Reclaimed Wood Backsplash Organic Warmt with Natural Texture

Introduction to Reclaimed Wood Backsplashes

A reclaimed wood backsplash can add beautiful warmth and texture to any kitchen. Made from salvaged wood that has been cleaned, milled, and refinished, reclaimed wood brings a rustic yet sophisticated look to a space. Unlike manufactured wood or tile, reclaimed wood has a rich patina that only time can achieve. Each board’s unique knots, grain patterns, nail holes, and distressed edges reflect the wood’s previous life and create visual interest.

Reclaimed wood backsplashes work with many kitchen styles, from modern farmhouse to industrial. The organic textures pair nicely with stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, brick walls, and other natural materials. Reclaimed wood offers tons of character while acting as a durable and protective backdrop for the cooking area.

Benefits of Using Reclaimed Wood for Backsplashes

Choosing reclaimed wood for a kitchen backsplash has many advantages:


No two reclaimed wood boards are the same. The wood’s markings tell a story and give the kitchen personality. The backsplash becomes a true focal point.


Using reclaimed and recycled wood prevents additional trees from being harvested. It gives new life to materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Natural Texture

The variations in reclaimed wood’s grain, knots, holes, and texture create organic visual warmth. The patina shows the wood’s age and origins.


Dense reclaimed wood is extremely durable, especially old-growth woods like heart pine. Properly finished, it can withstand decades of splatters, spills, and moisture.

Ease of Installation

Reclaimed wood backsplashes install similarly to tile, using adhesive on the wall studs. The boards can be cut to fit any design. No grout lines makes for easy wipe-clean maintenance.

Cost Savings

Although prices vary based on wood type and board grade, reclaimed wood is generally cheaper than natural stone tile, stainless steel, or other backsplash materials. Less cutting and shaping reduces installation costs too.

Choosing Reclaimed Wood for Your Backsplash

Several factors go into choosing reclaimed wood for a backsplash installation:

Wood Type

Popular reclaimed wood choices include oak, pine, hickory, cypress, and other dense species that resist warping. Know the source region, as woods have distinct characteristics depending on climate.

Board Style

Reclaimed boards come in varied widths and lengths. Long, vertical planks can create a clean, modern look. Random widths add interest. Distressed and whitewashed finishes are also options.


The grade indicates the amount of natural markings versus a clean face. Character and rustic grades have the most knots and holes, ideal for backsplashes wanting pronounced texture. Architectural grades have fewer imperfections.

Color and Finish

Stains, oils, waxes, paints, and whitewashing modify reclaimed wood’s base tone. A clear coat protects the surface from moisture and splatters. Know the finish will patina over time.


As a backsplash focal point, investing in higher quality materials is often worth it. Still, less expensive boards or smaller project scopes can reduce costs. Factor in installation fees too.


Finding reclaimed wood requires searching timber salvagers, reclamation warehouses, and online stores. Verify the source and species. Inspect each board in person where possible.

Preparing Reclaimed Wood for Installation

Once you’ve selected the perfect reclaimed wood for your kitchen backsplash, proper preparations will ensure it’s ready for installation:

Moisture Testing

Test the wood’s moisture content before installing. High moisture can cause warping and cupping later on. Ideal levels are under 15% for interior uses.

Sanding and Planing

Lightly sand each board with incrementally finer grit sandpaper to smooth the surface while retaining the aged patina. Remove residue.

Priming and Sealing

Apply an oil-based primer, wood conditioner, or sealant to the back side and edges. This prevents moisture absorption from behind.

Cutting and Shaping

Make any necessary cross-cuts, rip cuts, mitered edges, holes, etc. prior to installation. Cut pieces to fit your precise backsplash design.

Finish Application

Add your final backsplash finish like stain, paint, oil, or polyurethane. Apply finish uniformly across boards for consistency. Allow proper dry time.

Design Ideas for Reclaimed Wood Backsplashes

Get creative with reclaimed wood backsplash designs:

Full Wall Statement

Run floor-to-ceiling reclaimed wood planks across the entire backsplash area for a bold, rustic statement. Mix up vertical board directions.

Focal Shape

Use reclaimed boards over the stove or sink only. Opt for an angled, chevron, herringbone, or geometric focal point. Surround with different materials.

