Smart and Attractive Ways To Use Reclaimed Building Materials

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Reclaimed building materials – also referred to as recycled, vintage, antique, historic or just “used” – are simply those saved from a trip to the landfill by an architect or interior designer who sees their potential to be re-purposed for another application.

At The Coves Mountain River Club and gated communities near Asheville NC, it’s common to see reclaimed wood, tile and other items seamlessly incorporated into the design of new mountain homes.  The most obvious advantage is that they create a visual blend with the natural splendor of the surrounding property.  But there are more practical considerations as well.

Old lumber easily finds its way into cabinetry, furniture and architectural details.  But it’s particularly popular for use as siding, timbers and floorboards because it doesn’t require much maintenance.  The wood has already settled and shrunk into a permanent form and developed a tightness of grain that makes it considerably more durable.  Most comes from old barns, factories and warehouses, but other sources can be as diverse as coal mines, wine barrels and even boxcars.  And old fencing is valued for consistency, structural soundness and its low moisture content that minimizes the need for treatment.

From a cosmetic standpoint, it’s worth noting that reclaimed beams can be sawn into wider planks than newer lumber.  And, because the old wood has already expanded and contracted over many years in response to changes in humidity, it is likely to be more stable and can be used with radiant heating systems.  Some attribute the greater strength of reclaimed wood to the absence of air pollution prior to the 20th century and the fact that it was harvested from virgin growth timber that was hundreds of years old.

As you’re building a mountain home, you might consider the use of reclaimed slate, clay or concrete tiles for your roof.  There are several good reasons for doing so.  They’re fireproof, extremely long-lasting and environmentally-friendly.  Even with older material, the quality is likely to be very good.  They enhance the beauty of a property, adding character and style.  Little maintenance is required for a tile roof.  And they’re usually cost-effective compared to the alternatives.

When you use reclaimed building materials, you’ll be adding instant value and unique charm to your mountain home.  And, by choosing vintage instead of new, you’ll be helping to conserve our natural resources.

So where do you find these gems from years gone by?

The simplest approach is to find a company that sells them.  But if you’d rather do the work yourself, there are a number of options to investigate.  With some research, you should be able to find older buildings that are being demolished.  Salvage sites may have exactly what you’re looking for and at a very reasonable price.  Farm auctions are another good place to look.  And check the local ads or place your own, specifying what items you’re seeking.

But beware of imitations.  With the popularity of reclaimed material, it’s becoming more common for some sellers to try to pass newer wood off as antique.

It’s also important that the source of your reclaimed wood be able to verify what it might have been treated with over its lifetime.  You want to avoid possible harmful off-gassing of volatile organic compounds associated with lead paint, stains and other treatments – especially when the wood will be used inside the house.

Gated communities near Asheville NC such as The Coves Mountain River Club make every attempt to be respectful of the magnificent place in which we’ve chosen to live, and we encourage anyone building a mountain home to consider using reclaimed materials wherever possible.    

Whether it’s chimney bricks for a fireplace, a mantle made of an old post, or antique doors, hardware and fixtures…talk to our home design team and let us help bring your ideas to life. 

Stop by and take a tour, and we’ll show you how other homeowners have made good use of reclaimed building materials.  And, you’ll soon see why so many people have chosen to retire here. 

Our five miles of frontage on the Johns River, the splendor of the mountains and their foliage, the mild year-round weather, and the wealth of opportunity for outdoor activities make our mountain community a very special place in which to build a home!

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