Wood is one of the world’s oldest building materials, with its use in construction dating back some 10,000 years. As green building has become popular, one of the hottest trends is the use of reclaimed wood, which gives old lumber a second life and creates interesting new colors and textures for walls and siding. Whether the wood came from an old barn or perhaps wood storage crates or pallets, the look of reclaimed wood is popular for a number of home design styles and applications.
As beautiful as reclaimed wood is, however, it can have its downsides. That’s why today’s homebuilders and do-it-yourselfers often look for alternative ways to get the same effect of reclaimed wood without the disadvantages. If you love the look and feel of reclaimed wood, and are ready to do a home renovation project, you’ll want to look into your options before making your purchasing decision.
The Real Wood Alternative
For many years, real wood was the only option for people who wanted the look and feel of wood in their homes. But with the introduction of polyurethane, builders and DIYers were handed an entirely new set of choices. And they quickly found that it had many benefits and uses, replacing modern building materials that include high costs and maintenance.
As manufacturers have become more savvy, and the manufacturing process more sophisticated, polyurethane products have become even more popular for a variety of purposes. Barron Designs has used that innovation to create faux wood beams and panels that provide the look and feel of real wood.
Recently, Barron introduced reclaimed barn board shiplap panels, which have all the texture and style of real wood rescued from old barns — right down to the nicks and nail holes. Because the panels are crafted from molds made of actual salvaged barn board, they deliver a rustic look that immediately inspires the relaxed feel of the countryside. Whether you prefer a dark or light wood, they have several styles available that provide gorgeous variations in color for a completely realistic appearance. When placed side-by-side with real reclaimed wood, it’s impossible to tell the difference. But before you make a selection, it’s important to know what the actual differences are.
The Pros and Cons of Using Real Reclaimed Wood
If you want the look of reclaimed wood, either inside or outside your home, you have many choices in the color and type of wood that’s right for your space. Before making that decision, here are some things to consider.
Wood is a natural resource, which means it can’t be produced in a warehouse. Because of that, several factors affect its cost, including how available it is, the size of the trees, how quickly they grow and more. When it comes to reclaimed wood, the cost can go even higher. That’s because the wood must go through a process that is more extensive than harvesting virgin wood. Salvaged wood must be sorted to find what’s usable, then there is often extra work to be done, such as pulling nails from the wood and resanding it. All of this labor, of course, adds to the cost.
Faux reclaimed wood panels provide the warm look of real reclaimed wood at a fraction of the cost. In addition to the lower upfront cost, because they are so lightweight, they also cost less to ship to your home, and are much less expensive to install. While installing real wood requires heavy duty tools, and is something best left to a professional or an extremely skilled do-it-yourselfer, faux reclaimed wood panels are lightweight, easy to handle and easy to install. Typical projects involving wood will take two or more people to manage, but lightweight polyurethane panels can be done as a solo project.
Wood is a hard, durable product. Reclaimedwood is even harder than many newer woods. On the Janka Hardness Scale, which is used to measure how durable and dent-resistant each type of wood is, reclaimed wood rates are as much as 40 points harder and more durable than virgin wood of the same species.
However, using faux reclaimed wood panels also has many benefits, because the polyurethane panels are designed to be durable, weather resistant and to last for years to come. As a result, your faux reclaimed wood wall will remain looking just like new much longer than the real thing. And, while pests such as termites like to make their home in real wood, faux wood paneling doesn’t invite termites and other wood-damaging insects.
Many homeowners want safer and more sustainable products in their home, and faux wood panels ensure that users get a safe, nontoxic product. The use of real reclaimed wood has become increasingly popular in recent years because it curbs deforestation and reduces landfill waste in addition to looking great. However, it’s critical that you know the source and history of the wood you’re using.
Inside, repurposed wood materials such as old telephone poles, railroad cross ties and even wood pallets can pose a health threat, as they may be treated with toxic chemicals designed to repel insects and protect the wood from the weather. Exposure to these chemicals can cause everything from minor respiratory irritations to serious health concerns. So, when using reclaimed wood, it’s important to learn about where the wood was sourced and what treatments it has undergone. If that information isn’t readily available, you’ll need to make sure it is tested for toxins before using it in your home.
Polyurethane panels provide the look of wood without toxic off-gassing of dangerous chemicals. The use of water-based stains ensures that panels are nontoxic while also allowing for detailed, realistic color variations throughout the product.
Faux Wood, Real Beauty
If you’re planning to add the look of reclaimed wood to your home or business, consider what faux panels can do for your project. Whether they’re used inside or out, these durable, fade-resistant and elegant panels are a beautiful new way to add a touch of the past to your project.