23 February 2008 |

Reusing Materials

Written by Jason

reusing raftersOne of the best ways to save money and resources is by reusing materials.  Reusing also helps reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills.  Reusing is an important part of our resource conservation plan here a the yardstead.  We reuse everything from plastic bags to building materials.  Some items such as plastic bags can be reused with very little thought or effort.  Other items such as lumber or fencing, require a little more effort to reuse.  A little bit of planning ahead can make it much easier to reuse these larger items and greatly reduce the amount of waste.  
Whenever we begin a project at the yardstead, we always consider ways to reuse materials we already have.  We have a section of the pole barn dedicated to reusable materials.  Despite the fact that I take care to keep this section organized and free from trash, its sometimes refered to as the "junk pile" by my wife.  Im sure it does look like a junk pile to the untrained eye, but to skilled reuser its a treasure trove of possibilities.   I revisit this area daily, whether I'm looking for a scrap of wire to mend a fence or one more board to finish a project.


We have been planning to build a shop/storage building at the yardstead for a while.  I was shopping around, looking at plans for wooden frames, metal frames and  complete packages.  I was still undecided on which would be the best most cost effective way to build, when a friend offered to give me some used materials in exchange for helping him tear down a building.  I agreed and we soon began the dismantling.  The building was an open rectangle 20ft x 40ft.  It was in good condition but was standing in the way of a new construction project.  The tear down was labor intensive, but worth it in the end.  I ended up with a large pile of good 2x4s and a full set of rafters.  
After aquiring the rafters, we decided to go with a wood frame building.  Since we dont have to purchase any rafters, we can build our building at a much lower cost.  We have 21 rafters which are 20ft long.  The rafters will be installed on 24 inch centers, so we have enough for a 20ft x 40ft building.  This will be a good size for the yardstead.  I am currently working on the plans and will be covering the progression in future articles.  At the moment I have started construction of the form for the concrete foundation of the building.  
One thing to consider when reusing building materials for a dwelling, is the fact that most municipalities require a permit and inspections.  Always check with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) before you finalize any construction plans.  Some building officials may prohibit reusing certain materials.  The county where I am building requires a permit be pulled before construction, and inspections during the constructions.  They require drawings and technical specs for rafters which are usually provided by the rafter manufacturer.  Im not sure how the county will handle my used rafters yet, but I will report the details in a future article. 
There are plenty of other uses for salvaged lumber, other than buildings.  At the yardstead we have fencing, animal houses, nesting boxes, compost piles and other structures,  all made from salvaged materials.  With a bit of resourfulness and imagination, it is easy to find ways to reuse.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, we always keep these three things in mind when planning and executing all we do here at the yardstead.

Read 4379 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 September 2011 23:57