Everyone has heard the saying, Out with the old and In with the new! People even envision their house blueprint dream home already filled with bright, new, shiny products to keep up with the Jones' next door. But the increased interest in sustainable building practices and making best use of what is available has led more and more homeowners to give serious thought to using reclaimed materials. Whether it means bricks from a torn-down warehouse or lumber from an old barn, reclaimed materials can be obtained from a variety of places, none of which are dumping grounds. However, finding and installing reclaimed materials is not the same thing as making a trip to the local big box store and choosing exactly what you need in the quantity you want at that prejudice moment. Although there are many items on the market, the uncertainty of what and how much might be available can deter some homeowners. The perception that recycling is a difficult process keeps many people from considering reuse, but by careful planning you can take advantage.
Part of the trick is in the timing. By planning ahead for the things you want you can little-by-little compile the materials which you need for your home blueprints rather than be restricted to what is available at the moment. By knowing when a specific building deconstruction will happen in order to obtain materials from it can be a big help, not only in obtaining the materials but in saving on their storage. It is also possible to purchase recycled materials from brokers who specialize in them; despite this adds to the cost. Availability also depends on what is popular: old growth wood is easiest to get, and can be used for everything from flooring to siding. Old growth wood is much stronger and more durable than new growth wood; and in fact it is much more durable than the fresh wood sold in big box stores. Old wood also has shrunk and settled into its permanent form, which makes for fewer problems later on.
Beside sustainability, the lower cost of recycled materials is a main factor in using them in your house blue prints. The region and availability can cause fluctuations in the price of recycled materials, particularly since the number of housing starts and home renovations has declined in the present economy. Beside construction materials such as wood, brick, and stone, there are other items on the market which can be recycled. Salvaged doors and windows, light fixtures, countertops, and furniture can be incorporated into your house at a fraction of the cost of new. By adding recycled materials and items to your own home plans you not only help to keep perfectly usable material from going to the landfills, but also capture a sense of history. Reclaimed products and materials have great stories behind them and what could be more complete for a building constructed on the same tradition?