Britain is home to an abundance of beautiful and historically significant buildings. In England alone, there are around 500,000 listed buildings according to Historic England. Without the correct maintenance many of these buildings will begin to deteriorate. Historic building restoration and maintenance preserves these high-value buildings for the future. However, restoring historic buildings is expensive,… Read More
Salvaging and Reusing Old Building Parts For Your Historic Building Restoration Project
It’s common for salvaged and reclaimed building parts to be used in historic building restoration and renovations. Reclaimed materials have been previously used in a building and then recovered and reused to restore a historic building elsewhere. While the salvaged materials may require altering in some way, they won’t be reprocessed at all and still be in their original form.
Using old building parts helps retain the character of a historic building and supports traditional industries and vital craft skills.
Reclaiming, Recycling and Recusing Materials
Salvaged materials are often used for certain key features characteristic of the building, particularly when it comes to repeated elements where one or two are missing. Reclaimed original building parts will almost always look much better than modern replicas and likely to be far cheaper. Some original building materials were also made to a far higher standard than is possible today. For instance, older timber is often superior to the faster-grown softwoods and expensive hardwoods available today.
All manner of materials can be reclaimed and reused in restoration projects, including:
- Slate roofing
- Ceramic tiles
- Window frames
- Metal fixtures and fittings
- Glass panels
- Steel sections
Why Reuse Old Building Parts
There is growing pressure on the construction industry to be more sustainable. The industry has a huge impact on the environment when it comes to energy consumption, natural resources, pollution, and waste. The building industry accounts for 122 million tonnes of waste in the UK and around 18% of carbon dioxide emissions. There are also additional environmental costs associated with building materials such as extraction, production, manufacture and transportation. Using reclaimed materials is an effective way to address this. Salvaged and reclaimed materials significantly reduce the environmental impact and prevent the excessive production of new materials while reducing how much waste is sent to landfill.
How to Source Materials
A variety of suppliers across the UK offer different types of material that can be used to repair and restore traditionally constructed historic buildings. Such materials include hand-made bricks, clay roofing tiles and bricks, hair for plaster, and lime for mortars. You can source materials from salvage centres, reclamation yards that buy and sell materials salvaged from demolition sites. You can also purchase materials directly from a demolition site or remodelling project. Many of these projects involve painstakingly dismantling buildings to ensure someone else can use the materials elsewhere.
Wherever you get your salvaged materials, make sure you always use a reputable source. The seller should be able to provide you with details about their guarantees and return policies. Check if a dealer is signed up to the Salvo Code, a voluntary protocol to reassure buyers that items have not been stolen or removed from protected buildings.
Reclamation in Sustainable Development
Rapid development in the UK has seen many historic buildings demolished in favour of new affordable housing and commercial spaces. Redirecting old building parts from the waste stream and reusing them in other projects nearby is a crucial part of a project’s sustainability. Most construction projects create a huge amount of construction waste. The potential to redirect this waste away from landfill and avoid the need to develop new materials is enormous. When materials are salvaged from an existing building site, the environmental impact is almost nil. The effect is so significant even if not sourced locally, reclaimed materials are still the most environmentally friendly way to supply materials to the building industry.
Repurposing salvaged materials is not just a way of ensuring sustainable development and reducing waste. It’s also a way to celebrate age, history, character, and even those wonderfully pleasing imperfections of an older building.
We are experts in sensitive façade restoration, external stone cleaning, masonry repairs and the conservation of listed and heritage buildings. Speak to a member of our team today about restoring your brick, stone, or rendered historic building.
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