Windows and doors are an expensive component of new home construction. Depending on what a homeowner chooses window and door costs can account for 30% or more of the building budget. At Dakotas Landing we chose to use reclaimed or recycled windows and doors. Using these recycled windows and doors will keep our costs low and keep these materials from the landfill.
Recycled windows and doors do not have to be inefficient or in bad condition. Sometimes windows or doors will be ordered and then a homeowner will change their mind and choose a replacement. These windows are then sold for a discounted price. Another source for recycled windows is homeowners who have chosen a new window or siding package for their home. When the windows are removed they are given or sold to resale shops that specialize in recycled building materials.
Recycled building materials can be found in a variety of conditions, and sizes if you know where to look for them. Habitat for Humanity sponsors resale shops across the country. When homes are torn down to make way for new construction The Habitat for Humanity volunteers take care to keep the homes components in good order so they can be sold in the Habitat Restores.
Owner builders can buy directly from recycled building material stores or find these building materials on Craigslist and Freecycle in their local area. A future homeowner can potentially save 60% or more of their door and window budget by using recycled windows and doors.
When buying recycled windows and doors an owner builder should be aware of their needs. At Habitat for Humanity resale stores a variety of windows and doors are available. At our local store we were able to find vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows in good condition. Single and double pane windows with Low E glazing were available. Some windows will come with the storm windows and screens attached and included in the price. Two such windows were bought for $25.00 each.
In total we purchased 6 windows and a door for $230.00. 3 windows were pre-hung, side by side windows with storm windows and screens. Two windows were double pane Low E glazed windows and one window was a six foot wide, side slide aluminum window. The door is a windowed exterior door in great condition. Buying these windows and doors new would have cost more than $1,000.00.
We bought our windows early and will store them until we are ready to use them. One of the drawbacks of working with recycled and reclaimed materials is that you must buy something as soon as you see it. The products typically won't be available if you wait. Often you can find a set of windows that came from the same home. When windows are crucial to the home design you wouldn't want to risk someone else buying them.
Habitat for Humanity resale stores have a variety of other recycled building materials. These may be materials left over from other jobs, or materials that were donated from construction crews after a job. New toilets, bathtubs and sinks can be found as well as counter-tops and vanities. You can find a Habitat for Humanity Restore in your local community by visiting the Habitat for Humanity website.