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Which items to salvage when remodeling an older home (Part 1)
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When remodeling involves demolition, you end up with a lot of trash and debris. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, “Home construction, remodeling, and demolition projects are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the nation’s annual municipal solid waste.” That’s a lot of bulk being added to our landfills each year. That’s why salvaging has become such an important and environmentally friendly pastime in the United States.

Pinterest in particular has helped bring this practice to the fore—there are a myriad of ideas for how to refurbish or recycle old furnishings, window panes, frames, and fence posts. You can do a lot of salvaging from debris left over from a remodel of an older home as well. Here are a few items to save when your renovation requires demolition.

Solid wood doors

Solid wood doors are hard to come by these days, which is why people are willing to buy them from salvage yards—or people with the forethought to save them after a big home remodel. If you’d like to save your old doors, be careful of lead paint, which may be present if the home was built early than 1980.

Jeremy Haines is a member of the non-profit organization Reclaim Detroit, which organization is hired to do partial and total demolitions of unwanted properties. When you save these doors, he asked, “Keep the hardware on the door, especially if the door has mortise locks.” Not only is this hardware rare and valuable, but it’s difficult to replace with modern mechanisms.

Brass, glass, and bronze

Watch for anything metallic in older homes. Like doors, these pieces of hardware are more solid and rare than things made today. Anything from switch plates to door stops to clothes hangers can be valuable. “For instance, glass door knobs today are just cheap molded glass,” Haines explained, “whereas back in the day they were actually cut glass.” If you see anything intricately carved or shiny in an older home, keep it.

Antique wood flooring

It may surprise you when you rip up old carpet to find hardwood flooring underneath. Wood floors are very much in style today, but they haven’t always been. If you’re lucky enough to find wood beneath your carpet, try not to damage it. Some types of flooring are very rare. Haines said, “In the East Coast, for instance, heart pine is unique, as all those old growth forests were cut down more than 100 years ago.”

However, if you find the wood beneath tile, you’ll want to find out whether the tile’s glue has asbestos in it. If it does, the cost of refurbishing the wood will likely be too great to make it worth your while.

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Tags: older home, salvage, remodeling, demolition, pinterest, renovation, wood doors, antique, hardwood floors
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