Why is processed barn siding better for interior accent walls?
One of the current trends in decorating that has really caught on is using barn wood for accent walls. It seems to be very popular in basement remodels, but is also being used in upstairs dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. In our house, we have used it in our office and we are thinking about using it in a couple of other locations.
The wood is so variable, that you can get just about any type of look you can imagine. Whites, reds, grays, browns and even some blues and yellows. Each board has a unique look so you can pretty much specify what type of colors you might like.
Why Use It?
Because it is so darn COOL! Need I say more? Well, that is our opinion anyhow. But let’s focus on learning about the different types of accent material that is available.
Different Types Of Reclaimed Barn Wood Available
Barn Siding Accent Walls
This is material that was used on the outside of the barn. Typically gray in color, gray with red, white, lots of different options. The siding also typically has a beautiful brown tone on the inside of the board.
Circle Saw Pattern-boards
This is material that could be used almost anywhere in the barn, typically hardwood material. It can be a weathered gray, brown or even reddish brown. You can usually see the original saw marks in the material, the “circle saw pattern”.
This is material that has been sawn from barn wood or could also be siding that has been planed. There is still a lot of uniqueness in the wood and you can do a variety of things with this material such as varied species, staining with multiple colors then mixing or just the natural look of the wood.
Many species used in barns are not around today, so having a accent wall made from reclaimed barn wood, doesn’t mean it has to look old. You can still get a modern, clean look and use reclaimed material.
What Colors Are Available?
The colors available are varied from barn to barn. It depends on the type of wood(usually Pine), if it has been painted or not, direction the side it facing and how long the wood has been there. But for the most part, here are the most common colors;
- Brown, many tones
- Faded Red
This constantly changes based on the barn. The most popular colors for accent walls is all brown, mixed brown and gray, and mixed brown and gray with a hint of red.
Customers have typically seen a picture of a type of wall that they like. If not, we also have a selection of photos that our own customers have used and we keep tabs on popular sites like Houzz.com and Pinterest where we maintain idea books and boards of what other people have done with the material.
Once we have an idea of what you are looking for, we hand select the material. Want a little bit of red mixed in, no problem. Don’t want any red, no problem. All gray? A mix of grays and brown? How about all brown? You get the idea, we can customize the material to the look that you have in mind.
Using the wire brush is the most common way of cleaning the barn wood. By using the wire brush, you are able to get rid of the dirt that has been sitting there for many years, but you don’t destroy the color of the boards which is very important if you want a mix of colors.
If you power wash silver gray or red boards, you will quickly discover brown board material below, which is fine if you want all brown, but not so good if you want the silvery gray colors.
We usually reserve this for the really dirty material. Fact is there is a lot of dirt around old barns whether blown around by the wind or kicked up by the animals who were housed there. Some boards are just too nasty to wire brush, and we have no choice but to power wash these.
You can still get nice colors with this type of washed wood, but we usually mix this material in with others because it is mostly all brown.
Most people think that because the wood has been on a barn for 100 years, that is must be dry. In a way, they are correct, it is drier than the material you would get from a tree you just cut down, but it is usually not dry enough to be used indoors.
Most barn wood we come across has a moisture content of 13-20%. Wood will move and I actually learned this first hand in my own application.
When we kiln dry the wood, we take the moisture down to 6-7%. The wood will likely acclimate back up to around 10%, but it should not cause any problems.
Wood moves, so you will likely still get some spacing depending on the season, but it should be hardly noticeable. A good way to accommodate any gaps or holes is to paint the wall a dark color behind the boards.
For the last 24 hours of our kiln drying cycle, we take the kiln up to at least 130 degrees. This gets rid of all the insects that may still be living or any eggs left behind. There are lots of nooks and crannies in this material, so this is the best bet for getting rid of all those things you likely would not want in your house!
Straight-Line Ripped 2 Sides
This is one of the most important parts for DIY installation. We run all the material through a straight line rip saw. What is a straight line rip saw?
It essentially guarantees a straight edge on a board when you feed it in. We typically run one side of the board, then set the fence to run the other side. This gives us material that is nearly perfect width. Straight edges give you excellent fit from board to board so that you don’t end up with gaps when you install the wood.
Straight End Cut
Once we have the wood edged on both sides, we use a saw called an up-cut saw. This saw holds the material down and cuts the ends at a perfect 90 degree angle to the straight edge that was created on both sides.
Why is this important?
Like the great fit between edges, this creates a perfect fit on the ends as well so you won’t get gaps. You will likely still need to cut the ends of some boards to fit your wall, but a mitre saw will work for that. This just saves you the time of having to cut each end of every board.
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