Reclaimed Timber: The Choice for Commercial and Public Building Flooring
Posted on May 18, 2023
Exploring Reclaimed Timber as a Flooring Solution for Commercial Premises & Public Buildings
A commercial premise or public building often experiences high foot traffic, requiring flooring that combines durability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. Increasingly, businesses are turning to wood flooring—not just any wood, but reclaimed timber. This blog delves deep into why reclaimed wood flooring is becoming the go-to choice for commercial premises and public buildings.
The Case for Wood Flooring in Commercial and Public Buildings
Wood flooring offers numerous benefits that make it an attractive choice for commercial and public settings. First, it provides durability. High-quality wood floors can withstand heavy foot traffic for decades when correctly installed and maintained.
Additionally, wood flooring offers a versatile aesthetic appeal that can match any architectural style or interior design. Whether the building calls for a rustic, traditional, modern, or sophisticated look, wood flooring can deliver.
Wood flooring also delivers a psychological benefit. Studies show that natural elements in built environments can reduce stress and improve wellbeing, a concept known as biophilia. Wood flooring can thus contribute to a more comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for both employees and visitors.
Why reclaimed timber?
Reclaimed timber is essentially old wood that has been taken from demolished buildings or structures and repurposed. This type of wood has unique characteristics and a rich history that make it even more appealing.
The use of reclaimed timber plays a significant role in environmental conservation. It reduces the demand for virgin wood, thereby helping to preserve forests and limit deforestation. Additionally, it minimises the waste that ends up in landfills by reusing wood from old structures.
Reclaimed timber has a unique aesthetic that’s hard to replicate with new wood. It often has distinctive marks, such as nail holes, saw marks, or weathering, that tell a story and add character to a space. Its varying colours and textures can also provide a unique look and feel that can add warmth and charm to a commercial or public building.
Reclaimed timber is typically sourced from old-growth trees, making it more robust and denser than new wood. This translates into increased durability and longevity, which are crucial in high-traffic areas like commercial premises and public buildings.
Selecting Reclaimed Timber Flooring
Choosing reclaimed timber flooring involves more than picking the first option you come across. Here are factors to consider:
Source of the wood
Reclaimed timber can come from various sources, including barns, old houses, factories, or even old ships. The source can influence the wood’s characteristics, such as grain, hardness, and colour.
Type of wood
Common types of reclaimed timber include oak, pine, maple, and chestnut. Each has unique properties and aesthetic characteristics. For example, oak is incredibly durable and has a rich, warm colour, while pine has a softer, more rustic appeal.
Grade of the wood
The grade refers to the quality and appearance of the wood. Higher grades tend to have fewer knots and imperfections and a more uniform appearance. Lower grades, on the other hand, have more character marks but may require more work to prepare and install.
Size and Thickness
The thickness of the wood can impact its durability and how it can be installed. Thicker boards can handle more sanding and refinishing over their lifespan. The width and length of the boards can also impact the floor’s final look.
Installation of Reclaimed Wood Flooring
Reclaimed wood flooring installation follows a similar process to that of new wood flooring. However, because reclaimed timber may come with more imperfections, such as old nails or uneven surfaces, it may require more preparation work.
It’s usually best to hire a professional for the installation of reclaimed wood flooring. They can ensure the wood is properly prepared, installed, and finished to maximise its durability and aesthetic appeal.
Maintaining Reclaimed Wood Flooring
Reclaimed wood flooring maintenance is similar to that of new wood flooring. Regular sweeping or vacuuming can help keep the floor clean and prevent damage from dirt or grit. Use a damp mop for deeper cleaning, but avoid using too much water, as this can damage the wood.
Scratches and dents may be more noticeable on reclaimed wood flooring because of its unique characteristics. Use protective pads under furniture and promptly wipe up any spills to prevent damage.
Over time, the floor may need to be refinished to restore its look and protect the wood. The refinishing process for reclaimed wood flooring can be more complex because of its unique characteristics, so it’s usually best to hire a professional.
The Art and Craftsmanship of Reclaimed Timber
Working with reclaimed timber is as much an art as it is a craft. It takes skill and experience to transform aged, weathered wood into a beautiful, functional floor. Each piece of reclaimed wood has its own history and characteristics, and it takes a skilled craftsman to bring out its unique beauty.
Reclaimed wood can also be used to create stunning design elements, such as feature walls, bar tops, or custom furniture. These can complement a reclaimed wood floor and create a cohesive, stylish look in a commercial or public building.
The Future of Reclaimed Wood Flooring
As businesses and public institutions continue to prioritise sustainability, the popularity of reclaimed wood flooring is likely to grow. Advances in technology may also make it easier and more cost-effective to source, prepare, and install reclaimed wood flooring.
Furthermore, as appreciation for unique and custom interior design increases, the demand for the distinctive aesthetic of reclaimed wood flooring is expected to rise.
Reclaimed wood flooring offers a perfect blend of durability, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability, making it an excellent choice for commercial premises and public buildings. Not only does it withstand high foot traffic, but it also has a unique character that can enhance any space.
While selecting, installing, and maintaining reclaimed wood flooring can be more complex than new wood flooring, the benefits it provides make it well worth considering. With rising interest in sustainability and unique design, the trend towards reclaimed wood flooring in commercial and public spaces shows no signs of slowing down.
With a rich history and a character all its own, reclaimed timber is more than just a flooring material; it’s a statement about appreciating the past, valuing craftsmanship, and caring for our planet’s future.