How to Tell If Reclaimed Wood Has Insect Damage

What You'll Need

Reclaimed wood is a type of wood that is commonly used as a way to promote eco-friendly endeavors. This type of wood is taken from old barns and other old buildings instead of harvested from trees that have been cut down. This practice is a type of recycling and it can also provide you with some great wood to use for flooring and other purposes. However, since it is usually rather old, reclaimed wood tends to be affected by insect damage. If this is the case, it can cause you some big problems. Before you use reclaimed wood, follow the steps below to determine whether it has been eaten or inhabited by bugs.

Step 1 - Examine the Wood

You may be able to immediately tell whether your reclaimed wood has insect damage. If you see holes and pits from insects on the outside of the wood, then you should most likely go no further with this particular batch. There is a good chance that it could have been damaged by termites, which makes it useless. If you can see damage on the outside of the wood, then there is most likely damaged on the inside as well.

Step 2 - Cut it Open

Next, you must take a good look at the inside of the reclaimed wood. You do not want to destroy all of the wood because it would eliminate its functionality, but it is safe to examine a small sample. Find a few of the pieces that you may not need and use a saw to cut into the middle of them. Inspect the inside of the board for insect damage like pits and holes.

Step 3 - Test the Strength

If a piece of wood has insect or termite damage, it will be significantly weaker than a healthy piece. If this is the case, you should be able to notice a big difference in the strength of the boards. Test the boards for strength to see if they are flimsy and break easily. When you cut into one of the boards, use your screwdriver to see if you can easily chip off some of the interior of the wood. If the wood easily breaks when you touch it with a screwdriver, then there is a good chance that it has bug damage and would not be able to stand up to any type of wear and tear.