Sustainability is a bit of a buzzword these days, and rightfully so. Now more than ever wastefulness and major energy consumption has become more of a glaring problem in need of a proactive solution. One of those solutions taking the design world by storm in the past few decades is the use of reclaimed wood for added texture and character. But what is reclaimed wood exactly?

Picture of lumber for the blog about what is reclaimed wood?

What is Reclaimed Wood? 

Think of reclaimed wood as recycled wood, with some stricter parameters. More specifically, reclaimed wood refers to wood used in structures from the 18th to the early 20th century that has been reused in modern-day buildings, furniture, and more. 

The wood used in these builds is sometimes referred to as old-growth wood, or wood that comes from trees that grew for over 100 years. Because of the consistent use of wood as a building material across the world for centuries, with a major spike in the industrial revolution, this wood is harder and harder to come by—with the exception of reclaimed wood.

The sustainability movement across industries has also seen a sharp rise in the past few decades, with more and more builders and designers looking for materials and methods that won’t drain the earth’s resources or contribute to waste. Plus, an increased interest in the history of the materials we use, as well as a desire to use materials that tell a story or carry a certain amount of their own “character”, have all contributed to the increased popularity of reclaimed wood. 

It is most often used in flooring, but can also be used to make cabinets, furniture, stairs, and shelving. 

How Is Reclaimed Wood Sourced?

When structures like old factories, barns, ships, or warehouses are demolished or redesigned, there tends to be a lot of wood left over. While in any other situation this would be slated for the landfill or wood chipper, some companies work with salvagers to save these materials and set them aside for a new life. The wood is typically dried and milled, then finished with a stain to restore it to its original beauty. 

Why Choose Reclaimed Wood? 

There are a few reasons for opting for reclaimed wood over other options when shopping: 


As we mentioned, finding eco-friendly solutions has been an increasingly-popular goal for designers and builders alike. In doing so, they have ushered in a number of trends that serve the dual purpose of being stylish and sustainable. Those include items and decor that are vintage-inspired or vintage-sourced, an emphasis on respecting the natural world, prioritizing both indoor and outdoor living spaces, and, of course, reclaimed wood.

Using reclaimed wood means you are not contributing to deforestation, you are using about 11 to 13 times less energy to make your lumber, and you may even see a reduction in your use of energy monthly thanks to its function as an effective insulator. 


Reclaimed wood has a story to tell. Many homeowners love the idea that this material has lived whole lives in other structures before finding its way to their home. That character and history shines through when it is used throughout a home, and adds a layer of interest to the decor of any room. 


If you are looking for a particularly rare or exotic wood, the high price of sourcing it, as well as the environmental and moral implications, are often enough to dissuade you. However, if you are able to find that particular wood in a reclaimed version, you can do so virtually guilt-free. 

Reclaimed Wood with Capitol City Lumber

If you’re a homeowner in Raleigh looking for reclaimed wood for your next project, Capitol City Lumber has just what you need. Our hardware store and lumber yard are stocked with all kinds of wood options, and our team of experts are always there to help guide you through the choices and help you find the right fit. 

For more information about our lumber yard and building supply store in Raleigh, shipping capabilities, wood cutting services, or items we sell, visit or contact us today. If you can’t swing by, check out the many wood products that we ship all over the continental U.S. through!