Urban Natural Homes November 21, 2013

Reclaiming Building Materials & Architectural Pieces


Earlier I posted an article on local salvage companies (see “Architectural Salvage Companies”) but wanted to further explore the idea of reclaiming for home interiors as I think it’s such a great idea, both for the environment and for increasing your homes appeal and potential value.

The dictionary definition of “reclaim” is as follows:

  1. To bring into or return to a suitable condition for use.
  2. To procure usable substances from refuse or waste products

Why should you reclaim? Well, first because it’s good for the environment. According to the Second Use website, “Six trains, each more than a mile long, leave Seattle every week, bound for distant landfills. At least a quarter of this waste is a result of building construction and demolition.”  Reclaiming these materials reduces the volume of waste going into landfills and saves the energy required to manufacture new items. Secondly, it’s good for you. Reclaimed items generally cost a fraction of a comparable new item, so it can potentially save you a lot of money. And finally, you are rescuing a piece of our architectural heritage and these pieces can give your home a unique sense of charm that is hard to create with newly manufactured items.  As I noted in my previous article, items can include anything that can be taken from a house including doors, windows, flooring, trim, hardware, cabinets and plumbing fixtures as well as vintage decorative items such as lighting fixtures, stained glass, fireplace surrounds, tile, iron work, granite slabs, garden pieces and often some furniture pieces.