The Excitement of Reclaimed Materials: Wood and Brick

| by Tamarah Long
The Excitement of Reclaimed Materials: Wood and Brick

“We found some cool pickets at Resource 2000. The raw materials could have ended up in a landfill, but instead we ended up building a wonderful fence with a weathered look. It looked like the fence had been there forever.” The sense of accomplishment was evident when I spoke with Kurt of Boulder, CO. There are countless ways that homeowners can re-use building materials that might otherwise end up in the trash. Two items that are often re-used are brick and wood.

The easiest re-use of any type of brick in a homeowner's remodel is for landscape elements in the garden. There are common historical pavers that have wonderful textures and variety. One of my favorites is Old Tuscany Pavers; although these may be hard to find in your local area. You can find the color and texture you like at your local salvage yard, an older home that is being torn down in your town, or you may simply find inspiration from sites like historicalbricks.com. (http://www.historicalbricks.com/brick-pavers.html)

Old lumber can be re-used for such things as antique flooring, furniture, and siding. The character of the old wood comes through in any new usage. “Most of these timbers are recovered from former textile mills, warehouses and factories on the east coast, and other old buildings throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.” (http://www.oldetimberstone.com/about/

Many remodel projects can produce a tremendous amount of trash.  Although wood and brick are not as harmful in landfills as other building elements, anytime somebody recycles such materials they are consciously helping to reduce waste. Moreover, when reclaimed materials are locally sourced, the choice results in the reduction of harmful transport-related carbon emissions.

Helpful websites for this topic:

http://sustainability.stackexchange.com/questions/197/what-reuses-are-there-for-surplus-building-materials?rq=1

http://www.build.recycle.net/

http://www.planetreuse.com/reclaimed-material/listings

http://www.epa.gov/region1/greenbuildings/residential/pdfs/guide08.pdf 


Topics: Building Green, Exteriors, Lumber and Structured Panels


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