What You Don’t Know About Using Salvaged Materials

Windows for sale at architectural salvage shop Image: Deirdre Sullivan for HouseLogic

Love the idea of using salvaged building materials? So do we, but here’s some common-sense advice on using them smartly to enhance your home’s value.

If you like using reclaimed materials to add character to your home, it’s a good idea to keep resale in mind.

Sure, upcycling has many benefits, such as keeping stuff out of landfills and sizable savings over buying brand-new construction materials. However, a house remodeled with salvaged building materials might have a tough time when it comes to the market.

This Odd House

Home owners love to make their homes as unique as they are. But quirky features, such as scrappy wood paneling or a kitchen updated with mid-century cabinets, won’t appeal to everyone. And this could be a problem if you plan on selling.

Domenick Neglia, president and CEO of Neglia Appraisals Inc. in New York, suggests keeping function, utility, and marketability in mind before you remodel.  

“Certain materials may cause suspicion on an appraiser’s part if it seems too exotic,” says Neglia. “When you build with materials that are not seen as acceptable in the marketplace, a home’s marketability might be affected and it could be rejected by the secondary mortgage market.” 

Impermanent Fixtures

You can still put your own unique spin on your home while keeping its marketability in check if you follow the advice we gathered from Donna, the blogger behind Funky Junk Interiors.
When it comes quirky upgrades, Donna suggests keeping adaptability in mind so you can remove or easily hide an install when you decide to move on.

This self-confessed junkaholic did just that when she created her wooden crate staircase. The project was designed so a carpet could easily cover it. 

Funky staircase with hand painted wooden crate logos Image: Funky Junk Interiors

Common Cents Pays Off

Salvage shops are sure to tickle your quirkiness quotient with an array of one-of-a-kind light fixtures, pedestal sinks, leaded glass windows, and appliances. But before drinking the Kool-Aid, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to preserving your home’s value.

Vintage pedestal sinks for sale in salvage store Image: Deirdre Sullivan

A good rule of thumb is to go for quality over kitsch while keeping efficiency and utility in mind:

  • Toilets: Go for a low-flow option, not an older model that uses 2 gallons per flush or more.
  • Kitchen sinks: Pick an industrial or commercial model over something that’s vintage and shallow.
  • Countertops: Choose stainless steel or granite over less durable surfaces, such as laminate or reclaimed wood.

And if you’re looking to add a little character to your home, architectural accents such as these can add charm and value without appearing too quirky or out-of-place:

Doors at architectural salvage shop Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

  • Trim and molding
  • Fireplace mantels
  • Columns
  • Railings
  • Shutters
  • Doors

Get more tips on shopping for salvaged building materials

Looking for ideas? Check out our slideshow for imaginative ways to use salvaged building materials.