Buying secondhand, recycled or reclaimed timber

Rather than buying brand new wood for a DIY or building project, it's much better for the environment to find timber that's been used before. Here's why, and how...
  Published:  07 Feb 2018    |      1 minute read

Did you know?

The Wood Recyclers Association estimates that some 5 million tonnes of waste wood are generated in the UK every year. This is mostly from construction and trades, but a chunk is from DIY too. Of those 5 million tonnes, only 1.4 million tonnes are recycled; the other 3.6 million tonnes are mostly either burned or landfilled.

Let's all do what we can to increase the demand for recycled wood.

Top tips for buying recycled and reclaimed timber

1. What's available to you?

Check out what size fittings and fixtures are available from salvage yards before designing your DIY project. That way you can, for instance, design your door openings to fit the size of the door you've seen.

2. Can you get hold of wood from older buildings?

Usually better timber comes from older buildings. Victorian pine floors were made from very dense first growth forest timber – much better quality than the new wood sold today.

3. Have you thoroughly inspected the goods?

We recommend checking every detail. If you're unsure, you can take your builder with you. Pre-wrapped secondhand flooring may look great on the outside but it could contain mixed sizes which makes laying expensive. Also you can ask to look inside the packaging – a good dealer won't mind you wanting to check beforehand.

If you can't buy secondhand or reclaimed timber, try using locally-produced Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber.