Finding Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood can be a great opportunity to do something creative with your home, whether it is making your own specialized decorations or adding some flair to a room with a little reclaimed wood trim. Not only does it look great, but it means that you are not unnecessarily buying freshly-cut tree wood.

However, you need to find reclaimed wood to actually use it. Depending on where you live, it can seem quite hard to get hold of any usable amount of the stuff, especially if you want a highly specific type. Here are a few places where reclaimed wood can be a little easier to find.

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What counts as reclaimed wood?

Before you can gather up reclaimed wood, it is good to think about what the term actually means. In general, reclaimed wood is wood taken from a structure or building that was demolished or refurbished, meaning that the wood was literally reclaimed from the building.

Salvaged lumber is not quite the same – that is wood that has been sitting there without being used for a while. Instead, reclaimed wood needs to have been taken from an existing (or former) property, which usually means building materials that were never actually thrown away.

Dumpster Diving

There is nothing wrong with sneaking some reclaimed wood out of construction dumpsters, although you should probably talk to the owner first to make sure that they are not planning on using it. This can be a great way to get free reclaimed wood, especially if you are near any large construction sites.

Most of the time, construction teams will simply give these materials away since it reduces the disposal or recycling costs that they will have to pay. If somebody was planning on using it themselves, you might still be able to buy it cheap, so do not hesitate to approach them.

This is a good way to find: floorboards, door and window frames, spare beams, plywood, and even entire pallets.

Looking for Sellers

It is not hard to go looking for people selling off their old wood, either in local classified ads or online stores. Some of them may even be giving it away for free, usually if it is debris that they do not want to re-use. A quick check can help you find people selling plenty of different materials, all ready to use.

If that does not work, consider posting your own ad – seeking to buy the specific materials that you need. This can be a nice way to find materials that you have been looking for specifically.

This is a good way to find: basically, any kind of wood or even other materials that you might want. It all just depends on luck.

Broken Wooden Structures

If you see broken wooden structures on somebody’s property, like a collapsed shed or broken fence, consider asking them if they would be willing to part with the wood. If they are (either for free or for a small fee), then you can walk away with a big supply within a single afternoon.

The best part about this method is that the wood will probably all be the same type, allowing for some consistency when you are doing future DIY work. If you want all of your custom-made decorations to look the same, then using wood of the same color and style is important.

This is a good way to find: ‘outdoors’ wood, usually in the form of fences, gates, slats, posts, and larger fence walls.

Independent Farms

Farms – especially long-standing local farms – probably have a lot of excess wood that they no longer need. A lot of farms will be slowly upgrading away from wooden barns and sheds as soon as they can, meaning that all of that spare wood has to go somewhere.

They might also have old wooden fences just lying around or even a pile of scrap wood that has not been used in years. You could even ask them if you can go around certain parts of their property to pick up any scrap wood that has been lost in fields or nearby walking trails.

This is a good way to find: barn parts, floorboards, planks, posts, poles, ridge beams, fence pieces, and all kinds of assorted scrap wood that may have been forgotten about.

Reclaimed Wood Sellers

If all else fails, you can always look for businesses that are heavily focused on selling materials like this. Some companies make part of their profits out of reselling older materials or even acting as a central selling hub for spare materials that hobbyists and DIY fanatics will want to get hold of.

These can be a very reliable way to get large amounts of the same material all at once, even if they are more expensive than some other options. The best examples of these companies are the ones who will go out and retrieve wood from derelict barns, homes, and other structures.

This is a good way to find: almost anything, especially from larger companies.

Remember that this much reclaimed wood can be hard to manage, and you might end up with more than you can handle. It is not a bad idea to have a storage and/or disposal method lined up for larger projects, such as one of our many dumpster rental options. 

The more prepared you are, the better, especially with an excessive amount of wood. It can be hard to manage a large stack of planks if you are cutting them down individually and trying to store them safely until the project is done.

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