Recycling Vintage Wood

Wood taken from old buildings can be restored for use in new homes or remodels.


Nail holes, knots, stains and grain give vintage wood its distinctive characteristics.

Nail holes, knots, stains and grain give vintage wood its distinctive characteristics.

Learn about the uses of antique wood in the kitchen from expert Alex Grabenstein of Vintage Lumber, who recovers wood from old buildings that would otherwise be burned or put into landfills and then restores it for installation in new homes or remodels.

  • Antique flooring is old lumber that is at least 40 years old. It has variations in color and distressing not found in new lumber, which makes it highly desirable.
  • Antique lumber is a costlier option for flooring because it is labor intensive. Nails must be removed from it before it is first air-dried, then kiln-dried.
  • White pine, heart pine, oak and chestnut are the most common types of antique lumber. White pine is usually recovered from beams and framing lumber and often has a lot of nail holes. It has a tighter grain, pronounced knots and lots of color. It costs around $8 per square foot.
  • Heart pine has an extremely tight grain and is very sturdy. It makes wonderful flooring. It has a deep, red color that gets redder when exposed to light. It costs around $10 per square foot.
  • Oak has varying characteristics of nail holes, knots, stains and grain. Antique oak makes a durable floor and costs around $10 per square foot.
  • Chestnut has a wide variety of color and grains. It has highly desirable worm holes and costs around $12 per square foot.

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