Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Thrifty Tip: Reusing Building Supplies

We (actually I should say a good friend) are in the midst of preparing and laying a brick patio next week and I don't know who is more excited me or me. (Did I mention I'm excited?) I've been dreaming and planning my brick patio for almost three years, carefully stacking bricks off to the side in preparation of this big reveal.

So in honor of my excitement I wanted to talk about reusing building supplies for my Thursday Thrifty Tip. As we all know, taking a trip to the local hardware store or Home Depot can be a costly trip when you are dealing with building/construction supplies. So...when I found a listing off Craiglist (a free Internet site) for free antique brick from a demolished chimney over three years ago I jumped into the car to grab over a hundred bricks.

The bricks did need mortar knocked off, but the price was FREE so I wasn't complaining. However, in order to make a big impact I needed more bricks for my patio. This was a big project so I was prepared to wait for the right, FREE resources. The next year we torn down our own chimney and instead of dumping the bricks I carefully, stacked, sorted, cleaned, and chipped mortar off each brick for my patio...with an additional 300 bricks, I was ready to begin my yard transformation for the cost of only my time and labor.

In addition, to purchasing supplies disposing of used building supplies can be just as costly. Not only is there a cost involved when you go to the dump, you are adding to the waste we throw on our Earth daily. So when disposing of used building supplies you need to ask yourself, could someone use this...could it find new purpose?

For example, last year when we tore down our deck we reused every thing we could but still had a pile of used wood boards, a bucket of used nailed (unusable), and four cement piers. Instead of dragging it to the dump we listed it on a free Internet service called Craigslist. And...within 24 hours most of the wood and cement piers were gone. We are very fortunate to have this service in a larger metro area, but if you don't have this service available try a company newsletters, local newspaper, or word of mouth to let folks know you have some usable materials to be given away for FREE. The remaining bucket of nails/hinges were given to a local metal recycler who gladly recycled the items, but didn't pay for these items. Honestly, we didn't care as it saved the nails from being dumped on our local landfills without the costly dump fee.

In the Seattle area, another unique place to find repurposed construction supplies is to visit the ReStore in the Ballard and Bellingham area. These stores offer a great supply of items from unique lights, doors, windows, door knobs to landscaping bricks taken from buildings slated for demolition or remodels. The store operates as a non-profit with it's sole purpose to save these items from the landfills and find new purpose in people's home. I recently made a trip to the ReStore this week in the search of 75 more solid red bricks to complete the brick patio. (Go figure after all those years of saving I was still short some bricks.) I was thrilled to find a great supply of antique red brick for a mere $.25/brick. Unbelievable! Several volunteers helped count and help load them into the that is service!

So in the next few weeks I'll be posting some pictures of my repurposed brick patio. Being thrifty is fun, but sometimes there is a wait involved for the final project to reveal itself. For me the wait, makes the the end result so much sweeter! For other great thrifty tips be sure to check out the following blogs: Tracy, Genny, Anisa and Crystal.

From inside the little blue bungalow,
Katie Jean

Writer's Note: Please note that not all construction material can be reused, if you are unsure if something can be reused please consult an expert or purchase new materials.


Anonymous said...

We are SO on the same wave-length! I really want a brick patio as well... and I want it out of used brick! I never thought of checking Craigslist! Thanks for the tip!

~T said...

too bad you don't live closer! our brick patio is sloping very badly and needs to be torn out or redone...bricks need more maintenance, but they do look pretty! another good network for getting rid of extra stuff is freecycle.. similar to craiglist, they do have nationwide sites for getting rid of unwanted stuff. when bryan and i moved in together, we got rid of tons of extra stuff this way.

Genny said...

My husband and I were able to frame out our basement for absolutely free by reusing wood that had been thrown out at home construction sites. (PS - ask permission before doing so!)

This is one of the things I love about Habitat for Humanity - they are completely conscious of (re)utilizing materials rather than being wasteful.

niartist said...

I so agree with re-use, and recycling building products. With a little creativity, you can make things go a long way. I too am working with reclaimed bricks (from a apartment building/garage demolition my company did) in a brick patio. I haven't started yet - but I am surveying the area, and deciding on whether or not it's worth my while to do the work myself or hire a professional. I can't wait to see the turn out on your dream patio - I'm sure it'll be great ... who know's maybe we can learn from each other! Have a great day - glad I found your blog.

used bucket trucks said...

When it comes to landscaping and labor intensive work I always bring out the bad boy toys. After destroying two back ends in my truck I finally decided to purchase some heavy duty equipment to help me on my way. I have found my dump truck and bucket truck to be very helpful with trimming tall trees and removing the debris from my yard.