Weathered Grey. Weathered Grey boards come in two varieties, pine or hardwoods. They have never been painted and were exposed to the elements, leaving shades ranging in color from silver to dark grey:
Brown Options. Light gold to deep chocolate in hue, brown barn siding varieties include mixed oak, rough sawn brown pine, brown mixed hardwoods, brown smooth pine, naily brown roof boards, and grey-brown pine:
Mixed Hardwoods. A palette of weathered grey and brown barn boards suited to your project needs:
Red Options. Different percentages of red based on when and how much the exterior of the boards were painted. Varieties include faded red or red on red:
Hand Hewn Slab Siding. The best face of a hand hewn beam is cut at 2-3” thick and then mounted to a framed wall. Chinking material is then added between the slabs for an elegant traditional hand hewn log construction:
Reclaimed Rusty Metal Siding. The roof of the barn that developed a color-rich, texturally pleasing patina as it was exposed to the elements over the years. It will have different levels of rust throughout each piece. We offer corrugated and v-notch rusty metals:
Milling and Kiln Drying Services
Our state of the art facility offers in-house milling and molding services for your specific applications. We offer tongue and groove, shiplap, straight-line rip, or rabbeted joints. We can also provide butt, board on board, and board and batten for your siding project.
Most customers prefer to preserve original barn board surface textures; these simply receive wire brush applications to remove splinters. However, we can also plane boards to 50% or 25% of their original surface, or plane to a 100% clean finish.
All milled materials are first thoroughly de-nailed and then kiln dried to ensure cooperation with our machines. Kiln drying sterilizes the wood and kills all insects while bringing moisture content down to 6% - 8%; this prevents shrinkage after installation.
Read more about reclaimed barn wood siding and our product offerings below >>
Weathered Grey Pine and Grey Hardwoods
These boards were never painted, therefore surface hues matured while being exposed to the elements, resulting in shades ranging from silver to dark grey. When installed, the contrast of lighter versus darker hues creates a stylish and timeless look. These boards are rare and among our most popular options.
Weathered Grey Pine
As a softwood, grey pine is less dense and much lighter than grey hardwoods. Its weathering is slightly rough with shallow grooves and furrowing. Grain patterns are generally straight, giving it a rustic and modern appearance. Coloring tends to be lighter hues of greys and silvers when compared to hardwoods, although many pine boards range to dark grey. Pine comes in 8"-12" widths.
Weathered Grey Hardwoods
Grey hardwoods are prized as a denser and heavier option with distinct grooves that are smooth to the touch. The natural hardness of these boards leads to weathering that brings out the natural spirals and waves of the grain patterns. Our ash, oak, elm, beech or maple are weathered with distinct groves, and may have darker shades of faded black paint from previous lives on a tobacco plantation. Tobacco drying houses were typically painted black to absorb as much heat from the sun as possible during the curing process. Boards are available in 4"-12" widths.
smooth brown pine option, were planed before their original installation. Boards such as the naily brown roof boards, with their nail patterns, have unique character that reflects their first life in the construction of historical barns.
Rough Sawn Brown Pine
Varying between hues of rich to light brown, with elegant patina, these pine boards come from the interior of historic barns. They’re often accented by unique circle saw marks that accent original unweathered surface textures.
Brown Smooth Pine
Originally a barn's interior surface, brown smooth siding boards were planed at an historic mill. These boards are aged with beautiful patina, and colors range between light to rich brown, with variations in each piece.
Brown Mixed Hardwoods
Generally rough in nature, these boards are the backside of weathered gray hardwood siding. Colors vary depending on species.
Naily Brown Roof Boards
These sheathing boards were hidden under metal roofs for decades and are characterized by distinct nail holes from periodic roof repairs and replacements during the course of the barn’s life. Rich chocolate patina adds additional sophistication to these unique boards that were never exposed to the elements.
These boards come from the interior of barns that stayed erect after their roofs were blown off. Originally brown and never exposed to the elements, grey-brown pine has been weathered more recently to include rich variations of brown and gray.
A mixture of reclaimed red and white oak barn siding that maintains a classic look over time, with similar grain patterns throughout and very tight growth rings. Most mixed oak boards naturally range from tan and gold to chocolate brown patina with accented handsome grain patterns. Widths range from 2" to 8".
