Seasoned and strong
By Michelle Price on 03/06/2012
Using reclaimed products is a great way to lessen our impact on the environment and support the local economy. Products made from antique lumber can add incredible warmth to every home and are part of our American heritage. Some of the barns, houses and mills being deconstructed these days are more than 100 years old. The timber used for their construction came from virgin forests that were several hundred years old, including heart pine and American chestnut, now virtually extinct.
American chestnut is only available through reclamation. This particular tree, which was the dominant species in the Appalachian region, died out sometime in the early 1930s due to the American chestnut blight. Efforts are being made to reintroduce it, but it will be decades or centuries before the chestnut tree is a viable part of our logging industry again.
Wood products stemming from reclamation efforts possess unique qualities. The density, stability and natural beauty of the wood in its original state, plus many years of seasoning, make this product valuable and in high demand. The richness and patina of the old-growth wood cannot be matched by trees that are being harvested today. Tens of thousands of trees are harvested every day by industrial mills and sold by retail giants. These manufacturers are continually using new material, while many small local businesses are reusing the old, which is of much higher quality.
Reclaimed lumber products are environmentally friendly because the reclamation process defers tons of demolition waste that’s usually shipped to landfills, and reuses it. Much of the wood harvested is already cut and in plank form, so when it is reconditioned, there’s considerably less fuel and electricity required for processing. Buying reclaimed lumber takes advantage of the embodied energy already in the material.
The Recycling Business Assistance Center focuses on developing the construction-and-demolition recycling infrastructure in the state. “We need all kinds of recycling businesses to help grow the development of this sector,” explains Matt Todd, market development specialist with the center. The RBAC supports reclaimed lumber companies because they fill an important salvage and reuse niche in North Carolina.
So before you build your next house or start your next renovation project — or if you just want to learn about local products and services — look at the resources in your area. Many local companies will be glad to answer your questions and help you decide if they are the best fit for your needs.
We spend a lot of time in our homes, so we should go the extra mile to be sure we install environmentally friendly products, including those that show off the history of the region we live in. Help our community achieve economic, social and environmental success. Together we can improve the triple bottom line.
Michelle Price owns Antique Reclaimed Lumber, a full-service local wood company that carefully deconstructs aged unused structures; processes the reclaimed material; offers custom-milled and handcrafted wood products; delivers; and installs. The company specializes in flooring, beams and barn wood. For more info, contact Phillip Price at (828) 659-9062 orhttp://www.pricelesswood.com.