Recycled timber may just be the right building material for your next project. It’s strong, adaptable, and of course environmentally friendly. Recycled timber can be used to give you that sought after rustic look, or it can be re-milled to present a brand new finish. Using recycled timber can also save you lots of money, which is not to be sneezed at to say the least. Plus, it’s just nice to reuse materials that would otherwise go to waste.
Working with recycled timber can become addictive. It’s not unusual for people to choose it for one project, and then end up doing their whole house with it! Here are some tips on finding, choosing and working with recycled timber.
Get Your Recycled Timber Straight From The Source
You can often source recycled timber extremely cheaply. Start by going to a demolition site and simply asking them. They may let you look around and choose the pieces you want, and if you’re lucking they may not charge you for them. Demolition companies sometimes have arrangements to sell recycled timber in bulk to dealers for a very low price, so they’re often willing to give it to you if you cart it away.
Make Sure You Can Get All You Need
If you’re doing your flooring, building a deck, or beginning some other project where you need a lot of the same species, make sure your supplier has it. It’s no good to get partway through a project only to find that you can’t match the color and grain of your wood. Start by taking a comprehensive set of measurements, allowing for some contingency, and factor this in to your choice of species and supplier.
Ask Your Dealer About The Wood’s History
The more you know about the history of the recycled timber you’re buying, the better you’ll be able to work with it. If you’re buying from a dealer, ask them where it came from, how it has been stored, what its grading is, and any other questions you can think of about the background of it. This will help you decide if it’s right for your project or not.
You may also find that the recycled timber has come from a historic warehouse or other iconic building. This adds a nice layer of character to the history of your house, and may even increase the value of the property.
Check For Nails And Other Metal
Check beforehand with the dealer to make sure they’ll remove all nails or other metal bits from the wood. You should also visually inspect all the timber yourself to make sure that it’s suitable for your requirements. If you see a blue or black stain on the surface of the wood, this might mean that there’s some metal lurking underneath.
Choose Wood That Hasn’t Been Painted
A big mistake lots of folks make is that they get wood that’s been painted, and then sand the paint off. This can be dangerous because old paint sometimes contains lead and other chemicals that can become airborne during the sanding process, and that also seep into the wood so that they remain even after the paint is gone. Therefore, make sure you get wood that has never had a coat of paint; it will also save you lots of preparation time.
Know Your Woods
Certain types of wood are better suited for certain projects. Some species are better for making furniture, while some make better floors or decks. Do some research into which woods are best for which uses, and this will help you be more informed when you’re shopping for recycled timber.
Let The Timber Get Used To The Moisture
Before you start building with recycled timber, clean it and place it in the room or space where you’ll be installing it. The moisture in the air will cause the wood to bend, crack, warp and move around. Putting it in the room ahead of time gives it a chance to warp a little and settle before you start installing it. This helps to prevent it from doing so later on, which will save you plenty of headaches.
In summary, when you’re refurbishing and renovating, you may find that recycled timber gives you a fun and cheap alternative to other timber products. Even better, and perhaps most importantly, it’s nice for the environment.