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How can I find salvaged and reclaimed materials for my remodeling project?
Shop at second-hand retailers and salvage yards, and shop often. Like a thrift shop or a discount clothing store, salvage stores get new stuff in all the time, and it’s likely to be completely different from the items you saw there last time. To get the best deals, visit your favorite spots regularly.
Ask for what you want. Describe what you’re looking for to salvagers and shopkeepers, who can keep an eye out for similar pieces when they’re collecting inventory for their stores.
Start your search online, but buy in person. Like any building material, a photo of a salvaged item might differ slightly from the physical piece in quality, texture or color. And unless you find a one-of-a-kind heirloom piece that you can’t get anywhere else, avoid buying from out-of-town vendors. There’s no sense paying to have a second-hand toilet shipped to you when you can pick one up from a salvage yard a few miles from home.
Scour classifieds and auctions, in newspapers, in person and on Web sites like craigslist. And don’t settle only for what others have posted; post your own ad so readers will know what you’d like to buy.
Talk to your neighbors. If you see someone who just installed granite countertops hauling a butcher block slab to the curb on trash day, take it off his hands. You can sand it down and use it in your own kitchen, bathroom or home office.
Look around your own house. When you redecorate or remodel, consider whether you can relocate some of your would-be discards to other areas of the house. Your neighbor, for instance, might have been able to repurpose that butcher block countertop as a laundry room folding station in his own home.
Visit construction sites. When someone nearby is tearing down a house, adding a room, building a new home or doing a major remodel, let the owner and the contractor know what you’re in the market for.
Get permission if you want to do the salvaging yourself. Abandoned buildings often are picked clean by locals who strip everything from door hinges to copper plumbing pipes, but that’s not legal. If you want to remove something from a property that isn’t yours, get permission from the owner first, and make sure the place is safe to walk around in.
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