There is a lot of misinformation and confusion out there when it comes to the cost of reclaimed wood flooring.
While some people claim reclaimed wood flooring is expensive because it contributes to sustainable construction, others argue it’s cheap because it uses salvaged wood.
So, where is the truth? How much does reclaimed wood flooring cost?
The cost of reclaimed wood flooring ranges between $5 and $20 per square foot. Reclaimed wood flooring cost varies due to differences in species, grade, milling status, width, and length. These are the factors to consider when looking for reclaimed wood flooring for an accurate cost estimate.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the factors that affect the cost of reclaimed wood flooring and the additional expenses you may incur.
Furthermore, I’ll compare the price of reclaimed wood flooring to new wood flooring so you can make an informed decision.
By the end of the article, you’ll know if you should pay more for reclaimed wood. Let’s dive in!
The following are the main factors that affect how much you’ll pay for your reclaimed wood flooring.
Reclaimed wood flooring can be milled in two ways:
- Original: Original face flooring is the most expensive option. It features the original face of the lumber with its saw marks and knots intact. Due to the preservation of the original wood patina, this option adds a unique character to a room, making it look more rustic and characterful.
- Smooth: Smooth face flooring is milled to a smooth finish. A smooth finish is achieved by removing the outer face. Therefore, the original rustic patina is removed. Consequently, this is a cheaper option than the original version.
Reclaimed wood flooring prices are affected by the supply and demand of the given wood species.
The rarity of the wood species or cut affects the price of reclaimed wood flooring. For example, a rare type, such as heart pine, is more expensive than a common species, such as white oak, due to supply and demand.
Consequently, expect to pay more for reclaimed wood flooring made from a rare species.
The width of reclaimed wood flooring typically ranges from 3 to 7 inches (76.2 to 177.8mm). Lengthwise, reclaimed wood flooring typically measures between 2 and 10 inches (50.8 and 254 mm).
Wider and longer reclaimed wood flooring boards are expensive because they’re harder to find and produce.
Reclaimed wood flooring can come in different grades. The grade is usually determined by the following:
- Degree of discoloration.
- Rot present on the planks.
- Worm holes.
- Nail holes.
- Growth rings.
- Heartwood content.
Considering the above factors, reclaimed wood flooring is graded as follows:
- Prime grade (AB): This is the highest quality of reclaimed wood flooring. The wood has been carefully selected, so it features minimal defects like worm holes, nail holes, and rot.
- Select grade (ABC): This is the typical type of reclaimed wood flooring grade in the market. It features more defects like nail holes and knots than its AB counterpart. It also has varied coloration, making it ideal for those who want a natural floor appearance.
- Natural grade (ABCD): This is reclaimed wood flooring with more natural defects. It may contain worm holes, nail holes, knots, and a more varied coloration. It’s an ideal choice if you want a more natural appearance without minding the nature of the wood.
- Rustic grade (CD): This is the lowest grade of reclaimed wood flooring. It features more discoloration, staining, rot, and growth rings. Therefore, it’s ideal for those who prefer a “lived-in” look in their homes.
A rule of thumb is that the more character that is included, the lower the grade and, consequently, the more affordable it will be.
In addition to the initial purchase price of reclaimed wood flooring, you’ll incur the following additional costs:
Just like boards made from new wood, reclaimed wood flooring boards have grooves and tongues. Therefore, installing these boards on a subfloor is the same as new wood.
More often than not, installing reclaimed hardwood flooring is complex to DIY. Consequently, you should expect to pay for professional installation.
Depending on your location and the difficulty of the process, the cost of installing reclaimed wood flooring may range between $2 to more than $8 per square foot.
If you’re renovating an existing room, you may have to pay to remove the old flooring. Depending on the type of flooring and its condition, this cost may range between $0.25 – $0.50 per square foot.
Reclaimed wood flooring may require additional finishing to make it more appealing and extend its lifespan.
Basically, refinishing reclaimed wood boards involves sanding and sealing them with a clear coat or stain.
The type of finish used will depend on the grade and species of the reclaimed wood. For instance, Prime grade boards are usually finished with natural oils for extra protection against wear and tear.
Expect to spend another $3 to $8 per square foot if you need to refinish your reclaimed wood flooring.
You may incur delivery costs depending on the size of your order and the distance from the supplier.
Some suppliers offer free delivery for orders above a certain amount. Therefore, be sure to ask about the delivery cost before placing your order.
