Some people refer to it as trophy flooring. Others call it American history under your feet. Ultimately, it’s really old wood that’s reclaimed and processed by, appropriately, Olde Wood Limited.
By deconstructing worn-down, unwanted or unsafe barns, or by harvesting standing-dead old-growth trees, Olde Wood Limited is able to provide flooring material that features the authentic look of wood that’s hundreds of years old.
“Our flooring has been installed in multi-million dollar homes, and the first thing the owners’ friends and family notice is the flooring. By the time this wood is in their house, it’s close to 200 or 400 years old,” says Ryan Lowe, director of marketing.
Barn wood features a true weathered appearance with plenty of character, while the old-growth lumber harvested from dead trees is a more subtly patterned product. Barn siding typically is reused for wall treatments or outdoor areas. Some clients have installed it on ceilings, too, Lowe notes.
“For a restoration, remodel or new construction, Olde Wood Limited provides an opportunity for a homeowner to instantly add a piece of American history to their home,” he says.
With a finite number of old barns still standing, the antique wood is a limited resource. There’s plenty to go around for many years, Lowe explains, but some day it all will disappear. The company has torn down old railroad houses and other historical buildings, too. Lowe makes it clear Olde Wood Limited is aware of the historic aspects of certain structures.
“Barns outlive their purpose and start to deteriorate and banks just won’t insure them anymore. So the owner has a decision to make, and usually it becomes a liability. While a structure might disappear, we’re saving that old wood that otherwise would be in a landfill,” he says. Barn deconstruction provides access to rare species of wood, such as American chestnut and longleaf heart pine for homeowners looking for something their neighbors won’t have.
Olde Wood Limited mills flooring to exact specifications, as opposed to warehousing standardized product. “We don’t cut the floor until a customer places an order. Turnaround is four to six weeks, typically. They get whatever they want; however thick or wide, it’s 100 percent custom,” Lowe says.
Roughly 80 percent of Olde Wood’s business is antique flooring, with the remaining 20 percent consisting of entire barn beams and a small amount of recovered slate shingles.