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Reclaimed Wood FAQ Page

Welcome to our FAQ page about E&K Reclaimed Wood. Reclaimed wood is vintage wood that has been sourced from old buildings, factories, barns, and other structures, and is used to create memorable flooring, paneling, siding and beams. Whether you are a homeowner looking to add a piece of history or rustic touch to your home, or a designer searching for sustainable materials, this page will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about using reclaimed wood. If your question is not answered in this FAQ, please reach out to us via the contact form below or by phone at (310)-306-6900. You can learn more about our products and clients on our home page here.


Q: Where does reclaimed wood come from?

A: Reclaimed wood can come from a variety of sources, including old buildings, barns, factories, warehouses, and other structures. Some common places where reclaimed wood is sourced include:

  • Abandoned or demolished buildings, such as houses, schools, and churches
  • Old bridges, piers, and docks
  • Barns, particularly those that were built in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Factories, warehouses, and other industrial buildings
  • Shipping containers and railroad ties
  • Wharves, jetties, and other marine structures
  • Trees that were felled due to natural causes or urban development.

Reclaimed wood can also come from a variety of species depending on the region where it was sourced; hardwoods and softwoods like Oak, Maple, Douglas Fir, Walnut, Elm, and Pine are common.

Q: How can I integrate reclaimed wood it into my design process?

A: There are several ways to incorporate reclaimed wood into your design process, depending on your project and personal preferences. Some common methods include:

  1. Reclaimed wood can be used in any decorative feature non-reclaimed wood is used. It is a way to bring character and historic charm to your design project, providing contrast for modern materials.
  2. Reclaimed wood can be finished in any style, including, contemporary, rustic, modern to name a few.
  3. Flooring with reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood can be used to create beautiful and durable flooring that adds warmth and character to any room. It can be used in both traditional and modern designs and can be finished in a variety of ways to suit your style.
  4. Paneling with reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood can be used as wall and ceiling paneling as well as molding pieces.
  5. Beams with reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood solid or box beams can be used in your home. See below for the structural use of reclaimed material.
  6. Outdoor elements with reclaimed wood: Reclaimed wood can be used for outside elements as well, including decks, siding, fascia, etc.

It’s important to note that reclaimed wood can be used wherever wood is called for in a decorative use. Though if you want to use reclaimed wood structurally you will need to check your building codes. Generally reclaimed wood cannot be used for structural purposes unless you obtain the approval of your building inspector and engineer and you may need to get the wood graded.

Q: What should I take into account when designing with reclaimed wood products?

 The features that embody the charm of reclaimed wood products and give it its authentic history are the same things that you take into consideration as you design with reclaimed wood.

A. Hand Hewing. Hewing varies from beam to beam. E&K Vintage Wood offers “light to medium” and “medium to heavy.” There is no specific guarantee of how much hewing there will be beyond these levels. This is the nature of antique Hand Hewn wood. Each piece will have been created by different craftsmen ensuring an authentic look-and-feel. Like the lumber they come from; no two will be exactly alike. Beams made for your project will coordinate with each other but not “match”.  Matching would defeat the purpose of using reclaimed wood in the beams.

B. Character Marks. Some clients prefer to putty imperfections, some prefer to leave as-is. This is a customer choice and if you have a preference for your project, let us know and we can incorporate this into your design order.

C.  Back Face. Sometimes the back face of boards will include imperfections, but only in areas that will not be seen when installed, nor will it affect the structural integrity of the product.

D. Stain Variations. The nature of wood means each piece has its own history and will receive stains in its own way. E&K strives to match samples, but as with all wood, there can be slight variations between boards. 

E. Project Review. E&K is happy to share images of your project before it is shipped.

Q: How is reclaimed wood different from new wood?

A: Reclaimed wood is different from new wood in several ways. Some of the key differences include:

  1. Age: Reclaimed wood is often significantly older than new wood. It has been sourced from old buildings and other structures and has been exposed to the elements for decades or even centuries.
  2. Character: Reclaimed wood has a unique character that comes from its age and history. It often has a rich patina and unique markings, such as nail holes, knots, and saw marks, which are not typically found in new wood.
  3. Durability: Reclaimed wood can be considered more durable than new wood because because it often comes from older first growth trees which have tighter grain and it has been exposed and it has been exposed to the elements giving it time to dry and stabilize.
  4. Sustainability: Reclaimed wood is considered a more sustainable option than new wood because it is sourced from existing structures and does not require additional logging.
  5. Availability: Reclaimed wood is often harder to find than new wood and can be more expensive due to the labor involved in sourcing and processing it.
  6. Environmental: Reclaimed wood is generally considered more eco-friendly than new wood, as it is sourced from existing structures and does not require additional logging.

