Bob Falk, Building Material Reuse Pioneer – Shares his Home Remodel Progress

Bob Falk is a veteran building material reuse and deconstruction expert. One could say he wrote the book on how to salvage building materials.  Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural treasures of unwanted Houses was released in 2007 as the first book taking you through the process of deconstructing a building. The topic was so new that the publishers had a hard time finding a category for it. To this day you can find Unbuilding in construction, green building, woodworking, waste diversion and other various places.

Bob has a PhD in engineering and works at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin as a Research Engineer. Bob has published extensively on the recycling and reuse of wood materials.

Bob shares his house remodel progress below.


“My daughter Abby helping me lay radiant tubing in my new woodshop. Blue foam insulation is salvaged.



Reclaimed steel framework for garage…from an old coal plant. I designed and welded up all the components.



Front of new addition before stucco. All trim boards are reclaimed DF bleacher seats.
All insulation on the inside are industrial seconds from a insulation manufacturer. Garage doors are salvaged and rebuilt.
 Stonework is salvaged from a garage I tore down. Light fixture is salvaged from a teardown. Gutters and downspouts are now copper.


 Here’s the house today. Still not finished on inside. The right side was built in 1927. I have replaced all the windows, exterior woodwork, and stucco. Everything to the left of the main gable is new.  The tall lighting fixture on the right side of the driveway was an original street lighting fixture installed in our Village in the 1920’s. I was able to find two from a house teardown. I bought from the new property owner and rewired/repurposed for driveway lights.
You can’t see it in the pictures but I salvaged from a teardown two clay chimney pots that now reside on top of my chimney.  Also, I bought 800 sf of red oak flooring from HFH Restore that will be using in the house to match the existing, just can’t match with new flooring.”