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Reclaimed Wood Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers To Reclaimed Wood Questions


Q: What is shiplap wood?

Shiplap means that the edges of the board are milled to overlap. Shiplap boards were commonly used as a subfloor, wall or ceiling in old homes, barns and commercial buildings. Many barns were built with shiplap siding as the exterior layer of the barn. Reclaimed wood can also be milled and purchased with a new shiplap edge profile.

Q: How much can reclaimed barn wood be worth?

This is a common question and truth be told the prices can range depending on a variety of details. Condition, specie, qty, type, dimensions, demand and location are the main details to research and understand before determining a price to buy or sale reclaimed barn wood. If you cannot answer these questions you may lose out on value when buying and selling your barn wood.

Q: How to add a listing using the Reclaimed Wood Exchange?

To add a listing on the Reclaimed wood Exchange you will need to create an account, enter details about your wood, and upload images of the reclaimed wood you are looking to sell. See image below. From most smart phones or tablets you can use your camera to easily capture quality photos of your product/material. Images help provide visual details about your reclaimed wood that are important to buyers and sellers. Please upload as many images as necessary. There are no limits in the number of images per listing you may post on the Reclaimed Wood Exchange. Login to the reclaimed wood exchange and select listings then add listing. Select quantity, species and describe your product/material. Be sure to enter species, type, condition, and enter a price you’d like per board foot. Lengths should be averaged down to the nearest foot in length. Once you have selected save, your listing will appear and you then have the option to turn your listing on or off.

Q: How to determine the condition of reclaimed barn wood?

Condition is a major value level to determine what your reclaimed barn wood may be worth. A standing structure will hold the lowest price due to the needing to be deconstructed. Bundled reclaimed wood is worth more money if prepared properly. Reclaimed Wood Exchange Videos. Any process performed to reclaimed wood past surface de-nailing and bundling will help raise the value.

Q: What species of reclaimed woods are worth money?

Most all species of reclaimed wood can be worth money if graded properly. Some of the softer hardwoods like beech, cottonwood, and poplar are not as valuable as a specie but could be worth money if they were a certain size or texture or reclamied wood. When it comes to softwood, Heart pine and Cypress will be worth more money than hemlock and spruce but again, if a beam is a certain size and texture the beam will be worth money.

Q: How to determine the quantity or my reclaimed barn wood?

Barn siding and tin are counted in a square foot measurement. Square foot can be measured by multiplying the width of a board by the length of a board in inches and dividing by 144. ex: 10”(inches) x 108”(inches) = 1080 / (divided by) 144 = 7.5 sq/ft. Barn boards and beams will be measured in board feet. To calculate the board footage of a barn beam you multiply the thickness, width and length all in inches and then divide by 144. ex: 8” (inches) x 8”(inches) x 192” (inches) = 12,288 / (divided by) 144 = 85.3 bd/ft. A linear foot measurement is what it sounds like. If a barn board in 10’(feet) long then its 10 ln/ft.

Q: What types and textures of reclaimed barn wood might I have?

Barns and building are all made with different types of wood. The most common types of reclaimed barn wood listed are beams, boards, and siding. When it comes to texture many descriptive words are used. Boards and beams will commonly be hand hewn, rough sawn or planed on one or both sides. Barn siding or interior boards are typically described by a color and width.

Q: Why is knowing the sizes of reclaimed barn wood important?

Without knowing the dimensions of your reclaimed barn wood you cannot determine a quantity. Wider and longer boards and beams are usually worth more money for multiple reasons. First the amount of larger material is not as common and second you are purchasing more lumber when you buy wider or longer boards and beams.

Q: How can you determine the demand for reclaimed barn wood?

Researching is the best way to determine the demand of reclaimed barn wood. If you do not see reclaimed barn wood in a certain specie and size there may not be as much demand as barn wood that you do see being used or sold. Barn siding has been a popular decorative reclaimed product for many years and can be used in all types of applications. Knowing the size and quantity and having fair prices for your wood is important for consistent sales.

Q: Why is location important for selling reclaimed barn wood?

Some species of wood is more concentrated in certain regions of the country compared to others and that will reflect in price. Shipping loads of reclaimed wood only adds to the price so maximizing your cost on shipping can be critical. If a customer is looking for specific items the cost can vary due to availability in certain areas.

Q: Is your barn or building empty and ready to reclaim?

For a barn or building to be worth more money the structure needs to be empty and ready to deconstruct. Cleaning out the structure only represents more time and money.

Q: Do you have a contract to document the liability and ownership of the reclaimed materials?

Signing a salvaged agreement contract between the landowner and deconstruction crew is helpful for liability during deconstruction and ownership of materials during and after the project.

Q: Discussing barn dismantling process and site cleanup?

