What is aged wood, and why does it matter?
There are several names for aged wood, including reclaimed wood and antique wood. Wood is aged or weathered as it sits out in the elements and loses moisture. Temperature changes, humidity fluctuations, and small amounts of decay give aged wood its unique look.
Aged wood comes from old barns, decking, or buildings. Aged wood can also just be trees that have fallen over and left out. Anything wood more than a few years old can be aged wood.
Wood that has been left to the elements, even if it’s still in its original form, is highly sought after. It looks unique and doesn’t need extra processing, such as a kiln or pressure treatment, to be ready for use.
What happens as wood ages?
Aged and weathered wood is sought after for its looks, but also its durability. There is a myth that as wood ages, up to 100 years, it gets stronger. This has a small amount of truth in it. As wood is exposed to air and heat, it dries out. As the water leaves, the wood gets denser, which increases strength. After it dries out as much as possible, wood does not get any stronger.
Wood takes about one year per inch of thickness of the wood in the natural environment to be almost completely dry. This is faster in arid climates and slower in humid ones. It can also be done in a kiln, which is faster, but won’t produce an aged look.
What can aged wood be used for?
Aged wood can be used for anything from floors to furniture to decoration. Here at Green Ridge Forest Products, we are concerned with the sustainability of wood use. Although wood itself is a very sustainable building material, using aged wood adds another layer of timber protection. As a bonus, aged wood can be beautiful.
When wood ages, the result of expanding and contracting with the seasons over many years creates a unique look. Depending on what the wood was used for before, it can also come with a story. This history can influence what you choose to do with aged wood.
Some may not be suitable for building or floors if it has damage. Some wood that doesn’t have pest damage may have been treated with insecticide that is not allowed today. These are some things to consider when choosing projects for aged wood.
Are distressed and aged wood the same?
Distressed wood and aged wood are not the same. Distressed wood usually refers to fresh lumber that has been treated to look aged, whereas aged wood is authentically old and weathered. This can be done by scraping the wood or using acids like vinegar. Due to its authenticity and rarity, compared to distressed wood, aged wood is usually more expensive- though professionally distressed wood can be hard to tell apart from authentic aged wood.
Our aged wood services
If you have wood aging on your land right now, or need high quality aged wood for a project, contact us. We have an inventory of air-dried and kiln-dried wood and generations of experience dealing with fresh and aged wood.