Buy­ing Re­claimed Ma­te­ri­als

Us­ing re­claimed build­ing ma­te­ri­als is a great way to in­ject char­ac­ter and an in­di­vid­ual feel — but how do you know a good deal from a bad one? We round up the best ad­vice from recla­ma­tion ex­perts to get you started

Homebuilding & Renovating - - CONTENTS -

Buy­ing re­claimed build­ing ma­te­ri­als for your project is a great way to save money and op­ti­mise char­ac­ter. We take you through what to watch out for when get­ting ready to pur­chase

Sal­vage or recla­ma­tion yards can be trea­sure troves for self-builders and ren­o­va­tors — full of hid­den gems from con­demned or de­mol­ished old build­ings.

From roof slates to light­ing, tim­ber beams and old baths, there are a wealth of op­tions out there. How­ever, it can be easy to get car­ried away, se­duced by the ap­par­ent his­toric na­ture of an item, with­out fully in­ves­ti­gat­ing its qual­ity or suitabil­ity for your project. Cer­tain re­claimed build­ing ma­te­ri­als are well worth buy­ing, while oth­ers re­quire the buyer to ex­er­cise a lit­tle cau­tion.

Why Buy Re­claimed?

Some­times, us­ing re­claimed ma­te­ri­als can be part of a plan­ning con­di­tion — par­tic­u­larly in sen­si­tive ar­eas, or where you are re­quired to fit in with an ex­ist­ing build­ing or the lo­cal ver­nac­u­lar. How­ever, many peo­ple are sim­ply drawn to the au­then­tic char­ac­ter that re­claimed ma­te­ri­als bring to a project — es­pe­cially when ren­o­vat­ing or try­ing to repli­cate a house from a par­tic­u­lar era.

Re­claimed ma­te­ri­als are also a pop­u­lar choice with those keen to be as eco-friendly as pos­si­ble — us­ing re­claimed ma­te­ri­als is, ef­fec­tively, re­cy­cling. And, fi­nally, if the ma­te­ri­als are still in good con­di­tion, de­spite their age, it shows their qual­ity.

Recla­ma­tion yard, auc­tion or in­ter­net?

While recla­ma­tion yards were once the only place to head to source re­claimed ma­te­ri­als, there are now sev­eral other op­tions.

Auc­tions re­main pop­u­lar with those seek­ing au­then­tic goods, although some peo­ple are put off by the nail-bit­ing bid­ding process.

Then, of course, there is the in­ter­net. Auc­tion sites such as ebay have meant that re­claimed goods and an­tiques are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the com­fort of your arm­chair — pro­vid­ing you are will­ing to risk spend­ing money on some­thing you haven’t ac­tu­ally seen or touched, or happy to travel some dis­tance in or­der to view the item in per­son.

Vis­it­ing a recla­ma­tion yard means you can view the ma­te­ri­als your­self, ask plenty of ques­tions and even try to barter on price. You can also ex­pect to find pieces that have al­ready been re­stored or re­con­di­tioned, mean­ing less el­bow grease for you.

Some recla­ma­tion yards have a par­tic­u­lar spe­cial­ity, such as win­dows and doors, bricks and roof tiles or floor­ing, and the staff will usu­ally be knowl­edge­able about the stock, giv­ing peace of mind.

Un­like a shop sell­ing new prod­ucts, you may have to wait some time for a par­tic­u­lar item to come into stock, so reg­u­larly vis­it­ing or call­ing the

yard is a good idea — as is leav­ing your de­tails and what you are look­ing for so that the staff can no­tify you when some­thing suit­able comes into stock.

Which Re­claimed ma­te­Ri­als should you Buy?

Sal­vage and recla­ma­tion yards can be sources for all sorts of build­ing ma­te­ri­als, fix­tures and fit­tings — from pe­riod bricks and tiles, to doors and floor­boards. There will also be items that you might not have thought about buy­ing re­claimed, such as san­i­tary­ware and brass­ware.

You need to pay close at­ten­tion to qual­ity, value for money (the pop­u­lar­ity of re­claimed ma­te­ri­als has seen prices soar) and dura­bil­ity.

In the case of ma­te­ri­als that will form the fabric of your new home, such as bricks and roof tiles, you need to be aware that they will have al­ready used up some of their orig­i­nal life­span — they have taken a bat­ter­ing from the el­e­ments, so in­ves­ti­gate their in­tegrity to as­cer­tain how much life they still have in them.

Other items, such as san­i­tary­ware, light­ing and ra­di­a­tors, may re­quire al­ter­ations to en­sure they are com­pat­i­ble with mod­ern plumb­ing, elec­tric and heat­ing sys­tems — check that they will be fit for your pur­poses be­fore buy­ing.

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