Save Big Money by Remodeling with Reclaimed Building Materials

Remodeling with Reclaimed Building MaterialsEvery second, one-and-a-half acres of rain forest are cut down, according to statistics from the Save The Rainforest foundation. This is in spite of the fact that copious amounts of potentially re-usable building materials go to the landfill each year. As of 2002, 36% of residential and commercial waste was made up of construction and demolition debris, according to the EPA.

Fortunately, there is a rising movement of renovating using reclaimed building materials, with some stunning results! Crafty contractors are re-using doors, windows, and scrap lumber for sleek, modern, minimal designs. As an added benefit, not only are you helping to preserve the world’s lungs, you can save money while doing so! Knowing how to remodel using reclaimed building materials can save as much as 40% to 60% of building costs!  This is great news to first-time condo owners who are renovating with champagne tastes and beer budgets.

Photo Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Photo Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

A recent article in The New York Times reported how one young couple saved over 80% on a complete kitchen from  Green Demolitions, a rebuilding center that specializes in reclaimed high-end kitchens and fixtures. This lucky couple ended up with appliances from Miele, Viking and GE, plus luxurious granite countertops and all the cabinets they needed at a truly bargain cost. They also found windows and tiles from other reclaimed materials sources.

But how do we pull off this budget saving trick, without ending up looking like we decorated from the local Goodwill?

5 Things To Know About Remodeling With Reclaimed Materials

  1. Buying Reclaimed Materials Can Take More Time – We’re used to being able to go down to big chain stores like Home Depot and buying endless amounts of whatever we need, whenever we need it. Using reclaimed materials can require a bit more patience, It might take some time to get everything you need from a reclaimed building center, but it is so worth it! When visiting a rebuilding center, make sure you have your measurements and your creativity!
  2. Not Just Wood – Rebuilding centers, such as the Habitat For Humanity ReStores which can be found across the country, are not only a source of raw building supplies like tile and lumber. They can also be an excellent source of hardware and fixtures, even ornate and luxurious chandeliers and gorgeous antiques!
  3. Use Caution – We haven’t always had the vigilant quality and safety standards we enjoy today. Rebuilding centers won’t have any asbestos, but old bathtubs and doors can contain lead paint, so beware!
  4. Make Sure It Fits – Any potential savings from using reclaimed building materials can go out the proverbial window if they require extensive reworking. Doors may have to be cut down or re-trimmed, costing precious labor hours. Recycled building materials make up for the trouble with a unique and distinctive look, however, that is so, so rewarding when it all works out!
  5. Good For The Environment – Not only does knowing how to remodel using reclaimed building materials cut down on cutting down rainforests, it also reduces pollution from extensive shipping, as well as the material ending up in landfills.

Where To Find Rebuilding Centers

Reclaimed building materials aren’t available everywhere, but rebuilding centers are becoming increasingly available and accessible.

To look for rebuilding centers in your area, check:

EcoBusinessLink’s List Of Recycled Building Material Suppliers
List Of Habitat For Humanity Restores
Planet Reuse
The Reuse People
Green Demolitions

Author My First Apartment

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J. Simpson is a prolific freelance writer, blogger, and musician, based out of Portland, Or. He is fascinated with every aspect of modern living, and how to make the best of it, frequently writing about business, technology, and spirituality, as well as every aspect of culture - music, art, literature, cinema, TV, and comics. For more from J., follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @for3stpunk.

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