Using reclaimed wood in your home is a beautiful way to add depth and character to any space. Not only is it an eco-friendly material, but reclaimed wood’s versatility also allows it to be incorporated into many different styles of design, from clean and contemporary to cozy and rustic. If you have chosen to use reclaimed wood in your most recent home improvement project, then you’ve likely considered the various aesthetics and textures your wood can provide, but that isn’t the only thing to consider. Choosing the perfect finish for your reclaimed wood is another way to dramatically enhance the appearance of your space.
The finish you choose should depend upon your use for the wood and the look you are after. Certainly a floor will have more contact with other materials than a ceiling. A shiny finish, while still maintaining a natural look, will obviously look more cultivated and modern than a natural wood finish. You may also want to keep with the “green” theme of your recycled wood and use a finish that is also eco-friendly. Therefore, sustainability, durability, longevity, color, texture, and maintenance, are all things to ponder before finishing your reclaimed wood.
Most any product you apply to a natural wood will change its color or tone. Some varnishes, oils, and dyes change the texture, bring out the layers of color, or subdue the grains of the wood. Before applying any finish to your reclaimed wood, sample the product on a small piece of the wood you will use first. Consider taking a piece of your wood to the home store and testing different products next to one another to see which finish achieves the color and texture you want. Keep in mind though, some products require more time and labor than others to apply.
Green friendly products like linseed and safflower oil, beeswax and carnauba wax, offer a natural protection and shine to your reclaimed wood and are perfect for low-traffic areas, such as walls or ceilings. They are eco-friendly (perfect for the sustainably-minded) and perfect for subtly highlighting your reclaimed wood project.
Stains are more decorative than protective, but can still be used to preserve your wood. Applying stain is a way to bring out the unique colors and patterns in the wood while adding your own tint. If you don’t need much added protection for your reclaimed wood, but simply want to enhance its colors, stain is the way to go.
Varnishes, on the other hand, use tough resins to provide better protection for your wood and can be used on interior or exterior projects. You can use varnishes in conjunction with the stain of your choice, or choose a varnish that is already tinted with stain. Varnishes come in a huge variety of colors, durability and shine, and are a great way to protect your wood, especially if it will be exposed to the outdoors or heavy usage.
One important factor in choosing the finish for your wood, is deciding if you want your wood to be shiny or matte. A shiny finish gives your wood a more modern and polished appearance, while matte finishes let the appearance of the wood speak for itself. Both finishes can be great accents to your reclaimed wood project. However, be cautious using high-gloss finishes in high-traffic areas, as they can be harder to maintain and may show wear sooner.
The stark, natural beauty of reclaimed wood is likely what convinced you to incorporate it into your home, but choosing the right finish can make it stand out even more. In most cases Centennial Woods™ can apply the finish prior to sending your order out.