Site cleanup is a critical topic to document and discuss when negotiating the deconstruction of a structure. Not all items can be recycled or burned so stating the details of site cleanup is good for both the landowner and salvager to be aware of.

Q: Have the utilities to the barn been disconnected?

Deconstruction of any structure should not start before electricity and water and been disconnected. Make sure and call the local utility and check if you are unsure. Safety should be the main priority when deconstructing anything.

Q: How are the roads to the site and are there any weight or height restrictions on local bridges?

Maximizing the transportation is important to the cost. If a semi truck is used for transportation loading and driving conditions need to be discussed. There can be many problems or issues if weather conditions, roads and loading areas are not considered.

Q: Do you know the history of the land or barn?

The unique feature of reclaimed wood is that there is a story behind where the wood has been previously used. There are companies that keep track of the location and history of the reclaimed wood so that they can help share the history.

Q: What characteristics of reclaimed barn wood should you describe in a listing?

When creating a listing there are a few details that you should be aware of. Thickness, width, length, texture and most critical. If you can identify the species even better. Many barns were built from a variety of species from trees surrounding the barn site so a hardwood or softwood description is common as well. The price of the reclaimed wood and the ability to ship are also helpful details if you are looking to sell your reclaimed wood fast.

Q: How do the buyers and sellers communicate once they have listed their reclaimed wood on the Reclaimed Wood Exchange?

Each listing on the Reclaimed Wood Exchange is created from an account and every account has an email. If a listing has an inquiry a phone number can be added as a desired contact method. Otherwise email is the standard communication method on the Reclaimed Wood Exchange.

Q: How much does it cost to take down a barn?

Dismantling a barn can happen in many ways. The cost to remove a barn and clean up a barn site can range from $3,000-5,000. If your barn has desirable reclaimed wood you may be able to trade the barn wood for site cleanup? Sometimes salvagers will pay for the barns if they have enough value but make sure the site cleanup is negotiated clearly.

Q: How do I determine shipping costs to sell my reclaimed barn wood?

Shipping cost of reclaimed wood will depend on the size of the load. An average barn will not completely fill a semi truck so the cost per bd/ft will increase. Many barn crews and brokers have pickup trucks and trailers to haul the barn wood from the barn site to a yard for storage or shipping. Use a mileage calculator and multiply your mileage by $3-5.00 a mile and you will get a good estimate range. Mileage Calculator. Location can affect your rate. The more the barn wood has to be moved the higher the cost so its important to have a yard to sell your barn wood or store your barn wood. Higher volume buyers may want full semi truck loads of lumber keep the shipping cost per bd/ft reasonable.

Q: How do you find reclaimed wood for sale?

There are many ways to find reclaimed wood for sale. For starters click the For Sale tab and view the listing on the Reclaimed Wood Exchange. You can search many listings by type, specie or state. If you do not see what you are looking for review the supplier directory to find a reclaimed wood supplier that can help fulfill your needs. The supplier may also have inventory listed or a review to read. Keep quality in mind when buying reclaimed wood. There can be problems with projects if reclaimed wood is not processed properly and most reclaimed wood companies in the industry will stand behind what they sell.

Q: What processes of reclaimed wood can be performed?

There are many processes that can be performed to reclaimed wood before using the medium in a project and they all add value. Starting with removing the wood from a structure and removing metal and debris so the wood can be packaged for shipping. Depending on your project the reclaimed wood could next be power washed, end trimmed, rough cut, kiln dried then milled into its final product before shipping to the customer. Each project requires different materials that need to be processed to a certain point. Working with the right companies and people is important for a successful project.

Q: How to choose the right reclaimed wood supplier?

Choosing the right reclaimed wood supplier can be a tough decision. Inventory can be an important factor in this decision. There is only so much of any one type, size or specie on the reclaimed wood market at any given time so depending on your timeline you may be limited with options on which reclaimed wood company can provide the right materials. There can be many challenges within manufacturing a finished reclaimed wood product so choosing a company that you know can deliver on time and stands behind the product should be considered. Make sure you understand what you are buying by asking questions on processes that can be performed, grade and condition of the wood.

Q: What is urban timber?

Trees in Urban areas that need to be cut down for one reason or another that are milled into slabs or lumber.

Q: What is spalting?

Unique color found in lumber created by a fungus. Spalting occurs as a tree starts to die or has died. Spalting is a unique feature of urban lumber.

Q: What is crotch grain?

A grain figure that develops as a tree starts to branch out. Crotch grain is dense and dries slower than other grain in a slab or cut lumber.

Q: What is live edge?

A natural edge that is created by leaving bark on a log as the log is being sawn into slabs or lumber. Live edge is a unique feature often found on urban lumber.

saw blade
Image Courtesy Andrew Magill

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