Re-used and Recycled-content Materials

Click here to see photos of the almost finished kitchen using some of the materials described below.

Click here to see photos of the finished bathroom using surplus tiles.

Left: These are Eco-Shakes, from ReNew Wood, Inc. - 100% recycled roof shingles (50% recycled wood from pallets, 50% recycled waste plastics). They have a 50 year guarantee and a Class A fire rating.

Left: Salvaged tiles for the kitchen floor. These inch-thick paver tiles were collected over two decades ago, and have been just waiting to find a home!

Left: The kitchen features durable composite countertops from old laboratory tables

Left: Kitchen cabinets are reused from a downtown office building that was being demolished. We sealed all exposed particle board surfaces with AFM's SafeSeal to prevent offgassing of formaldehyde.




below, left: For the portion of the driveway that crosses the front yard (a zone where the City of Madison does not allow regular parking), we've used porous pavers reused from a local source. Other pavers available are made from recycled plastic.

The use of porous paving helps to reduce the amount of impervious surface created for vehicles that contributes to runoff, flooding and other water quality problems in our cities.

The pavers are placed on the same compacted sub-base of gravel used under conventional paving. Then the cores are filled with a mixture of soil, sand and grass seed. The paving units are designed to support the weight of the vehicle while preventing the grass roots from becoming compacted.

Left: These antique carved stone sections of Kasota Stone from Minnesota (an old "de-commissioned" communion rail from the nearby St. Bernard's Catholic Church) will be cleaned and re-used as beautiful front porch railings.

Left: When we raised the little original house, we discovered that it had rested on piles of stones. We'll re-use the old foundation stones for landscaping terraces and borders.
Left: Site-built roof trusses allow the use of recycled lumber. Ours are professionally engineered and use glued-and-nailed plywood gusset plates.
Left: Salvaged sinks from the kitchen and workroom.

Locally, we recycled polystyrene (insulation, packaging) at Brown Sales Co. in Madison. This service is no longer available.

Left: We recycled all the construction materials we could via Madison's very good curbside pick-up program for materials such as cardboard, steel (strapping, damaged nails, miscellaneous ferrous metal) and so on. We burned wood scraps for heat during the winter. We were able to use all solid, inert materials, such as broken bricks, stones and cementitious waste, as fill and landscaping elements.

At the time this picture was taken, we had only needed a dumpster once (a 6-yarder), for the roofing from the original house, and bits of plywood and other items. At the time, we had not been successful in finding anyone local who will take the asphalt shingles for recycling into road asphalt.

Design concepts | