Q:

Why use reusable building materials?

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Quick Answer

Reusable building materials are advantageous because they decrease the overall cost of construction. Additionally, reusable materials can add durability, low-maintenance qualities and a sense of history to a project.

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Full Answer

Reusable building materials are often less expensive than buying single-use products. This reduces the financial investment needed to complete the project. Reusable building materials are not ideal for every project, but when appropriate, materials can be found from demolition sites, old factories and reusable building material clearinghouses such as the Loading Dock and Beyond Waste.

Reused materials are often exceptionally strong. For example, reclaimed timber is often much stronger than recently cut wood. Since older wood has had an opportunity to settle and shrink, natural shifts in size are less likely to occur.

Reusable materials are often selected in a new construction project because of the already worn appearance. This distressed look requires less overall maintenance from the owner. Over time, this look becomes more intense. Since this is desirable, maintenance is not oriented toward keeping the item in pristine shape.

Finally, reusable materials add a sense of nostalgia and history to the project. By incorporating pieces which come from older buildings, the new project instantly connects to the events of the past.

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