There were times when a barn was built directly from the trees that grew on its foundation. Different species of trees were cut down, milled, and then used for its siding. When wood from these historic structures is reclaimed, it generally contains a mix of elm, ash, beech, and maple, which are rich with varying colors and grain patterns.
The tradition of painting barns red began as farmers sought ways to seal their structures from moss and fungal decay. Without the convenience of ready-made paint, farmers discovered that a blend of linseed oil, skimmed milk, lime, and rust would effectively protect their barns for many years. The color red comes from the key ingredient, rust (ferrous oxide).
These boards are especially rich in character. They come from barns that were painted red in the past and then naturally faded over time. We have predominantly gray boards with red highlight, 50/50 gray-red blends, and mostly red boards with hints of grey. The hue mix depends on when the barn was painted last and also depends on the area of the barn where the board was positioned; areas of the barn that received high sun exposure faded quicker, whereas boards shaded by eaves maintained their red hues longer. Please include your preferences when you request a quote.
Red on Red
This material comes from the sides of historic barns that were painted relatively recently. Signs of weathering, color variances, and cracked paint give these boards timeless character. Available in 8” – 12” widths.
Hand Hewn Slab Siding
Are you looking for the look of a log cabin without actually building a log cabin? Hand hewn slab siding will provide you the appearance of a log home and is a very economical option compared to building an actual log home. The best face of a hand hewn beam is cut at 2-3” thick and then mounted to a framed wall. Chinking material is then added between the slabs giving the appearance of historic hand hewn squared log construction. From a building standpoint, it is much easier and cheaper to install utilities through a framed wall with hand hewn slab siding than through traditional log construction.
Reclaimed Rusty Metal Siding
Corrugated and v-notch patterned metal panels from the roofs of historic barns. Each section is aged with varying levels of rusty patina for a vibrant and unique palette for your project. For some fascinating information on how different kinds of chemical reactions created diverse coloring in our rusty metal siding, see this article on the meaning of varying levels of rust.
Mixed Oak for Furniture Building
High quality barn siding that runs straight and has very little or zero knot holes, that has been set aside specifically for making furniture.
With its rustic aesthetics and charm, reclaimed barn wood siding provides a timeless look to a diverse range of applications. Naturally weathered barn siding boards come in a variety of color and texture. A board’s age can generally be determined by the amount of furrowing and the style of original saw marks These features give reclaimed barn wood siding rich character while telling the story of America’s agrarian heritage. Average widths range from 4"-12" with thicknesses of 1/2" to 4/4". The most popular uses for reclaimed barn boards include:
- Exterior Siding
- Interior Paneling
Other uses include:
- Accent Paneling
- Fence Construction
- Retail Display Walls
- Accent Features
Tips for Installing
Each piece of reclaimed barn siding has endured a unique journey through time. Color variations, hand saw marks, nail holes, knots, and insect trails speak to each board’s earlier life. Because of the individual character of each board, certain pieces may not seem to meet order specifications. However, collectively they will create a deliberate and distinctive look and feel.
Barn boards usually have different finishes on each side. The side that was on the exterior is weathered and contains a variety of grays, reds, browns, and blacks. The interior side is usually brown with either a smooth or saw-mark texture.
Working with reclaimed wood is different than working with new lumber. Encourage your contractor or installer to contact us if it’s their first time working with reclaimed wood.
Specialized tools are not required, but special care is needed for successful installation:
- For painted boards, remove loose dirt and paint with a stiff brush.
- Confirm that you are working with nail-free boards. Remove or note the location of metal pieces if they exist.
- If the wood has not been kiln dried or milled, place black backing paper under the intended application area to make any gaps or inconsistencies in the wood less obvious in case of shrinkage.
- Cut nails can give the boards an authentic appearance, whereas trim screws create a tighter fit against the installation wall, especially if warps exist.
- Be careful not to damage the weathered patina with fastening tools. Be aware that sanding and sawing the boards will reveal the natural color of the wood, which may clash with the project's aesthetics.
