftentimes, reclaimed lumber is even stronger than virgin wood.

Experts tell us that reclaimed wood flooring is up to forty points harder on the Janka scale than virgin wood floors. That makes sense when you consider that reclaimed lumber is often sourced from old buildings. These pioneer structures were usually constructed with old-growth wood, which is harder than lumber taken from younger trees.

2. Reclaimed lumber is eco-friendly.

Dear flooring consumer: Will you choose what's behind door number one (newly milled or mined resources) or door number two (petroleum-based synthetics)? Sometimes it can seem that these are the only two choices consumers have - to contribute to mining or deforestation, or to encourage further oil drilling for petroleum.

Fortunately, you can choose what's behind door number three: reclaimed wood products. The procedure for transforming old wood into reclaimed lumber products doesn't release heavy pollutants, as does the process for creating linoleum and carpeting. And unlike virgin wood products, reclaimed wood doesn't require more trees to be felled in our already overtaxed forests.

3. Reclaimed lumber is distinctive.

If you're looking for something outside of the norm, you'll appreciate the fact that reclaimed wood floors and other recycled timber products each have a unique story to tell. Your wood floor or panels may have enjoyed a previous life as gymnasium seats, beams in a barn or cross-Atlantic shipping containers. If you like, you can leave some clue of this past life in your recycled timber products. As an example, you can choose to leave gymnasium seat numbers and graffiti visible in your new wood tabletops.

Not sure how to bring this resolution for reclaimed wood into your life? Here are a few suggestions:

Recycled timber panels. Today's reclaimed wood paneling is available in a wide variety of styles - all of which add natural warmth and beauty.

Reclaimed wood flooring. We doubt anyone will be able to tell that your new wood floors are actually composed of recycled materials - unless, as mentioned above, you choose to leave a few clues as to where the wood came from.

Bathroom and kitchen remodels. Traditionally, designers have avoided placing wood in moisture-heavy locations such as the kitchen and bathroom. However, modern manufacturing procedures allow engineered wood or 4x8 architectural panels to be placed in these rooms. Both of these options consist of a thin layer of reclaimed wood on top, and compressed layers of timber particles on the bottom. This construction means the products will not warp or shrink with changes in temperature or moisture levels. Therefore, you can enjoy warm recycled timber paneling or cozy reclaimed wood floors even in your bathroom and kitchen.

The resolution to use reclaimed wood products is easy to apply in any room of your home.

As homeowners become increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment, the demand for greener products is on the rise. This article discusses the benefits - both environmental and personal - of choosing reclaimed wood over virgin wood products.

Many unique and beautiful pieces of art can be created using recycled timber. In addition to having a natural beauty it also good to the environment. Learn about some different projects you can try when you visit ViridianWood.com.

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