Often I get inquiries from people interested in “reclaimed” floors. As the conversation goes, they have a notion that the material will be cheaper in cost because it is reclaimed. Regarding my definition of reclaimed, I would say give the following:
Reclaimed flooring– material that has been provided from a source such as a barn, old building, or riverbottom (sunken logs) and has been milled into flooring.
Salvaged flooring– flooring that has been removed from a house or gymnasium and later gets re-installed in a different building or home.
Here are a few things to note:
Reclaimed flooring requires someone to go extract the material from one location and sometimes this can be difficult (underwater logging) and milled into flooring. At best, the cost as equal to but usually double the cost of traditional material because of the extra effort to recover the material that gets milled into flooring.
Salvaged flooring is typically picked up from a source where someone donates the material after removing it from a home in order to make way for new floor coverings. Unless the person removing the material is a specialist, the integrity of the flooring is usually compromised. I’ve also previously written about the amount of wear layer lost to the “over/underwood” effect of salvaged flooring.
If you’re looking for the cheap route, then the odds are less in favor of finding cheap reclaimed flooring.