Reclaimed wood has a lot of character and color variation in and of itself. This is the desirable feature of this material. Because reclaimed wood can be centuries old it has seen a lot of different environments and elements over the course of its life. Everything from where the original tree stood to where the lumber was installed (possibly many times over) all play an important part in how the reclaimed wood looks today. As a result, the special effects of reclaimed wood are extensive showing the history of the product in every imperfection.

This means that every batch of reclaimed wood has its own markings, grains, and colors. This is important to keep in mind when you are browsing photos of reclaimed wood on the internet because you will not find the same exact combination. You have to have a less restrictive standards for projects when using reclaimed wood.

Here are Some Special Effects of Reclaimed Wood

There are also other reasons that the same reclaimed wood can look different in a photo and in person even though it is the same product.

  • Although most people like the authentic look of reclaimed wood and do not usually treat it, some homeowners may. You can treat reclaimed wood with a colored stain to even out variations or you can brighten it up with a clear coat.
  • If you choose to treat your reclaimed wood remember that the type of stain and/or sealer you use will affect the appearance. For example, solvent based sealers will darken and bring out any color in the wood where water -based sealers tend to mute color dimension.
  • Reclaimed wood is very sensitive to the environment in which it is installed. For such a densely impacted material reclaimed wood does take on tones and colors from surrounding materials. This is a result of its innate disparity. So, keep in mind that when you get your reclaimed wood home you may notice characteristics that you did not see before.
  • Homeowners have a false idea of what reclaimed wood will look like based on its species. Reclaimed wood usually does not look anything like its species. For example, oak reclaimed wood does not resemble 1970’s oak like most people expect.
  • Staining reclaimed wood with a color tone that is from another species will change the entire appearance of the wood. This means that often people refuse to believe that their reclaimed wood is the species they asked for when it is.
  • Dirt! Reclaimed wood is ladened with hundreds and hundreds of years of dirt. Once you clean your reclaimed wood it will look much different.
  • Mold and mildew have also most likely built up on your reclaimed wood. It can easily be cleaned away along with dirt which will also change the darkness or lightness of specific tones.
  • Since your reclaimed wood has traveled thousands of miles and has been in various environments it probably has stains from numerous substances. It is unlikely that you will be able to necessarily identify them but after removal it will alter the color of the wood.

If you would like to use reclaimed lumber on your next project, don’t hesitate to reach out! With lumber industry experience dating back to the ’70’s, we are confident that we can answer any wood related questions you might have.