Layered Look

Add visual depth by installing two layers of reclaimed boards. Space them slightly apart or overlap imperfections. Vary board direction.

Incorporate Open Shelving

Accent reclaimed wood backsplashes with floating shelves, open cabinetry, or cubbies. Match wood tones for a coordinated look. Display decorative items.

Mix Wood Types

Pair reclaimed oak boards with rough-sawn cedar or pine accents. Contrasting wood grains and colors create eclectic character.

Metallic Accents

Introduce contemporary touches like stainless steel, brass, or copper. Metal vent hoods, shelves, tiles, or hardware pop against reclaimed wood.

Installing a Reclaimed Wood Backsplash

Once reclaimed boards are prepped, it’s time for installation. Follow these best practices:

Calculate Layout

Measure the total area and map a layout. Account for outlets, pipes, fixtures, etc. Mock it up before permanently adhering.

Secure Boards

Use construction adhesive to attach boards to wall studs, not just drywall. Make sure adhesive offers flexibility. Use brad nails for extra hold.

Leave Expansion Space

Allow 1/8” gaps between boards and 1/4″ gaps along edges. Wood expands and contracts with humidity. Space allows movement.

Stagger Seams

Avoid aligning board seams in tight grid patterns. Stagger seams randomly for a pleasing aesthetic.

Fill Gaps Carefully

Fill any remaining gaps with sanded caulk in a matching color, not darker wood filler. Keep the patina’s aged appearance.

Apply Protective Finish

Add another coat of water-resistant finish. Polyurethane is ideal for moisture protection and durability.

Caulk Perimeter

Finish by caulking all edges where the backsplash meets countertops, walls, and ceilings. Neutral colored caulk for a subtle seam.

Maintaining and Protecting a Reclaimed Wood Backsplash

A reclaimed wood backsplash is built to handle wear and tear. Still, proper care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful:

Clean Frequently

Wipe down the backsplash with a damp soapy cloth as needed. Avoid excessive water. Capture spills quickly to limit absorption stains.

Re-apply Finish

Renew finish coats every 2-3 years as the existing finish wears. This maintains moisture protection and aesthetics.

Control Humidity

Use exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning to keep interior humidity around 45%. This minimizes seasonal wood movement.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Clean with gentle soap and water. Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasives that can damage the finish.

Protect from Direct Heat

Install a metal splash guard behind cooktops to shield wood from high heat and grease. This prevents cracking and discoloration.

Check for Damage

Inspect routinely for dents, gouges, and finish deterioration. Make repairs promptly to limit further issues.

Ideal Woods for Reclaimed Backsplashes

Many wood species make gorgeous backsplashes when reclaimed and refinished. Here are some top options:


Red oak and white oak have bold grain patterns. Their hardness resists dents and scratches. Stains enrich oak’s natural tones.


Reclaimed heart pine and other antique woods have tight growth rings and rich color. Their sap gives contrasting streaks.


Prized for its hardness and durability, hickory displays angled grain bundles and swirling tones ranging from blonde to chocolate brown.


Maple’s fine, straight grain has a light canvas for stains. Birdseye maple and other figure variations add interest when reclaimed.

Douglas Fir

With dramatic growth rings and reddish hues, reclaimed Douglas fir has bold southwestern appeal. Its Janka hardness rating exceeds maple.


Filled with character, old-growth cypress has eccentric grain markings and ages to grayish-brown when reclaimed. It offers dimension stability.

Unique Accents With Reclaimed Wood Backsplashes

Beyond the wood itself, additional touches can make a reclaimed wood backsplash stand out:

Distressed Details

Highlight nicks, wormholes, stains, and cracks for authenticity instead of flawless boards. The imperfections tell a story.

Dynamic Dimensions

Vary reclaimed board widths from 4 inches up to 12 inches. Contrast skinny and wide planks. Also stagger lengths.

Natural Edge Boards

Occasional boards with live edges showing bark and shape contours add drama. Work these in strategically.

Mixed Finishes

Combine reclaimed boards with different stains, paint colors, or natural oil finishes for eclectic appeal.

Found Items

Affix salvaged latches, hinges, door knobs, log slices, or wine crate pieces as decorative touches.

Lighting Accents

Install vintage-style filament bulbs or modern LED strip lighting to highlight textural details. Illuminate boards from above or below.

