Exotic Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-Used, and Sustainable Flooring Northwest Renovation

Exotic Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-Used, and Sustainable Flooring Northwest Renovation

Exotic Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-Used, and Sustainable Flooring

What does a wooden covered bridge in Eugene have in common with a splintered stadium bleacher in Beaverton? Once deconstructed, nails removed, and milled, these “rescued” wood products make great floor boards…and are gaining popularity as an “exotic” wood.

In this instance, exotic refers to the story behind the wood, not its country of origin. “Exotic doesn’t have to mean out of this country. Not when you think about what the reclaimed wood used to be, not what kind of wood it is,” explains Tobey Parsons, owner of McGee Salvage.

From that standpoint, Oregon’s old growth forests — harvested more than a century ago — are gaining new life as homeowners continue to pursue “green,” or environmentally friendly, remodeling.

Parsons shares a focus with Mary Mulcrone, sales and marketing manager for Endura Wood Products, and Shiloh Rideout, owner of Rideout Reclamation, on reclaiming wood products for a variety of uses, not just floors.

Recycled wood can also be turned into stairs, trim, and cabinetry. It can be used either to patch an existing floor or to create a new one.

But as a floor, “it’s absolutely beautiful because of its clear vertical grain,” Mulcrone explains. “It’s almost impossible to get that [quality] in any other way unless it has been reclaimed.”

New Use for Dunnage

Indigenous woods to Oregon include hemlock and spruce, but mostly Douglas Fir. For homeowners seeking a different look, Rideout is exploring the possibilities of reclaiming dunnage. Dunnage refers to scrap wood “sticks” that are used to support loads and prop tools and materials up off the ground.

Although considered “scrap,” dunnage is anything but, Rideout explains. It has to be a hardwood species, because of its weight-bearing properties. And although each individual piece is called a stick, that term is also misleading. In fact, dunnage is solid, good-sized wood slabs sometimes measuring 10’ in length.

Dunnage is used in railyards, shipyards, and the construction industry, among others. It is plentiful, and if not reclaimed ends up as wood chips and landfill fodder.

“That’s a lot of nice wood going to waste,” Rideout notes.

Although reclaiming dunnage is a small part of his business, Rideout anticipates its popularity will continue to grow.

These wood strips are fairly narrow, not thick like the wood planks from a covered bridge or bleachers. Once re-finished, the end product looks more sleek and modern, “a good fit for the [upscale] condo market,” he says.

No Wood? No Worries

If a wood floor — reclaimed or otherwise — is not your first choice, it is still possible to select a product that is beautiful, durable, and environmentally friendly.

Putting in a new floor “is a big expense, and a lot of people worry about making the best choice,” Mulcrone says.

Bamboo, essentially a fast-growing grass, is at least as hard as maple, and 10% harder than some other hardwoods. Cork is nothing more than the bark of the cork oak tree. Both of these materials are strong, long-lasting, and rapidly renewable, earning high marks as a “green” product for the home.

Cork is such a good insulator that it can be placed under a wood floor, where it cushions the sound made by pets and hard-soled shoes, Mulcrone says.

Linoleum — an age-old mixture of linseed, cork, and wood shavings — is a biodegradable product that improves with age. “It’s really hard-wearing, comes in great colors, and holds up to abuse. It’s easy to clean; you just have to damp mop it,” she adds.

Although bare floors have reigned supreme for years, wool carpeting has been making a comeback, says Patrick Rutledge, operations manager for Environmental Building Supply.

How good is a wool carpet? It’s the top choice for world-class hotels and casinos because it is long-lasting, stain-resistant, and an excellent insulator. Given that, a wool carpet is an equally good choice for the home, Rutledge says.

“Wool is naturally water repellant, so if you get to a spill before it dries — even red wine — plain water and blotting will get the stain out,” he says.

While a hard surface has its place in high traffic areas, like the kitchen and bath, the plush luxury of a wool carpet is well-suited for bedrooms and dens.

