Specialty Wood Options:
Surface Finish Options: We offer four different surface finishes, based on the amount of original patina character that you would like retain on your reclaimed floor. Natural (25%) and Rustic (50%) finishes are skip planed, leaving noticeable character marks and original saw patterns. True Grit floors retain 100% of their original untouched surfaces. Timeless boards are freshly planed, retaining only deeper character markings, such as nail holes.
Milled Profile Options: Our full service milling facility offers a number of milled profiles to suit your project needs.
- Tongue and groove with square end
- End match
- Microbevel with end match
- Custom specifications
Narrow floors include random widths between 3" to 6". Wide plank floors include random widths between 4" to 8". We can custom select floor boards for specified widths for an additional charge. Note that surface finish does not affect the price of your order.
We can also custom mill stair treads and risers to match your choice of flooring material. If you would like to have floating stair treads, we can slab timbers (1 1/2" to 2") that match your choice of surface finish and species. Threshing flooring also makes wonderful material for stair treads since it is already very thick.
Read more about reclaimed wood flooring and our product offerings below >>
Reclaimed Flooring Options
The character of your reclaimed wood floor comes from the combination of species and old growth tight-ring grain patterns, along with the saw marks, nail holes, sapwood, and patina acquired during the wood's life as old growth timber or as a piece of an historic structure. These visually and texturally pleasing character marks, matched with the increased durability of old growth, naturally air dried aged wood, allow our reclaimed floors to take wear well, especially in high traffic areas. Our authentic reclaimed old growth barn wood will be your project’s key ingredient.
Wood species include oak, elm, ash, beech, and maple. Our two most popular hardwood flooring options, mixed oak and mixed hardwoods, are cut from reclaimed barn siding boards. Red or white oak flooring is considered a specialty wood and is cut from reclaimed timbers. We also offer specialty hardwoods such as chestnut and hickory, which are available upon request.
A mixture of reclaimed oak barn wood siding, these floors have a similar grain pattern throughout and maintain a classic look over time. Most mixed oak floors naturally range from tan and gold to chocolate brown patina. Other desirable and natural features including original nail, knot, saw, sapwood, and historical wear marks. 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. Floors made from milled mixed hardwoods are thus rich with varying colors and grain patterns.
Softwood Options: Douglas Fir
Milled from reclaimed timbers and planed to create beautiful flooring material, Douglas fir is our premier softwood option. People are drawn to Douglas fir floors for their handsome grain patterns, red to golden brown coloring, authentic saw marks, and durability. Grain is typically vertical and tight with sapwood that is a bit lighter, but boards can also have spirals and waves.
Durability is further enhanced by its dense old growth rings. In fact, in places where Douglas fir was commonly harvested a century ago, there are numerous examples of
antique homes that still showcase the lasting beauty of their original Douglas fir floors. Although Douglas fir is technically a softwood, it is actually harder than many hardwood species. The classification of softwood or hardwood is actually based on seed type and not hardness or density. When comparing samples of the same size from old growth versus new growth trees, it is clear that the old growth samples are much heavier. The process of natural air drying over the course of our flooring's first historic lives as barn siding boards gives the wood an "inner glow" and also contributes to hardness and durability. For these reasons, Douglas fir makes excellent, long lasting flooring.
Specialty Wood Options
Distinguished Boards and Beams regularly carries specialty woods such as reclaimed fence plank, barn threshing floor, and white or red oak. Other less common woods will rotate through our inventory and are available upon request.
Oak fence planks that once lined farms across North America are plucked from our agrarian past, providing an excellent source for reclaimed wood for flooring with boards ranging from 3-1/2" to 4" widths. Fence board flooring is only available in our Timeless 100% surface texture, revealing a depth of oak character on freshly milled plank faces.
Barn Threshing Floors
Early barns often included a thick, sturdy threshing floor area for separating grain from chaff. Farmers would lay crops on the floor and arduously beat them with a special stick known as a cudgel or flail. Heavy livestock was also used to trod the grain with their hoofs, and at times dancing celebrations were performed to separate grain from chaff. A man of good health was said to be able to give the sheaves thirty to forty blows a minute and could average eight bushels of wheat per day. By processing the crops in this fashion, the impact of the plants on the wood transformed the floor over time to a patina of unique beauty and character.