Sourcing Quality Reclaimed Wood

Finding authentic, high-grade reclaimed wood takes some sleuthing. Follow these sourcing tips:

Check Local Salvage Yards

Architectural salvagers inspect buildings slated for demolition and reclaim materials. Their inventory constantly rotates.

Search Online Marketplaces

Etsy, eBay, and specialty sites like Elmwood Reclaimed Timber offer curated reclaimed wood for order. Review seller feedback.

Contact Reclamation Experts

Longstanding warehouses like Carolina Heart Pine, Goodwin Company, and TerraMai Reclaimed Woods employ experts to assess and mill old woods.

Find Barns or Fallen Trees

Check with arborists, tree removal services, and rural landowners for access to old barns, fallen trees, and other potential wood sources.

Verify Quality

Ask detailed questions about origin, grading standards, milling, moisture content, and sourcing practices. Request samples and close-up photos before purchasing.

Plan for Added Lead Time

Give yourself extra sourcing and delivery time, especially for large projects or rare wood types. Be ready to adapt designs to the available boards.

Inspiring Examples of Reclaimed Wood Backsplashes

Some stunning kitchens showcase creative uses of salvaged wood backsplashes:

This light-filled kitchen combines a reclaimed pine backsplash with marble countertops and open shelves for a refined farmhouse style. The varied plank widths, exposed pipe shelves, and brass accents keep the look contemporary:

Reclaimed wood backsplash with marble countertops and brass accents

Whitewashed reclaimed oak in a chevron pattern makes the perfect complement to concrete floors and stainless steel appliances in this chic, modern kitchen:

Whitewashed reclaimed wood chevron backsplash

This bright green island houses the cooktop, allowing the reclaimed pine boards to extend across the entire back wall. Extra-long boards and varied gray tones emphasize the rustic textures:

All-wood reclaimed pine backsplash

Mismatched reclaimed barn wood boards painted white make a charming backsplash that complements the kitchen’s salvaged cabinetry, ceiling beams, and hardwood floors:

Mismatched white reclaimed wood backsplash

This transitional kitchen gets a pop of subtle color from a reclaimed cypress backsplash stained a gray-blue hue. Frosted glass upper cabinets balance the wood’s organic texture:

Gray-blue stained reclaimed cypress backsplash

FAQs About Reclaimed Wood Backsplashes

What is the best way to clean a reclaimed wood backsplash?

Use a soft sponge or cloth with mild soap and warm water. Avoid harsh cleaners. Limit moisture to prevent warping.

Can you use reclaimed wood around a stove backsplash?

Yes, apply a heat-resistant finish and install a metal hood-style backsplash behind the stove to protect the wood from direct high heat.

What is the best finish for a reclaimed wood backsplash?

Polyurethane sealants provide the best moisture protection. Penetrating oil finishes highlight the natural wood tones. Stains or paints add color while still allowing the surface texture to show through.

How thick should reclaimed wood backsplash boards be?

3/4” thick boards offer durability for backsplashes while keeping the weight reasonable. Use 1/2″ boards for a lighter look or 1”+ for a heavy, rustic aesthetic.

What’s the best way to attach a reclaimed wood backsplash?

Construction adhesive applied to the wall offers flexibility as wood expands and contracts. Paired with brad nails for extra hold. Follow manufacturer instructions.

Should you seal the back of reclaimed wood backsplash boards?

Yes, sealing the backside and edges with primer or conditioner prevents moisture absorption that leads to cupping and warping.

How do you cut reclaimed wood boards?

Use a circular saw with fine tooth blade (60+ teeth) for cross cuts and miter cuts. For rip cuts along the grain, use a table saw. Make precise cuts slowly to avoid splintering.

Can you mix different types of reclaimed wood together?

Definitely! Contrasting multiple wood species and plank designs creates an eclectic, harmonious look. Mix up board lengths, widths, colors, and finishing techniques.


Instilling rustic warmth and relaxed elegance, reclaimed wood backsplashes infuse kitchens with natural beauty and eco-friendly character. Choosing boards with lively grain patterns, knots, holes, stains, and saw marks preserves the wood’s storied past. While reclaimed materials take more effort to source and install, the payoff is an organically textured, environmentally responsible backsplash that will bring joy for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, a reclaimed wood backsplash becomes a beloved heirloom.