There are a couple of ways to incorporate recycled wood into your green remodel. The easy way is to simply use composite lumber, which has become extremely popular for outdoor use because of its modern look and durability. Wood scraps and old plastic bags are two of the primary ingredients used to create composite lumber.
For a less common application of recycled wood, consider taking advantage of salvaged wood before it ever hits the junkyard. Salvaged or reclaimed wood can add a unique aesthetic — and an interesting conversation piece — to any newly remodeled space. See, for example, how Jeremy Levine Design used a salvaged wood ceiling in a dining room remodel:
Finding usable old wood and weaving it into your home design is a task that is typically best left to a contractor. Find green contractors who have experience dealing with recycled wood, so that he or she can advise you on questions you may not have considered:
- Is the wood salvageable? Sometimes, thrown-out wood may look great but isn’t strong enough for certain applications, such as flooring. Alternatively, a stack of old wood may look abominable to you, but a contractor can show you how it can be sanded and refinished to work perfectly.
- Does the character of the salvaged wood work with the overall design of the space? You don’t want to go through the trouble of making old wood look new only to find that it doesn’t jibe with the rest of your home. A good contractor should be able to help you determine whether the wood is aesthetically fitting.
- What is the overall scope of the project? Using recycled wood sometimes requires more manhours and money than using new materials. Your contractor can help you budget the process and decide whether it’s worth the expense.
For another detailed look at how salvaged wood can be creatively used, Kathy’s Remodeling Blog explains how Bill and Becka Doering used their neighbor’s old Acacia trees in their kitchen.
If you’re interested in learning more about eco-friendly materials, check out the DexKnows guide on “How to Find Green Building Supplies.”