Recently I read an article in the Seattle Times Home and Garden section about deconstruction versus demolition, both of which I’ve had experience with as an architect. “On average, more than 75 percent of a home can be reused and recycled”, said writer Stacy Downs.
When you hear the term “tear down”, most homeowners simply have the contractor tear down a home, take it to the dump, and start a new home with new materials. The art of deconstruction, where a contractor takes the time to disassemble the light fixtures, cabinetry, doors, door handles, plumbing, and other parts of the house, is becoming more and more in vogue.
Some of your plumbing and light fixtures can be reused on your new home. Your original concrete foundation, garage floor, basement, patio, driveway and brick chimney could be crushed and used for your new home’s foundation backfill, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
In the case of the mountain style homes we design, recycled timbers are extremely valuable. Not only are these rustic timbers physically beautiful, but they are also sometimes bigger and longer than those commercially available, not to mention the strength of the old-growth wood.
I designed a new home a few years ago in Bellevue, Washington where the old home was deconstructed. It was the homeowner’s idea, and at first I had thought they would lose money in the deal. Deconstruction is much more labor intensive and the costs of deconstruction are initially higher. However, if you’re willing to wait until after taxes, you could actually earn money if you have it appraised for the value of the salvageable structure.
Not only could you get tax benefits, you could also get extra LEED points, as well as help ease the minds of the environmentally conscious. More than 30% of waste that goes into landfills consists of building materials. For more info, or to purchase recycled goods, look up your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlet. Proceeds help your local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within your community.
Previous Post: Negotiating with a Contractor
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
- 10000The green building movement has generated quite a following in the last 5 or 10 years, and what used to be a somewhat fringe idea is now becoming part of mainstream culture. Advertisements for products and services across the spectrum are full of sometimes dubious claims of how environmentally friendly…
- 10000What is Mountain Architecture? The mountain architecture vernacular consists of bold, natural and textured buildings and materials. These buildings should functionally and aesthetically withstand rugged mountainous environments, as well as blend into the topography. Mountain homes should take advantage of nature by bringing the outdoors in through ample amounts of…
- 10000Being an architect who designs heavy timber homes, I've found that there is a lot of confusion between timber frame vs. timber post and beam construction, even within the industry and among professionals. While there is some gray area in the distinction between them, there are real differences between these…