Want to trim your remodeling project eco-friendly and trim its budget at the same time? The answer may be using reclaimed or salvaged materials.
“If you go the salvage route, you’re reducing the amount of waste in the landfills, saving money, and you’re able to build something that’s different than what everyone else is building,” says Carrie Ferrence, the former director of business development at Second Use, a Seattle store that sells reclaimed business materials.
The environmental impact is huge. In 2018, the most recent year on record, the United States generated 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s more than double the amount of municipal solid waste generated. It’s also more than double than was produced just five years prior.
The impact on your budget can be sizable as well. Salvaged materials in the shape of doors or molding can sell for 50 percent to 75 percent less than buying them new. Reclaimed renovations have even gotten trendy in recent years, thanks to the popularity of television renovation shows like Fixer Upper and Salvage Dawgs.
While you won’t have to sacrifice style to make reclaimed materials a part of your renovation, it’s not going to be as easy as a quick buying trip to Home Depot.
You may have to put in some time…
You’re likely not going to find all the doors or tile you need to remodel your house on your first visit to the salvage store.
“Like any second-hand industry, come with your measurements, come with some creativity, and come with a truck,” says Leslie Kirkland, executive director of the Baltimore nonprofit reclaimed building supplies store The Loading Dock. “You might have to go back to find what you’re looking for.”
While interior and exterior doors are common finds at salvage stores, consumers can also buy light fixtures, sinks, cabinets, molding, tiles, and many other things needed for remodeling a home.
…but you’ll have plenty of options
There are salvage stores across the country, stocked with materials recovered from deconstructed homes, buildings and schools, and from homeowner donations. The nonprofit Habitat for Humanity runs salvage stores in many areas under the brand name ReStore, but you can also find a list of architectural salvage stores via the online directory from Old House Online. Many such stores are updated regularly. Perusing salvage stores isn’t the only way to find reusable materials.
Pawn shops and some thrift stores and flea markets may have usable items. Online marketplaces like Craigslist, Etsy, and eBay all offer reclaimed materials for sale. Some Facebook groups and the website Freecycle …….