The table below shows the total costs for installing reclaimed wood flooring over a 500-square-foot space:
|Labor (28.1 hours)||$2,522.52||$4,328.88|
|Supplies and Tools||$262.50||$307.10|
Contrary to popular belief, reclaimed wood flooring costs $2 to $3 per square foot more than new wood. The price difference is mainly attributed to the extra milling time and effort required to repurpose salvaged wood boards.
Moreover, since reclaimed wood is limited, it costs more because of its rarity. However, if you want an eco-friendly, highly durable flooring option, then the cost of reclaimed wood flooring will be worth it in the long run.
Regardless of the cost, reclaimed wood flooring provides any home with a timeless and stylish look. It will add warmth and character to spaces, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking for unique flooring options.
Although reclaimed wood flooring is expensive, there are some hacks you can use to get it at lower prices. These hacks include:
- Searching for suppliers that give discounts on large orders and those that offer free delivery.
- Shopping around to compare prices between various suppliers.
- Purchasing lower grades of reclaimed hardwood boards since they are usually more affordable.
- Going for narrow and random widths like 3”, 4”, and 5” instead of 7”, 8”, and 10” widths.
- Choosing mixed-species reclaimed wood floorings like oak, maple, and hickory.
- Going for in-stock materials and overstock specials instead of customized options.
Reclaimed wood is good for flooring because it’s highly durable, resistant to warping, and has denser and more stable grain than new wood. This wood is as many as 40 points more than virgin wood on the Janka hardness scale.
Old-growth wood had sufficient time to grow and mature. Some tree species, like heart pine, took between 100 to 150 years to mature. The longer growth duration created tightly packed growth rings, making the wood denser and more wear-resistant.
What’s more, reclaimed wood is salvaged from existing structures like barns and buildings. This means it has endured the test of time and proven its worth. The wood has become stronger and more durable after exposure to elements like sun and moisture variations.
Moreover, the wood’s patina makes it unique with a timeless look that will bring beauty to your home.
Reclaimed hardwood flooring is not cheaper. It’s more expensive than new wood due to the costly salvaging process. However, it has significant benefits for the character of your home and the environment.
Look at it this way; companies go through the tedious process of salvaging old structures in a manner that doesn’t destroy wood. This process takes longer and requires a high level of expertise.
After salvaging, the wood is taken to the miller for reprocessing. Reprocessing involves inspecting each piece of lumber and de-nailing it manually.
Each salvaged piece of lumber is then kiln-dried to kill any pests and bugs.
Finally, the wood is re-milled to attain the needed custom specs.
As you can imagine, all these processes require energy, patience, and expertise, thus making reclaimed hardwood flooring a bit more expensive.
However, considering its benefits to your home, the environment, and other long-term advantages such as increased property value, the cost of reclaimed hardwood flooring is worth it in the long run.
According to the EPA, demolition accounts for 90 percent of construction and demolition (C&D) waste.
Wood is the second largest component of C&D after concrete, contributing between 20 and 30 percent of these wastes.
Reclaiming and reusing wood reduces the waste created by demolitions. Thus, it’s a much more sustainable way to get wood flooring than cutting trees.
Reclaimed wood flooring adds natural character to any home, making it look timeless and elegant. This increases the value of the property in the long run. Thus, it’s an ideal option if you’re looking for long-term economic gains.
Reclaimed wood flooring is more durable than new wood due to its longer growth duration and exposure to elements. This makes it ideal for high-traffic areas such as kitchens and hallways.
Reclaimed wood has a unique patina that virgin timber can’t replicate. The patina makes the flooring look timeless while adding character to any space.
The timeless character is an inspiration to preserve history.
Reclaimed hardwood flooring is expensive due to the tedious salvaging process.
The high cost is, however, considered worth it by many thanks to the wood’s sustainable nature.
Compared to new lumber, reclaimed wood is not so readily available.
There are only so many old wooden structures that can be salvaged. Furthermore, it’s challenging to find the desired species and specifications.
Since reclaimed wood is salvaged from old structures, it requires a thorough inspection to remove nails, screws, and other fasteners. Failure to remove all fasteners poses a hazard to the floor users.
Reclaimed wood may contain pests such as termites and beetles if not kiln-dried. These pests may damage the floor, reducing its lifespan.
Moreover, pests can be a health hazard to family members.
Reclaimed wood flooring is more expensive than its virgin wood counterpart. However, many think its benefits outweigh the initial investment.
From increased property value and sustainability to timeless character, reclaimed wood flooring is the perfect choice for any homeowner looking for long-term gains. Therefore, it’s worth paying more for it.
Besides reclaimed wood, you can also use hemp wood for flooring. However, before you do, check out these pros and cons of hemp wood floors.