Exotic Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-Used, and Sustainable Flooring

What does a wooden covered bridge in Eugene have in common with a splintered stadium bleacher in Beaverton? Once deconstructed, nails removed, and milled, these “rescued” wood products make great floor boards…and are gaining popularity as an “exotic” wood.

In this instance, exotic refers to the story behind the wood, not its country of origin. “Exotic doesn’t have to mean out of this country. Not when you think about what the reclaimed wood used to be, not what kind of wood it is,” explains Tobey Parsons, owner of McGee Salvage.

From that standpoint, Oregon’s old growth forests — harvested more than a century ago — are gaining new life as homeowners continue to pursue “green,” or environmentally friendly, remodeling.

Parsons shares a focus with Mary Mulcrone, sales and marketing manager for Endura Wood Products, and Shiloh Rideout, owner of Rideout Reclamation, on reclaiming wood products for a variety of uses, not just floors.

Recycled wood can also be turned into stairs, trim, and cabinetry. It can be used either to patch an existing floor or to create a new one.

But as a floor, “it’s absolutely beautiful because of its clear vertical grain,” Mulcrone explains. “It’s almost impossible to get that [quality] in any other way unless it has been reclaimed.”

New Use for Dunnage

Exotic Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-Used, and Sustainable Flooring Northwest Renovation

Indigenous woods to Oregon include hemlock and spruce, but mostly Douglas Fir. For homeowners seeking a different look, Rideout is exploring the possibilities of reclaiming dunnage. Dunnage refers to scrap wood “sticks” that are used to support loads and prop tools and materials up off the ground.

Although considered “scrap,” dunnage is anything but, Rideout explains. It has to be a hardwood species, because of its weight-bearing properties. And although each individual piece is called a stick, that term is also misleading. In fact, dunnage is solid, good-sized wood slabs sometimes measuring 10’ in length.

Dunnage is used in railyards, shipyards, and the construction industry, among others. It is plentiful, and if not reclaimed ends up as wood chips and landfill fodder.

“That’s a lot of nice wood going to waste,” Rideout notes.

Although reclaiming dunnage is a small part of his business, Rideout anticipates its popularity will continue to grow.

These wood strips are fairly narrow, not thick like the wood planks from a covered bridge or bleachers. Once re-finished, the end product looks more sleek and modern, “a good fit for the [upscale] condo market,” he says.

No Wood? No Worries

If a wood floor — reclaimed or otherwise — is not your first choice, it is still possible to select a product that is beautiful, durable, and environmentally friendly.

Putting in a new floor “is a big expense, and a lot of people worry about making the best choice,” Mulcrone says.

Bamboo, essentially a fast-growing grass, is at least as hard as maple, and 10% harder than some other hardwoods. Cork is nothing more than the bark of the cork oak tree. Both of these materials are strong, long-lasting, and rapidly renewable, earning high marks as a “green” product for the home.

Cork is such a good insulator that it can be placed under a wood floor, where it cushions the sound made by pets and hard-soled shoes, Mulcrone says.

Linoleum — an age-old mixture of linseed, cork, and wood shavings — is a biodegradable product that improves with age. “It’s really hard-wearing, comes in great colors, and holds up to abuse. It’s easy to clean; you just have to damp mop it,” she adds.

Although bare floors have reigned supreme for years, wool carpeting has been making a comeback, says Patrick Rutledge, operations manager for Environmental Building Supply.

How good is a wool carpet? It’s the top choice for world-class hotels and casinos because it is long-lasting, stain-resistant, and an excellent insulator. Given that, a wool carpet is an equally good choice for the home, Rutledge says.

“Wool is naturally water repellant, so if you get to a spill before it dries — even red wine — plain water and blotting will get the stain out,” he says.

While a hard surface has its place in high traffic areas, like the kitchen and bath, the plush luxury of a wool carpet is well-suited for bedrooms and dens.

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