Building with Salvaged Materials

While the idea of using salvaged materials isn’t new – it’s been practiced on a global scale for centuries – the idea of implementing it as a “green” idea is a fairly new thought. Salvaged materials differ from recycled materials in that recycled are changed in form from one to another. They go through a process, often one that requires expending energy in the form of fossil fuels and usually a high volume of water. Salvaged material, on the other hand, does not change forms – the same piece is used, simply in another space or function. For example, school bleachers that have been torn out of a gymnasium can be given a new life as flooring in a home or broken pieces of concrete used for walkways or garden walls. Salvaged materials typically cost less than buying brand new, keep more material out of landfills and lower our carbon footprint because nothing new is being manufactured. In the Bay Area, salvaged materials can be found at Urban Ore and Omega Supply. Savvy shoppers and decorating hounds search out fireplace mantels, Victorian ceiling tile, glass doorknobs and claw foot tubs. Here are other uses of salvaged materials that can be incorporated into your life:

In this kitchen remodel on HGTV, these resourceful decorators used salvaged copper plumping pipe for curtain rods and a 1940s checkout counter for a kitchen island.

Terra cotta pipes and chimney flues for planters.

Wrought iron gates and abandoned bikes for trellises.

Windows pulled from home demolition to hang inside the house against a wall as wall decor or used as a room divider.

Doors and cabinets can be used again in home construction.

Crushed masonry from concrete and clay can be used for paths and roads.

If you are thinking big, I mean really big when it comes to living with salvaged items, think about homes built from shipping containers. Admittedly, I’m a little on the fence with this one, but some of the designs are beautiful and not at all the steel fortress I envisioned. After being used just a few times, shipping containers become second-hand and no one wants to purchase them. They end up taking up land space; thus was born the idea of using shipping containers for living. Standard dimensions on containers run from 40 feet long and eight feet wide to 20 feet long and eight feet wide. The Shipping Container Housing site is dedicated to those looking for a construction challenge with shipping containers. According to the Coming Unmoored site, the average price of a used shipping container runs from $1,500 to $3,000. This futuristic and somewhat minimal style is not for everyone but after running a Google image search for Container Homes, I was amazed and inspired by the cutting edge, pushing the envelope direction modern architects have taken. These homes are colorful, bright, open and welcoming – not at all the gray, industrial and sterile images I had in mind.

If you have a remodel coming up or are simply looking at ways to freshen up your landscape but want to do it on a budget and keep waste to a minimum, using salvaged materials is planet-friendly alternative whose time has come. Moreover, if you make a mess out of your deck that you can even get in touch with some construction recruitment agency that will help you with the cleanup and reconstruction of your deck at affordable prices. With their experience and professional they will help in sorting out all the problems that you have.

Kris is our in-house writer with a lot of experience under her belt. She loves to provide her insight about the market trends and her predictions about market trends are often on point.