Today, reclaimed threshing boards can be repurposed in a variety of applications including flooring, stairs, railing, and counter tops. With its untouched original surface and historic patina, our true grit 100% original barn threshing floors have the authentic look of a rustic cabin or barn. These thick boards possess historical character and unique textures from our agrarian heritage. To complement the more rustic surface, our mill shop can straight line rip edge profiles and thickness plane the backs of each board ensure an even and tight fitting installation. Some customers also prefer to leave the natural edges for more organic looking seams between each board. Barn threshing boards are wire brushed to gently smooth any surfaces that are too rough for everyday use. Since the boards are twice as thick as most wood flooring material and made of hardwoods, the experience of walking on installed threshing flooring is truly unique and gives the impression of an incredibly stable and durable floor. A great example of the robustness of barn threshing flooring can be found in a project that we admire: the 1860s Barn Conversion by VanderHorn Architects. In an article detailing this project on Houzz, the architect jokes about how a tractor could still drive over the converted barn's robust flooring, as they did in the times of the original heritage structure.
Red or White Oak
Wood that is cut from red or white oak timbers and then planed into flooring material is highly desirable because of its strength, tight grains, and rich array of color. Tones can range from a blonde to a nutty brown patina.
We periodically source other wood species such as chestnut and hickory. Call our office or inquire about options and availability here.
Stair Treads and Risers
Depending on the style and thickness of stair you would like to achieve, we can provide custom milling for stair tread and riser material that matches the rest of your new floor. For floating stair applications, we commonly slab the original surfaces of heavy timbers to achieve a 1 1/2" to 2" floating stair tread. Threshing flooring also works well for floating stairs because it is already 1 1/2" to 2" thick.
Surface Finish Options
One unique aspect of working with reclaimed wood is the ability to customize the texture of original surfaces depending on the character of flooring you desire. This gives you the freedom to choose a rustic or clean look, while maintaining original and authentic character, unlike anything produced in conventional flooring mills. We offer four surface finish options: True Grit 100% Original, Rustic 50% Original, Natural 25% Original, and Timeless 100% Clean.
True Grit—100% Original Surface
With its untouched original surface and historic patina, our True Grit 100% Original floors have the authentic look of a rustic cabin or barn. To complement the more rustic surface, freshly milled edge profiles ensure tight fitting joinery and consistent installation. 100% original surface barn boards are wire brushed to gently smooth any surfaces that are too rough for everyday use.
Rustic—50% Original Surface
Our Rustic 50% Original floors are lightly skip-planed to retain half of their original surface texture. This provides a great balance in texture for those who prefer to have lots of rustic original patina character but like a consistently smooth skip-planed surface that freshly exposes the well preserved old growth grain patterns of the historic barn boards.
Natural—25% Original Surface
Our most popular option, Natural 25% Original Surface floors are mostly smooth but maintain deeper surface patina character, such as circular saw marks and nail holes. 75% of the original surface texture is freshly skip-planed to reveal and showcase the well preserved old growth grain patterns and natural coloration of the historic wood species
Timeless—0% Original Surface
Our Timeless 100% Clean surface finish keeps the unique character and beauty of a reclaimed old growth wood floor with a cleaner, less rustic look. The material will have a newly milled smooth surface to reveal lighter tones of the natural wood coloring and showcase the well preserved old growth grain patterns of the historic wood species. Customers also appreciate the darker tones of the small iron-stained holes left behind after removing the original nails.
Milled Profile Options
With each of our flooring choices we offer a number of different mill profiles based on your specific needs:
- Tongue and Groove profile
- Tongue and Groove profile, square end
- Tongue and Groove profile with end match
- Tongue and Groove profile, microbevel
- Tongue and Groove profile, microbevel with end match
- Milled to custom specifications
Unless you are familiar with what to look for in high quality reclaimed barn wood flooring, the most important factors when buying any reclaimed wood flooring products are to purchase materials from reputable vendors that know how to properly select, kiln dry, and mill the flooring for your project. Due to the natural (and desirable) inconsistencies that barn wood flooring boards acquire during their life as heritage barns, a highly trained production staff using professional milling and kiln drying equipment is essential to achieving an end product that will not only meet and exceed your project vision for but last beautifully throughout future years of wear and use, without the need for costly replacements or repairs.
The Need for Reputable Reclaimed Flooring Manufacturers
Reclaimed barn wood flooring's popularity has soared in recent years. This has led to an increase in experienced and specialized vendors and installers who are familiar with the nuances of working with reclaimed flooring and how to produce a beautiful looking end result. However, it has also led to the buzz-word "reclaimed" being used to quickly move or markup unauthentic products or the low quality manufacturing of materials. Situations like this inevitably lead to frustrating experiences for installers, poor end results, and floors that will not stand the test of time.
