What to Look For When Shopping For Salvaged Materials

Learn what types of materials you can expect to find in reclamation yards and how to inspect the items before you buy.

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Reclamation yards may have a specialty, or be more general in their stock, but it is always sensible to expect the unexpected. Most of the larger reclamation companies now have websites, but you would be well advised to inspect the goods before purchase wherever possible. The following categories of materials frequently appear in reclamation yards.

Reclaimed Flooring is Popular Reclaimed Item

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

PSC: LOW-RES PROOF REQ? = NO

Example Items: Tiles, flagstones, floorboards

All these items are subject to a reasonable amount of waste, such as split or damaged boards and chipped tiles. Adjust your quantity calculation requirements accordingly to compensate for this.

Fireplaces and Related Items Reclamation Finds

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

R-DD075-19

Example Items: Mantelpieces, complete fireplaces, hearths

When buying a complete fireplace, make sure all items are present. For period fireplaces, check that tiles are original and that they fit the surround. Look out for cracks or chips in stone components.

Structural Materials Found in Reclamation Yards

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Example Items: Bricks, natural stone, beams, joists

Condition and grade of stone or bricks is important—are there enough and are they suitable for your needs? Wooden items must be checked for condition, such as rot or insect infestation.

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Photo By: Hemera Technologies

Hemera Technologies

Example Items: Wooden paneling, handrails, balusters, decorative drywall

Condition must be thoroughly checked. Be certain of your size requirements. Reclaimed drywall is often very delicate and prone to damage.

Bath Furniture and Fittings Reclaimed Favorites

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Example Items: Roll-top baths, basins, shower trays, faucets

These items may need lots of restoration, so think carefully before purchase. Faucets will almost certainly need new washers and a general overhaul to restore to good working order.

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Photo By: Stockbyte

Stockbyte

Close up of roof tiles

Example Items: Clay tiles, stone tiles, slates, chimney pots, ridge and hip tiles

Check coloring, especially if trying to match with existing roof — also check that clips have not broken off tiles. When buying a batch of roman tiles, ensure all profiles match — there are subtle variations.

Reclaimed Doors and Windows are Highly Prized

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Example Items: Internal doors, external doors, windows, door and window fittings

Check doors and windows are "square" — old doors are often warped. Stripped doors may also be loose at the joints. Check for rot. Make sure fittings already work or are repairable.

Reclaimed Plumbing Accessories for Restoring Baths

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

PSC: LOW-RES PROOF REQ? = NO

Example Items: Radiators, towel rails

Bear in mind that valves may require changing. There will often be size-compatibility issues with new fittings. Radiators will require thorough flushing out and possibly sand-blasting.

Cast Iron Guttering is Traditional and Hardwearing

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Example Items: Cast-iron guttering, downpipes, hoppers, outlets

Check general condition, as old cast-iron guttering cracks and rusts — both of which can put it beyond repair. Check for correct size of fittings and brackets for installation.

Garden Architecture Popular for Restoration Work

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Example Items: Capping and coping stones, ornamental stonework, paving slabs

Carry out general damage inspection, and check size variations. Different slab depths will make laying them much more difficult.

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