What gets reclaimed from a high end home remodel?

When my sister remodeled her kitchen, the contractor used a lot of recycled materials from an old remodeled school, including a large blackboard which became a countertop.

I just had the opportunity to be in a house mansion last night that is being demolished. A lot of the interior doors had a big rough square/rectangle rough cutout where the handle would have been. No idea why someone decided to saw them out on scene rather than cut them out to remove later but it absolutely looked like they were saving whatever the door hardware was - handles & hinges.
We were also told not even to look in the one bathroom; heard an estimate that the tub will resell for $15,000 - it’s marble.

They didn’t want to store the entire door when all they could resell quickly was the hardware. By cutting out the wood around the hardware they can keep track of the hardware without losing pieces and it makes storage much easier and less expensive. Doors in mansions are often custom sizes anyway, so good chance a door would sit unsold for a long time unless there was also nice glass in it.

I bet it was something like P.E. Guerin hardware. Price that stuff sometimes. Amazing.

I am horrified by the amount of waste in our society. People smashing granite as if it was a limitless resource, and trowing away perfectly functional appliances because they don’t match the desired decor.
We are updating an older house, and since we don’t have boundless resources ourselves, we are re-using all the cabinets. They are in pretty good shape, and my wife figured out how to get the kitchen design she wanted simply by re-arranging them. We are going to have a custom Formica countertop made, which should update the look.
Since I don’t have my truck up here, I have been saving every scrap of wood and piece of drywall, since it’s hard for me to carry new ones from the hardware store. Also, I like the idea of re-using them where I can.

I’ve been noticing lately that the design/DIY/fixer upper shows have been installing concrete countertops, i.e., they make a form and pour the concrete and when it dries, countertop.

Two questions: isn’t concrete too porous for that usage? How can you get it smooth enough to use like a granite CT?

Why concrete?

Concrete can be poured into the shape of the counter on the spot. It gets smoothed when it’s poured and then further with abrasives while setting, then more so after it dries if necessary. Concrete is not porous but is still usually sealed with a food safe material anyway to help prevent chipping and cracking. It can cost much less than some counter top materials, but I’m sure it doesn’t always turn out as well as expected.

Concrete countertops are also featured on home shows so that makes it popular and as we learned in our school days nothing is more important than popularity.

Concrete is an almost perfect material for countertops.
We considered doing it for this project.
First of all, it’s “rustic,” so if it gets a bit stained, that just adds to the appeal. If you want to keep it pristine, it needs to be sealed. It can be very smooth just by floating with a magnesium float, but if you want it with a mirror-finish, it can be polished with a diamond sander. The reason we didn’t do it is - it’s kind of expensive, even if you do the labor. The cast-in-place technique uses special break-away edge forms, and even thought they are just a piece of extruded plastic, it would have cost over $300 for them. Then there’s the special high-strength concrete, necessary for a thin countertop (for a thick one, you can use normal concrete mix). The total material cost was more that 2x what a simple laminate countertop cost. And a lot of skilled labor. My labor. And, I would only be skilled after it was all done.

I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.

beowulff, thanks for the info. Magnesium float sounds delicious :crazy_face:.

We should probably thank our stars they haven’t figured out how to polish horse turds (a la Mythbusters) into countertops.

I guess I’m just not thrilled with the sidewalk being the kitchen surface I prepare food on.

A cousin of mine got a job to replace the carpeting in a brand new house, the buyers wanted tan carpet, not the gray that was installed. I helped him pull out the over 4000 square feet of gray carpet, we used it to carpet our grandmother’s house and the living and dining room of my mother’s house. We still threw away around 750 square feet of new carpet.

The statute of limitations has expired, so here’s what a friend did.

A very old church was going to be demolished. A friend was building a house and was always looking for things. The shell of the house was a “kit”, with scheduled delivery of various components. The interior was up to him.

He was in this old church and the hardwood floors were spectacular. He hunted down the responsible party and asked how much they wanted for the flooring. For some reason they did not want to sell it, everything would be bulldozed and hauled away.

My friend got two other friends with trucks and several other guys, about a dozen of us altogether. The church was in the middle of nowhere. The flooring was removed and hauled away by lantern light, two days before they bulldozed the site.My friends floors are incredible!

Sometimes extremism in defense of fabulous floors is no vice.

Back when I was living in Chicago one of the more affluent suburbs once or twice a year had a big-item trash day. Over a two-week period the town would send out big trucks to collect stuff that didn’t qualify for the weekly trash pickup. They published a schedule of what streets the trucks would be going down, and when. It soon became a thing for people to go there the day before the trucks and see what they could salvage. My friends and I scored such things as bookcases, shelving, and a portable dishwashers. The town didn’t mind because it meant less for them to collect, and the residents took to putting signs on things like appliances about whether they worked.

Forty years and two moves later, I still have one or two of the bookcases.

You know, if someone was offering a coprolite countertop, I’d be tempted.

Please, Mildred, not in front of the children!

How about a table?

That’s ugly.

Oh, yeah. Thanks, TriPolar.

The wood part of the table isn’t great, but the insert is fine.

Yes no doubt the whole table is special. The Cross sections look like agates or amoebas.