As more and more people put an emphasis on green building and green design for the home, it makes sense for homeowners to begin searching out ways they can improve their home’s sustainability. Because there are few truly green products that also have the look and character to match every home out there, a lot of people turn toward reclaimed materials for their homes. This makes sense from a sustainable angle; reclaimed products have been in use for decades already, and reusing them has the smallest impact on the environment. But before you go out and purchase some reclaimed pavers or barn wood for your home, make sure you truly understand what you’re getting.
The first thing you need to consider when purchasing reclaimed materials is their source. A lot of reclaimed stones and pavers come from old French farmhouses. This means that very heavy stone needs to be transported overseas to your home, greatly enlarging its carbon footprint on the way. If you can find local reclaimed materials, this is by far the most environmentally friendly way to go. Otherwise, keep in mind that transport can reduce the greenness of the products.
Oftentimes, when you’re purchasing reclaimed material, you are purchasing it unseen. Yes, you may get the chance to look at some samples, but those samples are likely not from the lot you are ordering from. Terracotta tiles, natural stone pavers, and aged barn wood can all vary tremendously from lot to lot, and even within one lot.
A lot of homeowners see a picture or a sample of one lot, assume that this is what they will receive, and order. When the material they get doesn’t look the same in color, shape, or size, they get frustrated and send the material back. Now you’ve just transported the material twice, reducing its sustainability factor even more.
Every time you purchase reclaimed material, ask for photographs of a recent lot. Ask for 10 square feet to be laid out and photographed so you can get a better idea of what the final results will look like. Keep in mind that your final product may vary even more from that photo, but at least you have a general idea of what to expect.
Not every installer or Pro out there has worked with reclaimed materials before. Oftentimes reclaimed wood or stone requires some special care, which can make it more challenging to install. An installer who has never handled it before may not install it properly, which in turn means you will need to order even more to get the job done.
When installing reclaimed material, your Pro will need to do a dry layout, mixing and blending the material from several boxes at a time to get the most pleasing effect. He may have to deal with odd cuts, broken pieces, or boards that have nail holes in them. These are all things that can be worked around, but before you hand reclaimed material to any installer, make sure that they’ve worked with it in the past to get it done right the first time and reduce your environmental impact of the project as a whole.
Reclaimed materials have a look and feel that’s like nothing else. These products have history and a character that they will bring to your home that’s filled with depth and interest. They are also one of the more truly environmentally friendly products out there, provided they are responsibly sourced.
Keep an open mind and do your research when dealing with these materials; you may need to accept that they won’t look exactly as you pictured, but that they will be unique.
When you’re ready to begin, be sure to sign up with BEYREP to get matched to a Pro who has the experience and expertise you need to get this job done right. Sign up today and create a greener home with BEYREP.