While rebuilding the house it was important to me that we reuse as many materials as possible from the first framing attempt. Unfortunately, the vast majority of studs and sheathing could not be salvaged because it was damaged from the demolition, too full of nails, or clearly uneconomical to reprocess. But we were able to reuse lots of bigger framing components to make door and window headers, and we sanded and reused all of the glulam roof beams. I am working to find other uses for wood that couldn’t be reused in the rebuild.
Salvaging, recycling, and reusing building materials is a hot topic in the building world. Some researchers have coined the term “domicology” to describe the study of building life cycles and the way that materials can be repurposed. It is possible to reuse some materials as they were originally intended, while others can be reprocessed for other purposes. Though the economics are super variable, reusing and recycling materials can save money and keep perfectly good building materials out of a landfill.
When I started my building project, I had more of an attitude that a “new” house should be built entirely out of new things. But the fact is that using repurposed items can be even better than using new. For example, recycling glulam and LVL beams to make window and door headers resulted in stronger assemblies than what we likely would have built if we were starting with new materials.
Posted May 30, 2021.
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