Reclaimed Wood Siding – The Ultimate Guide (Pros And Cons)

A photograph of reclaimed wood siding installed horizontally on an external wall. Across the top are the words "Reclaimed Wood Siding - The Ultimate Guide (Pros And Cons)." in the lower center of the image is a cartoon pros and cons list with two partially-overlapping sheets of paper with stylized lists and a green tick or red cross.

If you love bringing the rustic charm of the great outdoors inside, then this article is for you. Today, we’ll talk about the latest trend in home siding – reclaimed wood siding.

This eco-friendly and sustainable siding option is taking the design world by storm due to its aesthetic beauty.

But before you dive headfirst into this craze, what is reclaimed wood siding, and where can you find it?

Reclaimed wood siding is exterior home siding made from wood salvaged from old buildings, barns, factories, and other structures. Instead of being sent to a landfill or incinerator, the wood is carefully dismantled, sorted, and prepared for reuse. It adds warmth and character to any building.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about reclaimed wood siding.

You’ll know everything about reclaimed wood siding from how to install it and where to find it to its pros and cons.

So, grab your coffee and get ready for the ultimate guide to reclaimed wood siding.

The Best Reclaimed Wood for Siding

A photograph of reclaimed wood siding with a thoughtful cartoon woman and "pros and cons scales" overlain.
The choice between different types of reclaimed wood can seem baffling, but considering your requirements helps you to make the right choice.

Not all types of reclaimed wood are ideal for wall cladding.

An ideal reclaimed wood for siding must meet the following conditions:

  • Durability: The wood must be highly durable to withstand the wear and tear associated with the elements.
  • Stability: It must be highly stable to withstand temperature and humidity variations without warping or shrinking.
  • Appearance: The wood should be visually appealing to give your wall an attractive look.

With that in mind, the following are the best types of reclaimed wood for siding:

  • Hickory Wood: This wood is highly durable due to its Janka hardness rating of 1,820 lbs. Such a high rating means it can withstand wear and tear from the elements perfectly.
  • White oak: Besides its excellent durability, white oak is aesthetically pleasing due to its light brown color and olive-cast nature.
  • Teak wood: This is an excellent hardwood for siding due to its high Janka rating of 1,155 lbs. Moreover, it’s highly resistant to warping because of its excellent dimensional stability.
  • Douglas fir: Despite being a softwood, Douglas Fir wood is highly strong and durable, thanks to its longer and straighter fibers.
  • Hemlock: The clear and flaxen hues make it an excellent choice for wall cladding. Additionally, it’s lightweight and easier to work with.
  • Cedarwood: Since cedar grows in damp climates, it can withstand many conditions without shrinking, warping, swelling, or decaying. Therefore, it’s suitable for exterior uses, like siding.

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood Siding

A man in a wood store dressed in a yellow polo shirt and work pants holding a clipboard. In the background are shelves of wood samples.
Some companies specialize in sourcing and selling reclaimed wood that is perfect for your project.

Due to its salvaged nature, you must be extra careful when buying reclaimed wood for your siding. The wood must be adequately repurposed to remove nails, screws, and other fasteners that can cause accidents.

Moreover, reclaimed wood must be kiln-dried to ensure it’s free of pests like termites and beetles.

You can get high-quality reclaimed wood for your siding from renowned brands trusted for wood repurposing. Some of these companies include:

  • Home Depot: This brick-and-mortar store is famous for its home improvement products. Among its products is reclaimed lumber you can use for your siding project.
  • Etsy: This is an excellent place to find dealers selling high-quality reclaimed lumber. Since it’s a renowned American brand, you can rest assured that it refers customers to quality products.
  • eBay: This is another popular place to get high-quality reclaimed wood for your siding project. The best part is that eBay allows you to read reviews about each seller before purchasing.
  • Demolition Sites: You can visit demolition sites for reclaimed lumber. However, quality control remains your responsibility. You must remove the nails and screws and ensure the wood is free of pests.

How Much Does Reclaimed Wood Siding Cost?

The average cost of reclaimed wood siding ranges from $10 to $20 per square foot.

I know you’re looking for the exact cost of reclaimed wood siding for your project. However, it’s impossible to give you an exact figure due to the different factors influencing the price, such as:

  • Wood type: Different types of wood come with varying costs depending on their availability and demand. Furthermore, woods like teak are more expensive since they’re considered premium options.
  • Location: Reclaimed wood siding cost varies from one place to another based on supply and demand within those regions.
  • Installation: The installation process will also affect your total cost as it depends on factors like labor costs and the project’s complexity.

How to Install Reclaimed Wood Siding

A worker wearing a green baseball cap and light gray sweater with his back to the camera installing reclaimed wood siding using a nail gun.
Installing reclaimed wood siding can be done by a competent DIYer. The steps to follow and the tools needed are relatively straightforward.