As an industry leader for authentic reclaimed old growth barn wood flooring, we recommend taking the following steps before making your purchase:
- Make sure that you are buying flooring authentically sourced from barns that were originally built with quality lumber, preferably old growth timber milled by skilled craftsmen.
- Ask to see pictures and physical samples of the different flooring options available through the vendor and speak with knowledgeable sales representatives who can answer any questions and provide feedback for your questions and vision.
- Ensure that the flooring manufacturer properly grades, kiln dries, and mills the flooring in a professional facility.
- Review the different mill profiles available for the flooring and make sure that the boards fit together properly on a flat surface.
- Make sure that the manufacturer provides detailed documentation of your order, including the manufacturing and shipping (if applicable) details.
- Ensure that your order will be properly shipped to maintain the integrity of the flooring.
We are confident that we can guide you through every step of the reclaimed flooring buying process with expert advice and professional manufacturing and delivery. Our full service staff has worked step by step on projects on all scales in both the custom residential and commercial markets.
Advantages to Old Growth Flooring
Our flooring comes from authentic antique structures that were built using old growth wood harvested from virgin forests that grew in a time when there was vastly less environmental pollutants and natural, healthy, dense forest competition for the sun. This natural, pure growth cycle led to much more robust trees that grew slowly over hundreds of years and produced very tight growth rings. Some of the desirable benefits of these tight growth rings include wood that is
- Harder, Denser, Stronger, and More Stable: Less movement, cracking, and expansion and contraction from moisture, along with much greater measurable stability within both shorter longer boards, lead to an installation that will be more durable over time. The tight growth rings of our installed flooring options bring out the unmatched characteristics these century+ old original American forest trees. These traits make our reclaimed flooring great for high traffic areas.
- More resistant to rot: Old growth wood is usually composed dominantly of Latewood (Autumn Growth) versus Earlywood (Spring Growth). Latewood is known for its rot-resistant properties because its Xylem vessels are more tightly packed and stronger.
- More resistant to insect infestation: High density and low moisture content make make old growth wood naturally more resistant to those insects who love to make wood their home or dinner.
Although there are still areas around the world where it is possible to source true old growth lumber, North America’s supply was mostly depleted by the mid-twentieth century. Certain species like the once abundant American Chestnut nearly became extinct. For these reasons, reclaimed wood has become a truly excellent source for the sustainable, functional, and aesthetic character of old growth flooring and its tight growth rings.
Read more below about reclaimed flooring's role in the modern lumber industry >>
Is Reclaimed Flooring More Expensive?
One common question that our customers ask is whether or not reclaimed flooring is more expensive than new growth lumber found at more mainstream lumber mills. Reclaimed lumber prices are surprisingly competitive within the modern market, and this rings true for reclaimed flooring. Our flooring is reclaimed from historic structures that were built with old growth lumber that is superior in many ways to new growth wood varieties. Due to the rarity of old growth trees and laws restricting their harvesting, finding newly cut old growth flooring in the modern market can be very difficult or even impossible. If it can be found, chances are there will be long wait times and elevated prices. Most of our flooring inventory is by nature from old growth lumber that has been naturally air dried over time for enhanced durability and stability. The option to retain varying percentages of our flooring's naturally aged patina and character marks is also a quality that cannot be matched or manufactured, even by freshly milled old growth flooring.
Hardwood Versus Softwood Flooring
The terms "hardwood" and "softwood" can be misleading, since these classifications are based on seed structure and not physical hardness. While hardwoods are indeed harder than softwoods in general, examples like Balsa wood being classified as a hardwood clearly show that the classification is based solely on seed structure.
Is Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring More Expensive than Reclaimed Softwood Flooring?
Softwoods make up roughly 80% of the world’s lumber supply, and because they grow faster than hardwoods they tend to be less expensive when freshly milled. In the world of reclaimed wood, however, price is also based on availability. For example, Reclaimed Weathered Grey Pine Barn Wood Siding is more difficult to source because of its rarity. For this reason Reclaimed Weathered Grey Hardwood Barn Wood Siding tends to be slightly less expensive. This is another great reason why Reclaimed Douglas Fir makes a wonderful softwood flooring option. Besides its appealing aesthetics and durability, it is very competitively priced when compared to Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring examples.
While it is worth considering the differences between hardwoods and softwoods for your flooring purchase, all of our flooring options come with proven, long lasting durability to go with their reclaimed character and old growth aesthetics.