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The Benefits of Recycled Timber

Last Updated Jul 11, 2011 · Written by Craig Gibson

Some materials come and go in terms of trends and fashions, but timber is consistently popular for all manner of specifications in and around the home. One only has to witness the popularity of timber floorboards and decking, which are seemingly installed in every new home and renovation. The huge demand for timber products worldwide has put significant strain on this natural resource, and though there are systems in place to monitor and regulate our forests; unscrupulous forces continue to illegally log valuable hardwood species for financial gain. This has motivated some timber suppliers to source recycled timber from existing buildings and construction sites – making use of a valuable source of hardwood timber that would have previously been wasted. hipages caught up with Fadi Dwayhi of Ironwood for an insight into the process of recycling timber.

How do you explain the demand for recycled timber?

“The older timbers have more character and definition than a younger harvested timber, and are also more stable in that they have been naturally seasoned. People are also more likely to want a recycled product in their home from an environmental point of view.”

Where do you source your recycled timber from?

“We source recycled timber from a number of different sources including factories, wharves, wool stores, shearing sheds, warehouses, bridges, mills and other old and derelict buildings. This is a very labour intensive process – it can take months to determine if the timber is usable.”

What is the process for recycling timber?

“Once the timber has been brought to our factory we have to remove all the nails and metal bolts that may be lodged in the wood – which is very labour intensive. The timber is then dried after which it is cut into planks and skimmed. Depending on the timber, it may need a further period of drying after skimming.”

How long does the drying process take?

“Individual species react differently to moisture. It also depends on how much they have been exposed to the weather, and can take anywhere from three to six months. Only then is it ready to be milled and cut into flooring sections with tongue and groove joints.”

What species are these recycled timbers?

“We stock a range of species though a lot of the older reclaimed timber is unidentifiable as in heavily wooded areas cross pollination between species occurred, making classification difficult.”

Tell us a bit about your reclaimed timber?

“This is timber that is sourced from dead trees in our forests, and also produces interesting timber with real character. This is done with all the due care and attention to the local ecosystem.”

What tips do you have for selecting a timber floor?

“You really need to see timber in the flesh, so visiting our showroom is the best place to start. Never select a timber product based purely on its species, as different timbers from the same species often look very different in terms of their colour.  You need to consider a number of different elements besides colour, including hardness, originality, individuality, climate and environment.”

What is the process for getting my recycled timber floor laid?

“All we need is a reliable estimate of the floor area to be covered.  Then one of our floor layers can visit your home and give you a quote.”

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