What's Old Is New Again

Salvaging old doors and knobs for reuse adds history and character to any remodel project

Multiple items were salvaged during the interior renovation and will be reused to preserve the history and character of this house. Spillane carefully removed all the original doors, doorframes, stairway handrails and a corner cabinet. These will be reinstalled during the latter part of the project. It is common to reuse materials on a job site. Contractors, as well as homeowners, are openly embracing this trend. It can help keep costs down and help reduce the amount of solid waste generated every year. Diverting these materials from landfills saves natural resources, decreases greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the need for landfill space.

When Spillane removed the doorframes he noticed they bore the name of the local lumber company that supplied them. Seventy-five years later, that company no longer exists. This is the kind of tie to history, and the community, that is exciting to discover and preserve when doing a renovation. In 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency produced The Remodeler’s Field Guide which focuses on reuse of materials for contractors. It includes an at-a-glance waste management chart to help identify what can be reused or recycled during a home remodel. The material descriptions, accompanied by an explanation of the advantages and challenges associated with each of them, can make the remodeling planning process a little smoother.

Spillane encourages others to reuse certain building materials to keep things interesting. He is not a fan of “cookie-cutter homes,” but prefers diversity in a residence because it results in the unique appeal of a neighborhood. 

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