Looking to Reduce the Cost of a Reclaimed Wood Siding, Ceiling or Other Project?

Apr 1, 2013

Are you trying to do a reclaimed wood siding, ceiling, wainscoting or other project on a budget?  Often one of the easiest ways to significantly reduce the costs of a reclaimed or other unique wood installation is to use unmilled lumber in lieu of milled antique lumber.

T&G (tongue-and-groove), shiplap and other milled reclaimed wood products generally cost more than unmilled reclaimed wood products for at least two primary reasons:


  1. Milling Costs.  It takes equipment and labor to turn raw antique lumber into flooring, siding or other milled products.  Reclaimed wood milling costs can be higher than new wood milling costs because antique wood can be harder on equipment, can take longer to run, etc.


  1. Falldown.  Processing lumber into milled products results in falldown (i.e., material loss.)  Right off the bat, there is width loss.  8" wide lumber becomes 7" wide T&G flooring  (12.5% loss.)  The milling process invariably results in length loss as well.  Some boards that are in specification as lumber become out of specification in whole or in part as T&G flooring.


Note that the quoted costs of milled reclaimed wood products are very much influenced by "details" like the characteristics allowed by the finished product specification and whether the buyer or the seller takes the waste associated with the milling process.  Specifications that allow significant amounts of rustic character and arrangements in which the buyer purchases reclaimed lumber from the seller and then pays for the processing of that lumber (taking and paying for everything that comes out of the process) can justify significantly more aggressive pricing than arrangements in which the seller is paid only for milled materials that meet a tight specification.


 Shiplap  T&G


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