Instead of hiring a professional, you can install your reclaimed wood siding the DIY way and save some bucks.

Here is a stepwise process to install reclaimed wood siding:

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

You want to have everything in place before starting to avoid interruptions. You’ll need the following:


  • Reclaimed wood siding: This is the primary material for the project. You can purchase it from stores like Home Depot or repurpose old wood from a barn or any other old structure. Ensure the wood is free from rot, pests, and other defects.
  • House wrap or building paper: To protect the house from moisture and drafts.
  • Nails: For attaching the siding onto the wall. If you opt for a different brand, ensure the nails are long enough to penetrate the siding and into the sheathing beneath.
  • Corner boards: To create a neat and clean finish at the corners of the house.
  • Weather flashing: For use around windows, doors, and other openings to prevent water from getting behind the reclaimed barn siding.
  • Furring strips: To create a flat surface for the siding and prevent dampness.


Assorted woodworking tools hanging on the wall of a workshop. The tools include a hammer, speed square, and level.
The tools needed to install reclaimed wood siding can be found hanging in many garages, so you shouldn’t need to buy new tools specially for the job.

Essential Tips Before Buying the Materials

You can save money by reusing some material if you’re installing barnwood siding as part of your home improvement.

For instance, remove a section of your existing exterior cladding using a pry bar and check for an intact vapor barrier, insulation, and plywood sheathing. You don’t have to buy these materials if they are there.

You should also determine the accurate square footage of the tongue and groove barn siding you’ll need to avoid having any left over or having to make an extra trip to the store because you ran out. Here is the procedure:

  1. Measure the width (a) and height (b) of the wall you want to side in feet.
  2. Multiply the width and height (a×b) to get the overall square footage.
  3. Subtract the square footage of doors and windows on that wall from the overall square footage.
  4. What is left is the accurate square footage for the siding.

Step 2: Remove the Existing Cladding

Remove any existing cladding down to the sheathing using a pry bar. You want to ensure everything is neat and clean before installing any type of siding, including vertical barnwood siding.

Don’t forget to wear gloves, goggles, and other protective gear when removing existing siding, as it may contain asbestos or lead-based paint and small pieces can splinter off during the removal process, potentially injuring eyes, or hands.

Step 3: Check the Wall for Damage

You don’t want to install reclaimed wood siding on a damaged wall. Doing so is a recipe for more destruction.

Remove the moisture barrier from the sheathing and inspect for the following types of damage:

  • Rot, mold, and mildew.
  • Cracks in the sheathing.
  • Termite damage.

Replace any damaged sections of the sheathing.

Moreover, examine the insulation behind the plywood and replace it if necessary.

Step 4: Install House Wrap or Building Paper

A photograph of the gable end of a house with green house wrap installed. The front of the house is visible and has siding fitted already.
House wrap is essential for excluding drafts and keeping out moisture.

Roll out the house wrap or building paper on the ground. Using a utility knife, cut it to length according to your wall’s size.

Secure the house wrap onto the wall using 1” galvanized roofing nails to protect it from moisture and drafts.

Make sure you overlap each sheet by 8 inches (20.32 centimeters) to provide the best protection from wind and water.

Step 5: Install the Furring Strips

Install furring strips on the wall to create an even surface for the reclaimed barn siding.

Attach them using 1” galvanized roofing nails.

Use a construction level and straight edge to ensure the strips are laid level and straight.

Install the furring strips vertically over the surface, leaving a small gap between each strip.

Step 6: Measure and Cut the Starter Plank

You need to cut the starter plank to ensure a clean, outward-facing edge. Here is how to do that:

  1. Measure and mark one tongue and groove barn siding to the desired length.
  2. Run the plank through a table saw with grooves facing the blade.
  3. Wait for the groove to be cut from the plank for a smooth, clean edge.
  4. Prime the planks for added moisture protection.

Step 7: Install the Starter Plank

You must be extra careful when installing the starter plank as it determines how the subsequent planks will fit into place. Any mistake here, and you mess up your entire reclaimed wood siding.

The following are the steps to take to ensure accuracy:

  1. Mark a starting reference line: Use a carpenter’s pencil and construction level to mark a reference line for the exterior edge of the starter siding plank.
  2. Position the starter plank: Hold the starter plank over the reference line and ensure it remains level.
  3. Attach the starter plank: Use 2” galvanized roofing nails and a nail gun to attach the starter plank to the furring strips.

Step 8: Cut and Attach The Siding

A worker cutting a piece of reclaimed wood siding with a handsaw. He wears protective gloves.
Cutting the siding to size is a simple task. You can speed things up by using a power saw, but with a bit of elbow grease, a handsaw will do the job, too.

Measure, mark, and cut the remaining planks to size based on the roof’s pitch and the wall’s bottom edge.

