Can You Pull Up Hardwood Floors and Reuse Them?

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Hardwood floorings are a great addition to a home because of the natural beauty they add to every room. If you want a house built with hardwood flooring, prepare a hefty flooring budget because these materials come with an above-average price tag. To avoid spending too much money on flooring materials, some people reuse their old hardwood floors instead of buying new ones.

So is it possible to pull up hardwood floors and reinstall them? Yes, this is definitely possible. Since they are environment-friendly and extremely durable, hardwood floors are often reused when remodeling or building a home. They also offer better aesthetics and lower costs than buying new materials.

Is it Possible to Reclaim and Reuse Hardwood Floors?

In a 2018 report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 12.2 million tons of wood waste were found in landfills all over the country. This amount is extremely high, considering that wood is a durable material that can be recycled in several ways.

Since discarded wooden flooring is one major contributor to wood waste in the country’s landfills, repurposing hardwood floors is a great environment-friendly option when remodeling a home. Instead of disposing of these durable materials after demolishing a building, the floorings can be repurposed if they have the right length and thickness.

Aside from being eco-friendly, these materials also raise the selling price of a home by adding aesthetic value. Reclaimed wood has a certain look that newly processed hardwood flooring can’t achieve without aging.

If you are planning to use reclaimed hardwood floors for the next home project, here are some things to know about them:

When is it Best to Reclaim and Reuse Hardwood Flooring?

 Hardwood flooring comes as boards of processed lumber that have versatile uses once they are pulled up from their location. However, not all of these wooden floorings can be repurposed. Before reclaiming the hardwood floors in a home, here are a few things to consider:

  • Planks that are longer than 6 ft. will be easier to pull up
  • The thickness on the groove side should be at least 1/8 in.
  • The material should not have any holes that might be home to termites and other wood pests

How to Reuse Old Hardwood Floors: A Step-by-Step Guide

 After selecting the hardwood floors that can be used for repurposing, here is a guide on how to pull them up and reuse them:

1. Gathering the materials and preparing the room for the project.

Before starting any home project, first ensure that the materials you need are complete. For pulling up hardwood flooring, a pry bar, mallet, and nail claw are some tools that will guarantee an easier and quicker job of tearing the hardwood from the floor.

It’s also important to prepare the room where the hardwood floorings will be removed. Declutter the place and clear out all the fixtures on the walls to prevent any debris from damaging them. Cover the items with tarps to protect them from dust while the project is ongoing.

2. Prying up the board with an exposed tongue.

Using the pry bar, remove the baseboards first. If removed carefully, these materials can also be reused. After pulling the baseboards, it’s time to pry up the hardwood planks that have exposed tongues.

Find a part near the nail of the board and simply slip the pry bar underneath the plank before elevating it. Remember to do this carefully because the board or the tongue can split if forcefully removed. Rock the pry bar to loosen the board. Repeat this process until all the boards are safely lifted.

3. Clean the debris.

Since the hardwood floors are secured on the floor with nails, there will be metal debris on the boards. It’s easier to collect them using a handheld magnet. Before installing the reclaimed wood to a new location, make sure that all the stray staples and nails are removed first.

Possible Issues with Reusing Hardwood Floors

If the reused hardwood floors were originally installed in a place that was exposed to the sun, there might be color variations between the boards. Wood is a light-sensitive material that reacts to direct sunlight. Depending on the species it was made from, sun-exposed hardwood can lighten or darken from its original color.

Another thing to watch out for is the warpage of the wood. If the floors were placed in humid places, the material can swell because of absorbing the moisture in the air. Hardwoods that went through extreme warpage may not be good for reinstallment.

Similarly, extremely thin wooden floors are also not a good option for repurposing. To keep its beautiful appearance scratch-free, hardwood floors undergo sanding and refinishing. These processes cause the material to become thin. If the grooves of the hardwood floors are less than 1/8-inch thick, it might be too thin for repurposing.

4 Benefits of Reusing Hardwood Floors

Reusing hardwood floors is a common practice because these materials are durable enough to be recycled after building demolition. Here are four reasons why it’s better to choose reclaimed hardwood instead of buying new flooring materials:

  • Environment-Friendly – Although trees are renewable resources, it takes several years to replace a tree that has been used for flooring and other purposes. Reclaimed wood doesn’t require cutting down new trees, so it won’t hurt the environment. Recycling hardwood flooring even helps in lessening the wood waste in the landfills.
  • Highly Durable – Hardwood flooring is typically made from old-growth trees. These trees grew for several decades before harvesting, which allowed their wood to become harder and denser. Wood products from these trees are highly durable and scratch-resistant.
  • Better Aesthetics – Hardwood floorings have a rustic look that a lot of homeowners prefer. This appearance only improves with time, which is why it’s better to use reclaimed wood from an old house or a barn. Although other flooring materials have attempted to replicate this style, it still won’t compare to the real deal.
  • Lower Costs – Reusing hardwood floors from an old home will save you tons of cash that would be otherwise spent on new flooring materials. Since they do not undergo the same processes as brand-new hardwood flooring, it’s definitely cheaper to buy a few tools to pry up the hardwood planks in the home and reinstall them in a new location.

Flooring Alternatives If You Can’t Reuse Hardwood

Although they are a great addition to any home, reused hardwood flooring may not be the ideal option all the time. If the reclaimed hardwood floors are too thin or warped for repurposing, here are other flooring options that are also durable and stylish:

  • Laminate – These materials are similar to hardwood because they are also made with thin layers of veneer. But instead of real wood, the top layer of laminate floorings are photographs that imitate the appearance of other materials like wood, stone, and tiles. The photographs are secured in place using a plastic coating.
  • Vinyl – If you’re looking for something softer than hardwoods and tiles, vinyl floorings are created with a polyvinyl chloride plastic and a layer of felt. These materials also come in a variety of styles for easier installation.
  • Bamboo – Bamboo can “renew” quicker than wood, which makes it an excellent source for flooring materials. It can also produce planks with various grain patterns that are similar to hardwood. But despite being much more resistant to moisture than wood materials, bamboo flooring shouldn’t be installed in moist and humid areas like laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Explore Hardwood Options at Zothex Flooring

Here at Zothex Flooring, we offer a wide selection of hardwood flooring options. Our products include floorings that are made from different species, such as Acacia, Rosewood, Tigerwood, Brazilian Cherry, and more.

Visit our website now to browse more of our products that are sourced from high-quality materials. You can also call us at (916) 925 – 1958 to consult with our staff about the right flooring option for your next home project.

Read more: Solid Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

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