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What Is Antique Lumber?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

Antique lumber is wood that has been salvaged from old houses and other sources for reuse on new projects. Despite its name, antique lumber is not made to create antiques, though the items may look antique because of the wood’s age. Antique wood is salvaged, so it comprises a wide variety of wood types and is distinguished more by age than by type. Aside from having less of an environmental impact, this wood can have an interesting aesthetic that some people may enjoy.

All antique lumber is a type of reclaimed, or recycled, wood. This means old houses and other wooden items are carefully taken apart, and the wood is spared in near-perfect condition so it can be used for other projects. Reclaimed wood can be any age, but it must be 100 years or older to be considered antique wood. Many people who buy this wood want to know how old it is and where it came from, so most sellers keep track of such details.


While antique lumber cannot technically make antiques, it can be used to make a wide range of items. It commonly is used to make houses, floors and furniture. People typically do not like cutting or grinding down the wood, because of its age and value, so it is not as common for crafting unless little work is needed to shape the wood.

The only requirement for reclaimed wood to be considered antique lumber is that it has to be 100 years old or older. Beyond this, antique wood can be any type, color or species of wood. This means antique wood may have many different mechanical qualities and uses, though must of these woods are very hard.

One of the obvious benefits of using antique lumber is that it is better for the environment, but there also are other benefits. Modern lumber often is taken from trees that have not had much time to grow; in the past, trees were able to grow for many years before they were processed. This meant the trees became harder, a quality that passed to the wood. From aging, this wood tends to change color and acquires a unique look. Many woods are no longer sustainable enough to be practical for construction purposes, but many antique woods are made from rare species, giving people another chance to use these rare woods.

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