Originally posted by The Washington Post
The name of the game in the construction industry is cost-efficiency. To a builder, whether corporate or individual, resources include time, physical materials, and money. More and more builders and do-it-yourself enthusiasts are turning away from top dollar, brand new materials and are instead investing in warehouse salvage. Salvaged materials are cheaper than new materials, often carry a rustic ambience with them, and help cut back on factors of environmental detriment like deforestation and land pollution.
In June 2013, the Washington Post featured an article that followed Rachel and Derek Liu, a couple from Washington, on their adventure to a local salvage yard. Rachel and Derek frequent the local salvage yard where they pick up random pieces to refurbish and place in their home. During their documented excursion, the couple picked up several wood framed windows and a wooden mantlepiece. They sanded and refinished the mantlepiece and put it atop their fire place.
The article states that Rachel and Derek also used the salvage yard to add unique accents to their home. Closer inspection revealed that many of the renovations and accents found in the Liu’s house were salvaged and repurposed pieces. The most significant of these pieces was a stylish one-room pavillion, which the two built from reclaimed pieces over the years.
The Lius claimed that buying materials from a local salvage yard ensured good quality at a minimal price. They aren’t the only ones catching the trend. Many builders and do-it-yourselfers are looking to salvage yards for cost-efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to factory materials.
The materials found in salvage yards, warehouses and stores are taken from deconstructed buildings, an eco-friendly alternative to demolition. This process allows pieces to be recycled and upcycled for a fraction of the cost. Everything from building wood, roofing, appliances, cabinetry, doors, and windows can be removed from a house in perfectly functional condition.
As the article suggests, taking advantage of salvage yards, storehouses and warehouses is not only cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, it’s also creatively engaging. Buying a door for your home that is smooth, painted, and adorned with silver accents may be undeniably beautiful, but where’s the creativity? Where’s the customization and personal accent to your home?
Factory direct materials have no history and no story. A door from a salvage warehouse can be repainted, refinished, or left as is. A salvaged door can be glassed and repurposed as a dinner table, bench, or outdoor swing. Old windows can be turned into a four pane picture frame or multiple space chalkboard. The possible uses for salvaged materials are endless and the web is full of bogs much like this one that contain an infinite number of ideas for crafts and uses.