Salvage Secrets: Designing and Building with Reclaimed Materials

31st July 2014 by ProDEM


Reclaimed building materials are becoming more and more commonly used across the country as they are salvaged from derelict properties that would have otherwise been deconstructed. During the deconstruction process, a surveyor determines what materials can be salvaged and what can’t prior to the work. This is certainly a labour-intensive and time-consuming task looking for visible signs of wear and tear in the old building’s materials, and contractors have been quite slow to adapt to this process due to the cost, effectiveness, and time.

When you take into account the savings you can make not having to dispose of the materials, you will surely consider the idea of deconstruction appealing. There are also significant environmental benefits in using recycled materials compared with new materials, such as there is a reduction of 90 per cent in carbon emissions for reused steel beams and 80 per cent for recycled timber.


Aside from the positive environmental impact that deconstruction has, there are greater benefits such as improving air quality from using less landfill, and not having to burn waste materials. You may even find antique or hand-crafted wooden items at salvage yards.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of reusing construction products is that their reuse involves no reprocessing. For example, to reuse a steel beam in its current form is far more environmentally friendly than melting the beam and rolling a new one. Reclaimed materials can, therefore, be effectively reused in building greener homes and industrial warehouses.

The type of materials suitable for salvaging include hardwood flooring, concrete, roof tiles, bricks, doors, hinges, railings, insulation, plasterboards, kitchen countertops, glass, carpets, metal, and baseboards just to name a few. You can benefit greatly by buying these materials at reduced prices in order to use them for your home remodelling project.

To determine how to use salvage materials, you must take into account their structures, shapes, ages, and current conditions. No two bricks, slates, or boards are ever the same, and there are no standard practices set in place for correct usage of reclaimed materials, which is why working with them is challenging. It takes a certain amount of planning, especially if you intend to use the material for structural purposes. Professional salvage specialists should be consulted for technical advice. Architects and expert builders will also be able to provide you guidance on building code specifications and how to save the salvage material for future use.


Reclaimed materials are invaluable for all types of renovation projects, but it is important to know what you should buy and what you should avoid, particularly if you are investing in large quantities of bricks or roof slates.

If you are currently searching for your nearest salvage yards, you should keep in mind that no two providers are the same, so it’s worth visiting more than two or three places on a regular basis in order to find what you are looking for. Generally, most reclaimed products are often labelled ‘recycled’ and their prices are as much as 50 per cent lower than new materials.

As one of the UK’s leading demolition contractors, here at ProDem we offer first class safe and efficient demolition services for highly competitive rates. During our demolition process, we ensure that everything in a suitable condition is reclaimed or recycled, and, in turn, we offer affordable building materials to all our customers throughout Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and the Midlands regions. For further information about any of our demolition services, don’t hesitate to give us a call or get in touch online today!