Green Building with Reclaimed Barn Wood Siding
Distinguished Boards + Beams believes that old growth wood should be re-used not just for its durability and aesthetics, but also for sustainability reasons. Our products come from old growth trees that grew slowly over hundreds of years in dense virgin forests during times when there were relatively few environmental pollutants in the air. This slow yet epic competition for sunlight led to only the strongest trees surviving and the production of very tight growth rings. The pristine environmental conditions of historic times have also been show to significantly increase the health and therefore integrity of reclaimed old growth wood. The tight growth rings and health of these ancient giants makes their lumber much more robust than the conventional fast-grown lumber of our current era. Natural air-drying during their first lives in an historic barn also ensure less chance for movement and shrinkage.
We have conducted chemical tests on the wood in our inventory and have confirmed that our products have far less impurities than conventionally milled and treated lumber. As mentioned in the Red Options section, the paint used in most varieties is made up of natural ingredients like skimmed milk, linseed oil, rust, and lime. You can be confident that your project will not only be aesthetically pleasing and durable, but also safe and sustainable.
*Many of our products, including reclaimed siding, are eligible for LEED points.
Our Procurement Strategy
Our customers value aesthetics and durability, and we only source premium siding materials. Identifying high quality barn wood takes a trained eye, plus knowledge of barn history and architecture. We’ve consistently sourced high volumes of top quality barn wood during the past 15 years and these are a few key factors we consider:
- An intact roof: The most important factor in identifying the condition of the wood in a barn is almost always the state of the roof. Chances are that if the roof does not leak then the wood will be in good shape. Even if the existing roof is intact, it is still important to learn the history of each barn and examine them for signs of rot, since the original could have been replaced after neglect.
- Age: Age is an important factor in determining both the craftsmanship and quality of wood used in the original barn construction. Barns in early America were built to last for centuries with their large, locally sourced hand-crafted boards and beams. By the late 1800s, the availability of old growth timber began to decline. This coincided with higher production sawmills of the industrial revolution and a shift away from hand-craftmanship. Saw mills preferred smaller timbers because it was easier to transport and cut, which resulted in less robust barns.
- Joinery: One way to determine age and quality of craftsmanship is to examine the joinery of an historic barn. If the mortise and tenon joints were well carved from long and heavy timber, then chances are that the work was done by an experienced craftsman and built to last. Joinery skills required experience and training and began to fade away as traditional timber-framing joinery was replaced with industrial fasteners and milled dimensional lumber.
- Insect infestation: We choose barn wood with minimal or no signs of insect infestation and kiln dry all wood to ensure that all insects have been completely eliminated.
How Antique Barn Boards were Originally Made
Before sawmills, locally sourced trees were hand-hewn and hand-sawn for the construction of barns. The earliest barns were constructed of hand-hewn logs stacked horizontally, but this laborious method called for more efficient means of barn construction which led to the most common saw styles found at Distinguished Boards and Beams.
Pit Sawn Barn Boards
Sawyers took great pride in their ability to produce quality boards. Pit-sawn lumber was traditionally used in shipbuilding and a common trade in Europe. The process, however, was slow and exhausting, producing only six to eight boards per hour, or 100 linear feet on a good day. Pit-sawn boards can be identified by their straight, irregular saw marks.
Sash-Style Sawn Barn Boards
In areas where there was ready access to water, water powered sawmills were one of the first additions to new American settlements. Vast forests, a growing country, and a shortage of labor made sawmills an integral part of local economies.
Credit: Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill
Circular Sawn Boards
Band-Sawn Barn Boards
By the late 1800s, band-saws were milling much of the lumber found in farm structures. Their thin band blades rested and rotated on two large pulleys, a system that required much innovation before making its way into larger mills. Since band-saw blades are designed to be hard yet flexible they require high quality steel that was not available in the United States until the 1870s. Slack and tension within the pulley system caused early designs to make snaked cuts at the ends of boards, a problem which frustrated and encouraged engineers. By the 1890s, band-saw designs were able to cut straight enough to make their way into high production mills.
Saw Marks and Your Order with Distinguished Boards and Beams
Most of our customers prefer a mixture of original saw marks in their reclaimed siding orders. All of our boards come with the original marks and the option to have them re-sawn in our mill shop. We also offer the option to hand pick specific saw mark styles in our yard.