When you want a unique look in your kitchen, using reclaimed wood to replace the cabinets often seems like a dramatic and eco-friendly choice. While this approach certainly offers both style and character, it’s not as easy on the planet as you think. In fact, other solutions, like kitchen cabinet refacing, provide a greener alternative. Here’s why.
Reclaiming Wood Adds to Waste in Landfills
When you use reclaimed wood for your new cabinets, your old ones are torn out and disposed of in a landfill. On the other hand, when cabinets are refaced the doors and drawer fronts are discarded, but the balance – the boxes of the cabinets – remain in place. This reduces what needs to be thrown away, enabling you to renew and reuse much of your existing cabinetry.
Reclaiming Wood Uses Up More Energy Than Refacing Kitchen Cabinets
When you rip out your kitchen cabinets and replace them fully with reclaimed wood, the process itself requires more fossil fuels. This is because the reclaimed wood is typically custom milled first and then built into cabinet boxes, doors, and drawer fronts.
Once completed, the cabinets need to be shipped, often from suppliers who are far from local. Refacing kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts instead doesn’t require as much in the way of manufacturing or space when being transported, leading to lower energy usage.
Reclaiming Wood Means You Don’t Know the Source
When you reclaim wood, it can come from many different places, ranging from old barns, commercial facilities, railroads, schools, and other locations. As a result, there can be a question about what’s on the wood. Toxic chemicals, like lead paint, can get left behind on older, reclaimed wood. Even in the smallest amounts, they’re dangerous.
In addition, even if reclaimed wood is free of toxins, companies can add paint, adhesives, or preservatives that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to enhance the end product. VOCs generate toxic and foul-smelling fumes that when released, lower the indoor air quality and damage the earth’s ozone layer. While they might lead to a better-looking outcome, it can be a riskier one, too.
Reclaiming Wood Might Not Last
When you don’t know the source of the wood, like you do when you’re refacing kitchen cabinets, you also don’t know if it was exposed to excessive moisture over the years. If it was, it can eventually cause problems with mold and mildew down the line and even trigger respiratory issues.
Reclaimed wood can also be a haven for pests, like termites, if not properly treated ahead of time. These pests can then enter your home and damage other hardwood items inside.
In addition, reclaimed wood is vulnerable to curling, which happens when the wood either starts curling up in the middle or the ends. This is an issue that’s nearly impossible to fix and would require total replacement in the future.
Reclaiming Wood is More Expensive Than Refacing Kitchen Cabinets
Despite these many cons, reclaimed wood is substantially more expensive. This is due to the fact that finding wood that’s high-quality is a difficult job. Not only is the wood itself costlier, but you need more of it since the process requires cabinet boxes to be built in addition to the doors and drawer fronts. The price simply reflects these factors.
When you choose kitchen cabinet refacing instead, you’re simply paying for the doors and drawer fronts, along with painting or staining the existing cabinet boxes. It’s therefore not only a friendlier choice for the planet, but also for your budget.
Ready for Help from the Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Experts?
If you’d prefer to reface your kitchen cabinets rather than using reclaimed wood, N-Hance® can help. With our services, we actually make a positive difference on the environment thanks to our partnership with American Forests, the oldest national conservation organization in the United States.
For every kitchen cabinet refacing, or cabinet or floor refinishing project we complete, we donate one tree to the organization to be planted. As a result, we’re able to lend a hand in restoring the forests throughout the US, preserving nature, fighting climate change, and protecting wildlife in the process.
If, however, you do decide to go ahead with reclaimed wood for your new kitchen cabinets, make sure it’s from a legitimate source. Some companies make false claims about where their products come from. To avoid this from happening to you, check that your dealer or cabinet maker is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance, which simply means they are selling authentic reclaimed wood.
If you’d like a stylish and eco-friendly approach to transforming your home, our kitchen cabinet refacing service provides the answer. Call your local N-Hance at (855) 642-6230 today for a FREE estimate.