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4 Questions To Ask Before Buying Reclaimed Wood Countertops

4 Questions To Ask Before Buying Reclaimed Wood Countertops

Learn the pros and cons of investing in reclaimed wood countertops.

Reclaimed wood countertops are currently a huge trend in kitchen design. They're unique, full of character, and bring a natural earthy feel into the home. Repurposed wood is not only sustainable and environment-friendly, it's an excellent opportunity to infuse your kitchen with a timeless history that will last a lifetime. However, there are certain things you should know before installing reclaimed wood countertops. From wood sourcing to prices, we're going over the important questions to ask before investing in this trending countertop material.

Where Is Reclaimed Wood Sourced?

Reclaimed wood for countertops can be sourced from a variety of unique locations. Old barns, factories, warehouses, historic homes, wine barrels… the list goes on. Depending on where the natural wood was sourced and when, there are a wide range of wood species available.

Some species that were used in very old structures are no longer on the market—like American chestnut and longleaf pine. These tree species are now endangered due to logging and deforestation. Along with many other rare species, these wood types are extremely strong and durable, making them perfect for resisting the daily wear and tear that a countertop must endure.

Erin Sander Design | A reclaimed wood slab is used as an extra dining space attached to the center island.

Because reclaimed wood is sourced from a variety of locations, each slab tells a unique story. The beauty of their distinctive appearance is accentuated by old nail holes, divots, variations in color, and other abnormalities. No two pieces are alike, as they bare the various marks of builders, craftsmen, insects, and natural elements like wind and rain.

Jane Kim Design | This modern industrial kitchen features reclaimed wood salvaged from an old barn. The wood is used for the island, countertops, and three long floating shelves.

By installing reclaimed wood countertops, you are continuing a unique history that has likely gone on for many decades. If you are curious to know more about the background of your wood, ask the source directly. It is not uncommon for reclaimed wood distributors to keep a record of the lineage of their wood.

Subu | The designer of this industrial loft space used a 16 foot island constructed from reclaimed logs and plumbing pipes to anchor the room. To match, reclaimed wood cabinets and floating shelves pull the design together.

How Durable Is Reclaimed Wood?

Since reclaimed wood has already spent many years facing the elements—humidity, wind, rain, etc—it has usually expanded and contracted enough to reach a stable state. However, each piece of wood is different, and there is no guarantee that a slab will not continue to warp when exposed to further changes in atmospheric moisture.

Remodel West | A gorgeous live edge wood countertop functions as the center of attention in this rustic contemporary kitchen.

The best way to ensure that a reclaimed wood countertop will remain stable is to do your research. Find a company that will not only construct and install it correctly, but provide detailed information on the wood type and the maintenance required to upkeep it. Additionally, keep in mind that thicker reclaimed wood will be more stable. Although it may be more costly, purchasing a thicker slab is worth the investment to ensure your wood countertop lasts a lifetime.

Pinterest | This warm reclaimed butcher block countertop accentuates the black painted island. A small sink makes this island the perfect prep station for cooking.

How Much Do Reclaimed Wood Countertops Cost?

When shopping for wood countertops, most people wonder if reclaimed wood is expensive The average cost of reclaimed wood countertops is between $30 to $140 per square foot. Variations in species, thickness and size will dictate where your countertop falls within this range (or in some cases, outside of it). If you’d like to stay on the cheaper end, consider opting for birch or beech butcher block countertops. These species cost about the same as laminate but still provide the earthy, rustic feel of reclaimed wood.

Buckminster Green | The large reclaimed butcher block countertop island is the main attraction in this eclectic farmhouse kitchen.

Below are a few price ranges for common reclaimed wood types, courtesy of Home Advisor:

Maple: $45 to $75 per square foot

Walnut: $100 per square foot

Teak or Sebrawood: $130 per square foot

Butcher Block: $40 to $65 per square foot

Wide Plank: $30 to $150 per square foot

Brooks Design Build | This cabin kitchen is completed by a thick reclaimed wood slab island. The various wood stains in the design enhance the rustic feel of the space.

Installation costs can also vary widely. Some homeowners opt for DIY installation to wave installation costs entirely. If you are interested in DIY installation, first check whether making your own cuts in the wood will void its warranty.

If you decide to hire a pro, the cost will start at around $8 per square foot minimum.

How Do You Upkeep Reclaimed Wood Countertops?

Wood countertops require oiling two to three times per year. To keep the wood healthy and stain resistant, mineral or tung oil is poured onto the surface, then left for a half hour to soak in. After it’s been absorbed, the wood is wiped with a soft cloth to remove the excess oil.

Simmons & Company | This gorgeous Santa Barbara home features reclaimed hand hewn Indonesian teak kitchen countertops. All the exterior surfaces of the cabinetry, columns walls, doors and trim are reclaimed, California Douglas fir barn wood.

To avoid permanent stains and discoloration, liquid spills should be wiped up quickly, especially if they are colored or acidic. You should also avoid setting hot pots and pans on wood counters, as they are not heat resistant.

Osborne Construction | This sleek reclaimed wood countertop contrasts vibrant blue cabinets for a bright and colorful design.

If a slip-up does happen and the wood becomes stained, don’t fret. One benefit of reclaimed wood countertops is the ability to sand away imperfections. Simply use high-grade sandpaper to remove stains or scratches, then rub oil into the area to refinish it.

Get Help Designing Your Dream Kitchen

Need some assistance getting your kitchen design just right? Get a FREE 3D kitchen design and rendering today to get your remodel on the right track! Our professional design team is here to give you the best recommendations on design and finishes for your home.

Plus, check out a few more of our favorite reclaimed wood kitchens:

North Folk Builders | An expansive farmhouse kitchen designed with a reclaimed barn wood center island.
Bilotta | This farmhouse kitchen in Bedford, New York was designed with a “barn feel” in mind. An antique carpenter’s workbench was restored by the builder, for use as an island and extra work station. The repurposed island is the key element in making this design feel like it was pulled from an old horse barn.
Vara Design | A unique geometric reclaimed wood island is stunning in this industrial farmhouse kitchen. The dark stained wood provides the perfect contrast to the stark white kitchen cabinets.
Somrak | Rustic wood counter tops bring character, functionality and durability to this small kitchen.