Friday, April 4, 2008

Used Building Supplies?

A few weeks ago I created a poll on my sidebar collecting data about people's use of used and salvaged building materials.

Here are the results:

How Much of Your House Remodel or Decoration is from Used or Salvaged Materials?
0% - All... I wouldn't set a foot inside a big box store.
12% - Most... I still buy things like nails, etc. new.
50% - Some... I buy used when it's cheaper and easier.
37% - Some... it's hard for me to find salvaged or used materials in my area, so I buy used when I can.
0% - None... why would I put other people's junk in my house?

I was glad to notice that no one chose the last option; of course, it could have been my heavily weighted wording. Personal opinion, of course, but buying used or salvaged material is a great way to save money and keep something out of the landfill.

I was surprised to see that no one chose the first option; we have a family friend who built his entire house out of used materials. He used mahogany shipping crates for much of it, and pulled, straightened, and reused both nails and lumber. Of course, he does not have the internet, and so wouldn't be voting on any poll...

A full 37% of you indicated that it is hard for you to find used and salvaged goods; it makes me feel very lucky to live where I do. There are lots of options around here for finding used building supplies.

Since you all indicated that you use used materials, the next question is WHY?


dynochick (Jan) said...

The vast majority of the material we use is used. For structural parts i.e. framing etc. we have found that when working on older homes the framing is true 2x4 and if you go to the lumber yard, today's lumber is not true dimenisional 2x4. Another reason is the wood is already cured. It's not going to shrink, cup, or warp after being installed. We're cheap. We're trying to keep things out of the landfills. But most importantly the materials we use are mostly from this house to begin so there isn't any running to the store. Whenever we demo we try to save good wood. So far we have bought very little wood. We'll need to buy some to add on to the deck, but what we removed from our deck will be used at my son's house on his deck.

So in a nutshell. We're cheap, lazy, but enviromentally concerned. But mostly cheap and lazy.

Paul said...

The closest building material recycling place for me is 90 miles away. The problem I have is I never know what is going to be there when I arrive.

I have reused building materials for projects, including a good deal of pressure treated 2x8 lumber that went into the deck. This was given to me be a friend who took a deck off of his house.

Sometimes good deals can be found locally. I know someone who took out all of the old oak hard wood flooring from an old Victorian before it was bulldozed. They let him have it for free.

Why S? said...

I would love to use more recycled material but the process seems such a matter of luck, unless you're willing to be really flexible and use what you find. But we will be building a fireplace mantel from redwood that came out of our house frame and we plan to look for more salvaged doors.

PlantingOaks said...

Our biggest reason is 'because they don't make things like the used to'

Want those hinges/doors/floorboards/trim to match? Well, better find an old one. I didn't vote in the poll, but used is hard to find here as well, and what there is is more likely to be 1970's era poorly made things than items that would actually fit our house. So pretty much all the re-use going on is just moving things from one part of our house to the other. I do think I can find old door hardware when the time comes for that though, and our fireman neighbor said they might be able to get us access to the houses they burn for practice (before the burning ofc) which might have good stuff.

I laugh at the idea of reusing our nails. They're the old handmade square kind, and generally snap just pulling them out, not to mention trying to drive them back in. I do think I might frame a couple though.

Also, we've found that a new skinny 2x4 plus a piece of plaster lathe is about the same size as an old fat 2x4. Not good for anything too structural, but in many cases good enough.

Wendy said...

OK Jennifer, where is that you shop to find all your fantastic stuff? I've hit one of the Habitat for Humanity resale stores a couple of times. But other than that, I'm not sure where else to try (other than CraigsList and FreeCycle of course).

Also, how often do you go? I worry that once I find a good place, I'd be going twice a week.