A burgeoning expansion witnessed by the construction industry is primarily driving the global reclaimed lumber market. This is mainly due to highly preferred properties present in reclaimed lumber such as superior stability, high strength, less carbon footprint, and good durability. Such characteristics make the lumber perfect for utilization in various types of construction projects.
Ann Woodward, executive director of the Scrap Exchange, stands before the strip mall and parking lot that the organization now owns.
The Scrap Exchange is on the brink of something much bigger. This summer, the organization closed on a deal to buy 10 acres of a moribund strip mall surrounding the building. Executive director Ann Woodward’s ambition is to turn the area into a “reuse arts district,” unlike any in the country. It will include a range of creative elements, like a playground made of reused materials, a shipping container mall hosting local entrepreneurs, a recycle-a-bike program, artists’ studios, and a performance space.
Nick Swaggert, of Better Futures, said the work he and his company do has “saved 700 tons of building materials from going into the landfill.”
With many homes over 30, trend experts expect homeowners to tackle remodeling projects as long as the economy remains strong. Thrift stores such as Habitat ReStores, now at 875 locations nationwide and 15 in Minnesota, are riding the wave too. Sales at the new location, which opened in September, are exceeding expectations. “Our New Brighton store is doing $1 million a year, and we hope the Minneapolis store will match that in two or three years,” said Pete O’Keefe, senior manager of operations at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
Bruce Johnson, co-owner of ReHistoric Wood Products LLC, says a majority of the company’s inventory comes from old barns, mills, sheds, and small outbuildings. -—LeAnn Bjerken
“The market for reclaimed wood is only getting larger,” says Johnson. “In the last three years, we’ve tripled our sales volume.” ReHistoric Wood Products finds and purchases older wooden buildings that are no longer in use, dismantles them, and sells the pieces for use in other projects. “Sourcing is a very important part of our business,” says Johnson. “The majority of the wood we use comes from old barns, mills, sheds, or smaller outbuildings.”