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Remodel for less with reclaimed materials

Distinctive design, but does it fit?
Distinctive design, but does it fit? | StevenErrico/Getty Images

Distinctive design, but does it fit?

Sometimes using reclaimed materials ends up costing you more, especially if it's more labor intensive to get the materials to fit into the existing home. Take doors, for example. In one case, the homeowner bought salvaged doors, but the labor associated with the installation canceled out the savings, says Paul "Paolo" Scardina, an LEED-accredited designer with Sustainable Sedona, a residential architectural and interior design firm in Sedona, Arizona.

"The doors were a good bargain, but when the contractor installed them he had to trim them and retrofit each door," says Scardina, who was running a Portland, Oregon, design company when he worked on the project. "So, the cost of labor to install the doors increased the construction side (of the budget)."

If the parts fit and the reclaimed materials blend in, homeowners will often be rewarded with a distinctive remodeling design as well as cost savings. "When you're working with salvaged materials, you get really interesting designs," says Scardina. "Whether (the cost saving) washes out depends on a case-by-case basis."

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