Fit the grooved edges of the planks into the tongue edges and secure them using a nail gun.

Continue installing the planks in the same manner until you cover the entire wall.

It’s advisable to miter-cut the bottoms of the planks to prevent water from wicking up into the boards.

Step 9: Installation Around Windows and Doors

Installing the siding around the windows and doors can be challenging. Unfortunately, if you don’t do it right, you’ll create room for water seepage into the sheathing.

Here is how to do it correctly:

  1. Weather flashing: Install weather flashing at the edges of windows and doors to prevent water infiltration.
  2. Measure the window and door siding planks: Use a speed square to measure and mark the siding planks.
  3. Cut: Cut the planks with a jigsaw to fit around the windows and doors.
  4. Attach: Secure the planks using 2” galvanized roofing nails.

Step 10: Wrap the Edges

Attach corner boards around the edges to finish your reclaimed wood siding installation.

Use a caulking gun to apply construction adhesive on the corner board before attaching it with galvanized roofing nails.

If necessary, trim the boards with a jigsaw and sand them for a smooth finish.

Step 11: Apply Finishings

A man painting the outside of a house with a wood preserver. He is wearing a blue baseball cap, plaid shirt, and jeans.
Applying finishings to your reclaimed wood siding will help to preserve the wood and can improve the look of your house.

You can apply finishings such as paint, stain, sealer or waterproofing material on the planks to give them a more refined look.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and maintenance of the product.

Step 12: Caulk Around Edges and Joints

Using acrylic or polyurethane caulking, fill in gaps or crevices between the edges and joints of your weathered wood siding.

Caulking provides additional protection from moisture and drafts.

Congratulations! You now have a beautiful wall featuring gorgeous reclaimed barn siding! Enjoy your masterpiece!

Companies That Install Reclaimed Wood Siding

If you feel overwhelmed by the DIY installation, you can hire some companies to do the job. Here are some best companies that install reclaimed wood siding:

  • TerraMai: This is a reclaimed wood company based in White City, U.S.A. It works with architects, designers, builders, and manufacturers to source and install reclaimed wood products, including siding.
  • Timber and Beam: This is an Oklahoma-based company that deals in salvaged wood furniture and accessories. It also helps its customers install floors, siding, and paneling. With experience of more than 16 years, the company has what it takes to install reclaimed wood siding perfectly.
  • Elmwood Reclaimed Timber: From barnwood paneling and fireplace mantels to wooden shelves, this company helps customers buy and install all types of reclaimed wood in their homes. It’s your go-to company if you want to install reclaimed wood siding in Missouri.
  • Northern Log: This Michigan-based company supplies high-quality reclaimed wood products and additional services like installations and pre-finishing. Therefore, it can pre-finish your reclaimed wood based on your preferences before installation.

The Pros and Cons of Reclaimed Wood Siding

A photograph of reclaimed wood siding with "pros and cons" written on one of the planks in a blackboard-style overlay. In the bottom right is a woman looking thoughtful and gazing at the pros and cons.
Reclaimed wood siding is very durable and a sustainable material. However, it can be costly and difficult to find suitable sizes.

The Pros

  • Highly Durable: Reclaimed wood is highly durable because of its tight growth rings that form due to the longer maturity period.
  • Uniqueness: Each piece is unique since reclaimed wood comes from recycled sources. This makes it the perfect choice for a unique design.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: Unlike virgin lumber, reclaimed wood has a rustic patina with nail holes, knots, and bark inclusions that make the siding more visually pleasing.
  • Sustainability: Salvaged wood is a sustainable material since it reduces demand for virgin wood which contributes to deforestation. Moreover, using salvaged wood for your siding helps reduce the amount of waste lumber in landfills.

The Cons

  • Limited availability: There are only so many old structures to be demolished for reclaimed wood. Therefore, getting enough locally-reclaimed wood for your reclaimed wood siding can be challenging.
  • Inadequate quality control: You must carefully inspect each piece of wood to ensure it’s genuinely reclaimed. Some dealers can mix virgin and salvaged timber and market it as reclaimed.
  • Complicated installation: Installing reclaimed wood is complex due to the inconsistent sizes and shapes of the wood. It requires more time and effort to fit the pieces together perfectly.
  • High cost: The high demand for reclaimed wood has increased its cost compared to other siding options. Furthermore, salvaged timber is expensive due to the tedious repurposing process.

Final Thoughts

Reclaimed wood siding is a great option to add character and uniqueness to your home.

Although the wood is expensive, you can leverage the DIY installation approach shared here to cut costs.

Finally, when buying reclaimed wood, inspect each piece to ensure it’s free of pests, nails, screws, and other metallic fasteners.

Before you leave, check out the article for the pros and cons of building with recycled plastic lumber vs. regular wood.

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