The term ‘reclaimed building materials’ refers to wood, bricks, tiles/terracotta, iron and various other reusable materials from older constructions. Contrary to what people believe, reclaimed materials are often a better choice than their brand-new counterparts. To know why that’s true and how you can use that knowledge to your advantage, read on.
Reclaimed Wood Reduces the Need to Cut Down Trees
Cutting down a big, healthy tree is never desirable, even if it is grown inside a wood farm. Nevertheless, that is a more sustainable method than to cut down ancient trees and cause deforestation for sure. However, it would be practically impossible for the lumber industry to meet the incessant need for wood if they were to rely on wood farms alone.
For example, an English oak tree takes roughly 10 years to grow to its standard (not maximum) height, and unless lumberjacks were cutting down natural trees as well, they would have to wait for years before an oak farm could resupply them. One may argue that there are plenty of manmade wood farms, but compared to the global demand, they cannot possibly grow trees faster to meet all of it. If they had to do that, then they would first have to grow an artificial forest by replacing natural land, and then deforest it again!
Reclaimed wood, on the other hand, presents a partial but viable solution. Although they cannot exactly fill the entire gaps between supply and demand, together with wood farms, reclaimed wood can indeed help reduce the need to cut down natural trees to a great extent.
Reclaimed Hardwood Can Practically be a Better Option
This is not always the case of course, and if you are not careful while buying reclaimed wood, you could end up with termite-ridden or water damaged wood instead! However, as long as you are buying from an authentic seller of reclaimed materials, that should not be a problem. Nevertheless, always check for damage by taking someone with you who works closely with wood, just in case you don’t possess the necessary knowledge.
Now that we have gotten that part out of the way, let us take a brief look at a few things that make reclaimed wood a better choice than freshly cut wood.
- Due to the fact that the wood is from trees which were decades or even centuries old, it’s more durable and has a better grain
- Due to economic and environmental shortcomings, it is just not possible for new generation wood to be of as good quality as the older generations of wood
- The price is comparatively more cost-efficient, especially considering the fact that grainy, hard and matured wood like that can no longer be legally obtained
Reclaimed Iron Gates Cost Less and Look Better
Now, it is true that iron does not age well unlike certain varieties of wood, but old house owners who did what was necessary for keeping iron gates clean and free of rust, can have lucrative bargains for you. Antique iron gates in good condition might be made up of thicker iron of better quality as compared to the average, modern day wrought iron gates. They will of course cost more, but once again, it’s a bargain because of the quality that you are getting for your money.
Do understand that whether you buy reclaimed or new gates, keeping the iron clean is a must. Take a look at this post about How To Clean Wrought Iron Gates on Cawarden to know exactly how to go about it without damaging your antique gates. Cawarden has an astoundingly massive reclamation yard of their own for contractors and homeowners to explore. Within those 10 acres, there is pretty much every type and kind of reclaimed building materials (bricks, tiles, stone, wood, etc.) that one can possibly need to build a new house, or to just remodel a portion of it.
As you can imagine, if anyone knows about keeping ancient iron gates clean and rust-free, it would most certainly be them. Besides, if your iron gates are in good condition by the time you are ready to move or rebuild/redecorate your house, you can resell the iron gates and railings for a good price.
Using Reclaimed Materials Reduces Pollution
Aside from saving trees, which we previously discussed, reusage of any reclaimed material contributes towards lowering the massive carbon footprint which the construction industry is continuously leaving behind every single day. The very fact that at least some of the wood, iron, bricks, tiles and stones are being reused presents two massive ecological advantages:
- A good portion of the old materials get recycled/reused, rather than ending up at landfill
- Every time any reclaimed material is used, it contributes towards lowering the pollution and energy consumption inside manufacturing facilities
The environmental aspect, combined with the aesthetic value of reclaimed materials, makes for a compelling reason to consider reclaimed materials.
An Element of Risk is Involved
The danger of choosing recycled materials comes from the fact that at times, they are not supplied by genuine, reputed names in the industry. If the source is unverifiable, you could be buying stolen décor or building materials unwittingly. Additionally, without the verifications, checks and adequate refurbishments made by experienced reclamation yard owners, there is no guarantee how good the materials will actually be, or if it’s even safe to use them. From insect infestations to toxins that were commonly found in old houses a few decades ago, there are some risks to be considered as well.
The risk is just not worth it for both possible legal ramifications, destruction of property (termites!) and future health hazards that buying stolen goods or subpar, uncleaned materials can lead to. Buying reclaimed materials is in many ways the same as buying new construction materials and décor elements; you should always go with a supplier who has made a name for themselves in the segment, irrespective of whether the products are old or new.