If you have a stack of wood from an old fence, or another pile of planks that is no longer serving its original purpose, it can be tempting to use it for another project. Should you re-use these pieces as reclaimed wood in your home? We reached out to some of our readers to see what they think about reusing wood materials. Keep reading to see what they recommend.

Cathryn Bailey

Cathryn Bailey

Cathryn Bailey, Founder of Bomisch

Retain the Character of the Wood

Reclaimed wood is great for decorating modern homes and enhancing them by adding a bit of character and history.

If you come across something like an antique hand-hewn beam or something similar that you wish to use in your home – do as little as possible to it. It is very important to retain as much of the old character as possible.

For making changes on the wood, a good start would be to first establish a planer side.
Small corrections with drawknives and planes should do the trick. For bigger corrections, you can rely on modern tools like jointer and sawmill but make sure you don’t overdo it. (A table saw can replace a sawmill if you have a bit of experience.)

After you have a planer surface done, the rest is a piece of cake. Use a variety of tools to square up the remaining sides and it’s as good as new (or old!).

The charm of reclaimed wood comes from its rugged look and nostalgic vibes, so it does not need much work to make it fit the purpose.

Reduce Environmental Impact and Update the Aesthetic

Let’s start with understanding the meaning of reclaimed wood, which is repurposed wood. Any wood that has previously served a different function and is no longer serving the same purpose is reclaimed wood. For example, wood that has been used to build an old barn or wine barrels but is no longer being used for that is reclaimed wood.

So, yes, you can re-use existing wooden materials in your house as reclaimed wood. Some of the most popular materials you can use are: old hardwood flooring to resurface kitchen or bathroom cabinets, old pallets to make coffee tables, and more.

Overall, repurposing old wood reduces the environmental impact, reduces our contribution to landfills, and gives you a chance to have some upcycled aesthetic in your home.

Dan Voelker

Dan Voelker

Dan Voelker, Vice President at Aquion Energy.

Kyle Richards

Kyle Richards

Kyle Richards, Co-founder of Best Overland Park Painters.

Using Your Own Wood Can Cost You Less

Definitely! It’s sometimes better to source your wood from old structures on your property because reclaimed wood products for sale are most likely treated with chemicals and can be pricey, too. Just be careful to choose pieces that have fewer nails, bolts, and screws attached.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about the material’s structural integrity because you’re likely going to use it aesthetically, too many holes on the wood’s surface can make it look a bit unappealing.

Different Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood

Yes, you can reuse your existing wooden materials in your house as reclaimed wood. Here are the different ways you can use them:

Reclaimed Flooring. You can use old wood as reclaimed hardwood flooring. The addition will make your home look contemporary like a barn or factory. Materials such as pine would look great on your floors. Make sure that you use thick planks since your floors will experience plenty of traffic.

Wood Beam. If you have thick and long reclaimed timber, you can use them as beams on your home. Exposed beams have a rustic feel to them. Their ruggedness makes them look old but durable. Be sure to only use timber that is durable such as Douglas Fir or Hemlock.

Timber Cabinets. If you need more storage space, distressed wooden cabinets are your best option. It’s your sustainable choice while giving your kitchen, living room, or bedroom a custom feel. Maple and red oak are the best timber for your reclaimed cabinets.

Edward Jones

Edward Jones

Edward Jones, Managing Editor & Founder of the home improvement and garden publication, HomeCareHow.

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins, Independent Contractor & Blogger at Electro Garden Tools.

Checking the Wood Thoroughly

The short answer is yes, you can use it as reclaimed wood. However, there are quite a lot of things you need to learn to reuse old wooden materials like reclaimed wood. First of all, it’s necessary to manually sort the wooden parts and remove all the nails, bolts, plastic or nylon pieces, etc. Next, you need to ensure that the wood is not damaged by rot or insects and remove/treat all the damaged parts.

Once the wood is prepared and all the weak pieces are thrown away, you need to decide where you want to use the wood. If you are planning outdoor use, consider sealing the wood properly to reinforce it against the elements. For indoor use, you may want to save the patina.

You should also know that reclaimed wood is not a good option for structural parts of the house as it’s usually not strong enough for that. Instead, reclaimed wood should be used for decoration, furniture, flooring, siding, etc.

Don’t Use it as Part of the Fundamental Structure

Yes, you can use existing wood materials in your house as reclaimed wood, but their quality is no longer at its best. Reclaimed wood should not be used as part of the fundamental structure unless they have been tested for its soundness and quality. Though nearly all solid wood can be reused, re-grading it should be done before using it again, especially when it has been nailed on or cut. Reclaimed wood is best used for furniture as they pose a lower risk of contributing to a house disaster.

Scott Hasting

Scott Hasting

Scott Hasting, Co-Founder of, BetWorthy LLC.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.