Look No Farther than the Salvage Yard for Your Remodel

Mary Butler

Long before it was cool to be "green," architectural salvagers saw a hot market for reusing and recycling classic light fixtures, door knobs, flooring, and other beautifully crafted items saved from the scrap heap.

One of the best things about remodeling an old house is treasure hunting. Architectural salvage yards, antique stores, garage sales, online auction houses, and even your local dump are wonderful resources for finding period-appropriate materials for your remodel.

Five Tips for Finding Used Building Materials
You shouldn't have a problem finding used building materials--from kitchen sinks to door knobs--for every project in your house. The challenge is unearthing exactly what you want. But if you can keep an open mind, and are willing to think creatively, your efforts could be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

  1. Begin with a simple list of materials. Look under "building materials" in your local Yellow Pages or go online to begin your search. The nonprofit Reuse Development Organization lists reuse centers by state on its website.
  2. Many reuse yards have websites featuring what's currently available for sale. These sites are especially helpful once you've already visited the sales yard. They allow you to frequently check back and quickly determine whether what you're seeking has become available, and if so, what condition it's in.
  3. Make it a habit to regularly checking online and newspaper classified ads for used building materials. People are frequently moving or remodeling themselves. Don't forget to scan the garage sale ads. You can often find great deals.  
  4. Likewise, don't be shy about swinging by your local salvage yard, Habitat for Humanity reuse store, or landfill. It only takes a few minutes to walk through and see what's new. Even if you don't find what you're looking for, you may stumble upon a treasure or two that could add character and personal style to your remodel.
  5. Get to know the folks who work in reuse yards, as well as fellow old house remodelers in your area. Hunting for used building materials is a popular hobby among home improvement enthusiasts. Why not use each other as resources, make friends, and have fun while you're pursuing your dreams? 

While it may be faster and easier to drive to your local building supply big box store and buy new doors, flooring, sinks, and fixtures, it's not nearly as satisfying--or ecological--as scavenging for what you need.

Reuse Development Organization

About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.


About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado based writer and editor, who spends much of her free time remodeling an old house.

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