You have the perfect plan to get the most out of your property next summer and maximize your RnR – you want to install a back deck. However, you might not know about all the options at your disposal. Before consulting your local deck contractor, you should know a bit about this green alternative to traditional decking material. This quick breakdown will provide all the relevant information you need about the benefits of using reclaimed lumber.
What is Reclaimed Lumber?
In essence, reclaimed lumber is high-quality wood taken from demolition sites. This product is usually harvested from old factories, barns, warehouses, ships, and commercial or residential buildings. Instead of finding its way to a landfill, specialists work hard to ensure that these historic construction materials find their way to new life.
Upcycling for that Rustic or Regal Aesthetic Touch
Upcycling is recycling a product into something newer and of higher quality. Historic construction materials come in many different styles. It follows that with such a variety of origins you can find reclaimed wood that fits your aesthetic needs.
If your design aesthetic has a need for a rustic, well-worn look, then reclaimed wood from a barn, factory, or warehouse could suit your needs. If you want a classier look, old commercial and residential constructions have plenty of beautiful, ornate lumber to accent your designs.
Green Benefits of Reclaimed Lumber
There are environmental benefits of choosing reclaimed lumber as your decking material, and some of the benefits are not as obvious as you might have thought.
Small Steps Towards Reducing Forestation
Deforestation is a serious threat facing the wooded areas of the world, which account for 30% of the Earth’s landmass. According to worldbank.org, the Earth has lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forest since 1990. The cause of this is multi-faceted. However, climate change, agricultural needs, and commercial logging practices are the biggest culprits. One way to help reduce the speed and potency of deforestation is to reuse what has already been harvested and refined.
Save Energy and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
A report delivered at the UN in 2010 by a joint team of scientists from the Timber Committee of the United Nations and the Society of Wood Science and Technology, found that the energy requirements of turning felled trees into usable lumber were 11 times higher than the energy used to refurbish reclaimed lumber.
Then there are the energy costs of transporting the lumber, which depending upon its forest of origin, could be exorbitant. According to the same report, the average carbon emissions from, producing, transporting, and installing new framing lumber are 310% greater than refurbishing, transporting, and installing reclaimed lumber.
Old-Growth Wood is Stronger
Old-growth wood refers to wood that was alive for hundreds of years before it was harvested, making it denser and more resistant to weathering elements. This older wood is stronger and more durable than wood that has been planted explicitly for lumbering purposes, which generally is only 20 – 30 years old.
Because of our rapid growth as a species on this planet, our need for lumber has always been an escalating need. Many of these ancient forests have already been harvested and those that have not are rare and protected in the US. But if we can not grow “new” old-growth wood, we can sure reuse old-growth wood that is already present in older constructions.
If you want your deck to be more naturally weather-resistant and stronger, then you should consider using reclaimed wood when building your deck.
New Deck, Old Wood
You now have the knowledge to confidently discuss the possibility of using reclaimed wood with your deck contractor. Your dream home can also be a green home and it will look great as a result.
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She writes on behalf of Superior Deck and Fence.