Salvaging Ideas for Homeowners from an Industrial Demolition Contractor

New roofing and windowsDismantling, or taking apart a building by hand so almost everything may be reused, is the latest environmental innovation among demolition contractors. Portland, Oregon being a fairly “eco-aware” place, homeowners here who are tearing down their homes may be interested to learn what can be dismantled. As a leading West Coast commercial and industrial demolition contractor, we’d like to offer tips on how to salvage and reuse as much as possible when tearing down a home.

Home Salvaging Ideas from Demolition Contractors

Homeowners can help the earth by salvaging construction materials. Considering that nearly 40 percent of this country’s landfills are composed of construction and demolition (C&D) debris, salvaging as much as possible is a great way to help the environment. The following are a few things industrial demolition contractors would ask you to keep in mind if you’re tearing down a home and hoping to salvage construction materials.

1. Safety first: Avoid toxic building substances. Demolition contractors receive special education in how to handle and dispose of hazardous materials. If you attempt to disassemble a portion of your home for reuse and recycling, you should know that toxins including lead, asbestos and formaldehyde often linger in older buildings. (Lead is found in homes built before 1978; asbestos is in everything from ceilings to insulation; formaldehyde is in treated lumber.) If you are unsure of the building materials you’re handling, call an expert.

2. Know what can be salvaged. In truth, almost everything in a home can be salvaged, aside from hazardous materials. Pipes, wood flooring, mirrors, wood beams, doors, windows and even concrete can be reused. (Concrete can be crushed into gravel, ideal fill for construction projects.) Countertops, mantels and light fixtures are also salvageable.

3. Know where to take your salvaged materials. Here in Portland, demolition contractors can choose from several public-facing salvaging establishments. The RE Store in Washington, Our United Village’s Rebuilding Center and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore are great places to take your salvaged construction materials. Recycling your construction debris will not only help the planet – it can also save you money on disposal fees.

4. Reuse old materials in your new project. An old door can become a new headboard. A tiny craftsman window can have new life as a picture frame. As your home is dismantled, look for ways to repurpose old materials in your new home.

5. Consider recycling your whole house. Yes, this is possible, but it will take some legwork. You’ll need to find someone who wants to buy your house at a deeply discounted price, and then have it moved to the buyer’s plot of land. City planning officials and historic building planning advocates are good resources for where to start on recycling your whole house.

As commercial and industrial contractors progress in green demolition techniques, it only makes sense that residential demolition should also grow greener. By salvaging as much as you can from your home, you will be joining the fight to decrease the size of our landfills. Plus, you’ll help decrease the demand for virgin materials. It’s a win-win situation if ever there was one.

[Photo by: Brock Builders via CC License]

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