Company salvages reclaimed lumber to create unique hardwood floors
By Jo-Ann Kaiser | Posted: 08/11/2009 2:00AM
A Wisconsin company reclaims lumber to fabricate flooring and beams for residences across the country.
|The unique colors and markings in reclaimed lumber provide a one-of-a-kind look for residential flooring.|
David Sacia founded Great Lakes Co. a decade ago. Based in Baraboo, WI, with two other facilities in Pennsylvania, the company reclaims old barn wood, beams, lumber and flooring, which it remills and recrafts into flooring and beams. It also makes rustic flooring from responsibly harvested wood that includes dead standing and dead fallen timbers.
“Our antique wood flooring and country hardwood floors are made from salvaged red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, hickory, walnut, chestnut and other vintage reclaimed woods,” Sacia says. “Oaks probably comprise 60 percent of the woods we use, with Eastern white pine accounting for 25 percent. Hemlock, walnut and the others are evenly represented in the remaining 15 percent.”
Procurement is the first step in the process, and Sacia says he buys more than he dismantles. “There is no shortage of material out there to be reclaimed. People come to us, mainly through one of our three Web sites. Sales are primarily in the continental United States, but we also ship to Hawaii, Europe and South America.”
Most of Great Lakes’ customers are buying the reclaimed timbers for flooring and beams primarily because of the look of the material, Sacia says. “Much of what we sell goes into second or third homes. The homes are upscale and often priced at between $1 million and $5 million. The material has a rustic beauty you can’t get from anything else.”
But the green factor also is coming into play now, as clients feel that reusing wood is a responsible thing to do, he adds. “Today, I would say the popularity of going green is also fueling sales.”
Customers do have to be willing to spend more, though, because reclaiming material involves extra costs, Sacia says. “Reclaimed timber is generally two to five times more expensive than wood cut today.”
|After raw material is de-nailed, planks are run through a SuperMax wire brush sander.|
Popularity Spreads Nationwide
Another trend Sacia sees emerging is an increased acceptance in mid-America. “When we started, our products were primarily going to either the East Coast or the West Coast, with little business in the middle of the country. That has changed, and we are seeing interest in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis.
“The remilled material seems to hit a chord with people,” he adds. “It makes the past come alive and offers a product with a lot of character, as well as a rich patina of color. It is like putting a piece of history into your home.”
About the Author
Jo-Ann KaiserJo-Ann Kaiser has been covering the woodworking industry for 31+ years. She is a contributing editor for the Woodworking Network and has been writing the Wood of the Month column since its inception in 1986.