DIY home projects start with salvage and reuse


Shawn Wood from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, is part of the Green Building Team. Here he offers his tips on autumn home improvement opportunities, tapping into Portland’s extensive reuse community to make your projects unique.

Salvage wood wall in remodeled living room. Created by craftsman Greg Simons of Studio G.

Salvage wood wall in remodeled living room. Created by craftsman Greg Simons of Studio G.

“Fall is a great time of year to focus your efforts indoors. While my summers are jam packed with outdoor projects and activities, I welcome the change in weather and the opportunity to transition indoors. You may already have some project ideas in mind, but if not, head to your local salvage or reuse outlet and walk around. Creative ideas will start to flow and before you know it, you’ll have figured out your next project.

Local places abound in Portland to purchase used building supplies, salvage wood, materials for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and every room in between. Portland offers interested homeowners and individuals plenty of options for home improvement DIY projects.

Salvaged materials are often high quality, provide unique character, are stronger and more durable - and may be less expensive than new materials.”

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, ReClaim It!, Salvage Works and The ReBuilding Center are just a few of the resources where you can find what you need, donate what you don’t and tap into Portland’s reuse community through building supplies and materials. Check out the map for more resources, including salvage yards and online material exchanges.

Using salvaged or reclaimed building materials in your projects can save you money and offers many other benefits:

  • Adds character to your project
  • Supports the local economy
  • Offers period-appropriate fixtures, fittings and cabinetry and high quality materials (both aged and contemporary)
  • Allows for builder overstock or "new salvage" materials
  • Keeps building material tonnage out of the landfill

Here are some of Shawn’s ideas where reuse can play a role:

  • Install salvaged wood floors in a kitchen or other room. Tip: If removing old linoleum flooring, have it tested for asbestos first.
  • Give a wall some bling and warmth using salvaged wood. It is easy to install because it goes right over existing drywall or plaster. Tip: Check out the WOW walls at Salvage Works
  • Furniture, wall art or built-ins are another DIY project that can involve reusing materials. Want a great dining room table? Pick up some unique salvaged lumber or slabs and have it planed/sanded. Tip: Creative Woodworking NW is a local resource that can assist in taking rough lumber and turning it into a smooth masterpiece.