Salvage Materials: A few Thoughts on Creatively Sourcing Needed Items
The retail cost of materials for building projects can really put a roadblock in planning a homestead.
Lumber in particular can put many projects on hold. With a little bit of patience, and a fair amount of effort, salvaging lumber can be an option.
The opportunities and options for using pallets are well known. We’ve been collecting pallets for several months. Several projects are planned with the use of pallets.
Most of the rabbitry and chicken coop will be constructed from pallets, as will most of the skirting on the house. Raised beds for the garden will have half-pallet high sides to lower the need for bending over. The compost pile containment is already constructed of pallets, and the firewood storage will be made of pallets also. The uses of this free resource are nearly unlimited.
The term “free” is used with a few caveats. The trade-off of time for money is rather direct since gathering pallets does take time, effort, and gasoline. Large pallets can easily weigh over 70 pounds apiece. While some projects do not require the disassembly of the pallets, the aesthetics may not be acceptable. Where the disassembly of the pallets is necessary, more preparation work is needed.
Some pallets are made from treated lumber, and the uses for these are more limited. In particular, treated lumber pallets should not be used in living spaces, or in contact with soil used for growing food crops. Disposing of the scraps of treated pallets in the wood stove is particularly hazardous.
This past week brought a blessing in the form of several pick-up loads of lumber from a repair shop that was raising their roof to install vehicle lifts. Liability issues may make this more problematic in some areas, but a case of liquid refreshment(s) may lubricate more creative thinking. Workmen may be willing to load a pick-up and trailer instead of filling a dumpster, for example.
The lumber from this haul appears to be full-dimension red oak lumber. Possibly over 70 years old, it would be a crying shame for this to end up in the landfill. First thoughts suggest that this may become the framing for some of the planned additions. A good deal of preparation work will be needed to remove nails and bolts.
We’ve also been gifted with a rather sizable pile of vinyl siding. There are a few uses under discussion, but it probably will not be on the exterior of any of the projects here on the homestead. Since it will not rot, it may be used as a liner for raised beds, or on the interior of the rabbitry.
A neighbor did not need this set of porch steps once he upgraded his porch construction. These are well built and will be the steps off the back porch. It took a fair bit of main muscle power to load these onto and off the pick-up truck.
Cull wood is sometimes available from the home improvement stores near us. This can be a very inexpensive source of broken bundles of flooring, trim paneling, floor tiles, even some dimension lumber.
We have quite a bit of cedar closet liner from one of these cull wood hauls. This is quite attractive, and the thought for using this is to combine it with pallet wood pieces to cover the side of the kitchen counter, a backsplash, and possibly a wood patchwork feature wall.
Odds and ends of screening, extra light fixtures, flooring, barn metal, plastic roofing, and much more have also been collected.
Storage of all of these resources can be a bit of a headache, and with the recent additions, more re-arranging and preparation will need to be done.
Still, having these resources will save a great deal of money, and creates opportunities for more creative living.