It’s important to note that while reclaimed wood can be used in construction, it may not be the best choice for all projects. It’s important to consult with a professional engineer and lumber grader to ensure that the reclaimed wood meets local building codes and safety standards.

Q: How long will reclaimed wood last?

A: The lifespan of reclaimed wood depends on several factors, including the type of wood, the conditions in which it is used, and the methods used to preserve and maintain it.

Reclaimed wood can be more durable than new wood because it has already been exposed to the elements and has had time to dry and stabilize. Old-growth wood, which is often found in reclaimed wood, is often denser and more rot-resistant than new-growth wood.

However, if the reclaimed wood is not properly cleaned, sealed, and maintained. Properly treated, reclaimed wood can last for decades, if not centuries if maintained well and protected from environmental elements such as sun, water, and insects.

Q: What are the benefits of using reclaimed wood in construction?

A: There are several benefits to using reclaimed wood in construction:

  1. Sustainability: Reclaimed wood is considered a more sustainable option than new wood because it is sourced from existing structures and does not require additional logging.
  2. Character: Reclaimed wood has a unique character that comes from its age and history. It often has a rich patina and unique markings, such as nail holes, knots, and saw marks, which can add visual interest to a space.
  3. Durability: Reclaimed wood is often more durable than new wood because it has been exposed to the elements and has had time to dry and stabilize.
  4. Environmental: Reclaimed wood is generally considered more eco-friendly than new wood, as it is sourced from existing structures and does not require additional logging, however, it’s important to ensure the reclaimed wood is not treated with hazardous chemicals.
  5. Cost-effective: Reclaimed wood can be less expensive than new wood, especially if it is sourced locally, and can be less expensive than other reclaimed materials.
  6. History: Reclaimed wood often has a history and story behind it, which can give a sense of connection to the past and add a unique character to the structure.
  7. Limited resource: Reclaimed wood can be a limited resource, using it in construction can conserve it, and it can also be a way to preserve a piece of history.
  8. Strength: Reclaimed wood can be stronger than new wood, especially old-growth wood, which is denser and more rot-resistant than new-growth wood.

It’s important to note that while reclaimed wood can be used in construction, it may not be the best choice for all projects. It’s important to consult with a professional engineer and lumber grader to ensure that the reclaimed wood meets local building codes and safety standards.

Q: Is reclaimed wood more expensive than new wood?

A: The cost of reclaimed wood can vary depending on several factors, including the type of wood, the source of the wood, and the demand for it.

  1. In some cases, reclaimed wood can be less expensive than new wood, especially if it is locally sourced. Additionally, reclaimed wood can be an affordable option for specialty woods that are difficult to find or expensive to purchase new.
  2. Reclaimed wood can also be less expensive than other kinds of reclaimed materials.

Q: Are there any special techniques or tools required to work with reclaimed wood?

A: Working with reclaimed wood can require some specialized techniques and tools, depending on the condition and type of the wood. At E&K we provide all services necessary to prepare and finish reclaimed wood at the purchase price.

  1. Cleaning: Reclaimed wood often needs to be cleaned before it can be used. This includes removing all metal, including nails if the wood is going to be milled and may involve removing dirt, debris. Wire brushes, scrapers, and sanders can be used to remove these materials.
  2. Finishing: Due to the wider range of color and patina found on reclaimed woods, stains react differently then they do on new wood. Special finishing techniques and additional or new stains may be needed to achieve the same result a stain or finish will give you on new wood. then they do on new wood.
  3. Cleaning Original Surface: Part of the appeal of reclaimed wood is the original rough face with patina. The problem is this original face usually needs to be cleaned and is a bit rough for contact with your skin. If you sand the original face you will take off the rough surface.In order to maintain the original surfaceand patina but make it smoother and clean it you need to have special brush sanders that clean the wood and lightly polish it to get the rough surface to be smoother. E&K maintains a flap sander which will achieve both cleaning and softening the wood. We also have special custom hand tools that achieve the same result.”

It’s important to consult with a professional carpenter or woodworker to ensure that the reclaimed wood is safe and suitable for the intended use and that proper techniques and tools are used.

