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How To Find Used Building Parts

Recycle Architectural Salvage

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Black cast iron gates against a blue sky into Central Park in New York City

The Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street into Central Park, NYC was originally part of Cornelius Vanderbilt II's New York chateaux designed by architect George Post

Cast iron gates from Vanderbilt chateaux © Bogdan Migulski on flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Find used and antique items for your old house restoration... or for modern homes with an authentically historic flavor.

Time Required: Shopping can take days or years... Enjoy the process!

Here's How:

  1. Search online directories for Architectural Salvage.
  2. Check the yellow pages of your local telephone directory for Building Materials - Used, or Salvage and Surplus.
  3. Phone demolition contractors. Ask where they take their salvaged building materials.
  4. Contact your local historic preservation society. Ask about salvagers and antique dealers who specialize in antique building parts.
  5. Do business over the Internet. View photographs and inquire about shipping costs. Take advantage of online message boards and forums for buying, selling and trading.
  6. Place classified ads in magazines that specialize in old house restoration.
  7. Visit demolition sites. Check those dumpsters!
  8. Keep an eye on garage sales, estate sales, and auctions.
  9. Know when garbage night is in your and neighboring communities. Some people don't know what they've got until it's gone.
  10. Beware of "strippers." Reputable architectural salvagers support the cause of historic preservation by rescuing valuable artifacts that would otherwise be demolished. However, irresponsible dealers will strip a viable building, selling historic items individually to make a fast profit. It's always best to purchase salvage from a source recommended by the local historical society. When in doubt, ask where the item originated, and why it was removed.

Tips:

  1. Some historical societies operate nonprofit salvage warehouses and other services for old-house restoration.
  2. Most salvage centers do not operate 9 to 5 hours. Always call before making the trip.

Learn More:

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