Q: Can reclaimed wood be used for flooring, paneling, and if so, what are the best types?

A: Reclaimed wood can be used for flooring and paneling, and it can add character and warmth to a space.

  1. Flooring: Reclaimed wood flooring can be made from a variety of different types of wood, including pine, oak, and douglas fir. It is important to choose a wood species that is suitable for the intended use and environment, for example, if you are looking for a harder wood species, then reclaimed oak or hickory would be a good choice.
  2. Paneling: Reclaimed wood paneling can be made from a variety of different types of wood, including barn wood, pallet wood, and shipping crates. It can add a rustic or industrial feel to a space and can be used to create accent walls, ceiling treatments, and other architectural features.
  3. Other types: Reclaimed wood can also be used for beams, mantles, backsplashes, and anywhere else new wood is typically used.

Q: How to properly clean and maintain reclaimed wood?

A: Cleaning and maintaining reclaimed wood can help to preserve its beauty and integrity. 

Every type of reclaimed wood product is different. Check with our friendly staff for more information on how to maintain your reclaimed wood.

Q: What are some of the environmental benefits to using reclaimed wood?

A: Using reclaimed wood can have several environmental benefits:

  1. Preserving History: Preserving a piece of American heritage that might otherwise be lost history.
  2. Environment: Using reclaimed wood can have environmental benefits as it diverts wood from landfills and reduces the demand for new wood, thus preserving forests and natural habitats.
  3. Sustainability: Reclaimed wood is a sustainable resource because it is sourced from existing structures rather than being harvested from new forests. This helps to conserve natural resources and reduce the environmental impact of logging and deforestation.
  4. Carbon sequestration: Wood is a natural carbon sink, meaning that it stores carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere if the tree were left to decompose or burn. By using reclaimed wood, you are keeping the carbon stored in the wood for longer, thus reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
  5. Energy savings: Reclaimed wood is often sourced from old buildings, so it does not require the energy-intensive process of cutting and milling new wood. This can significantly reduce the amount of energy used in the production of new wood products.
  6. Conservation of old-growth forests: Old-growth forests are home to many endangered species and are also considered to be some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. By using reclaimed wood, we can help to conserve these forests and preserve their unique biodiversity.
  7. Reduction of waste: Reclaimed wood can help reduce the amount of waste in landfills by salvaging materials that would otherwise be discarded.

It’s important to note that reclaimed wood may have different properties than new wood, so it’s important to select the right type of reclaimed wood for the intended use and properly clean, stabilize, and finish it to ensure that it is safe and suitable for the intended use.

Q: What are Box Beams?

Reclaimed wood box beams are beams created from reclaimed wood. They are designed to mimic the appearance of traditional solid wood beams while offering some distinct advantages.

Unlike solid wood beams, reclaimed wood box beams feature a hollow interior. The box beam is typically created by joining individual reclaimed wood boards together with a miter or lock miter, forming a rectangular or square cross-section. The boards are secured using adhesives, fasteners, or a combination of both.

Reclaimed wood box beams offer several benefits. First and foremost, they provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly option by repurposing existing materials. Additionally, the hollow design reduces the weight of the beam, making it easier to handle and install. It also allows the box beams to be installed over existing solid beams. The reduced weight can also be advantageous in situations where load-bearing capacity is a concern. Aesthetically, reclaimed wood beams exhibit the character and charm of aged wood, showcasing unique grain patterns, knots, and imperfections. This rustic appearance adds warmth and visual interest to interior or exterior spaces.

Reclaimed wood hollow or box beams can be used in a variety of applications, such as ceiling beams, decorative trusses, mantels, or as architectural accents. They add a touch of natural beauty and authenticity to both residential and commercial projects, while also promoting sustainability by giving new life to old wood.


For our standard box beams we utilize 1x material or 2x material resawn into 1″ and planed down to 3/4″. These boards are attached together to form the box beams. One unique form of box beam E&K makes is our Hand Hewn Box Beams. Due to the fact there is no 1x or 2x Hand Hewn material to use for box beams, we actually utilize a solid hand hewn beam that is approximately the size that you want the box beam. We then resaw off the face and two side pieces from the solid beam and we attach them back together. The attachment joint is either a butt joint or miter. We put the beam back together exactly as it was as a solid beam. By using a butt joint we can keep the original irregular edge of the solid beam. This makes our Hand Hewn box beams almost indistinguishable from solid box beams.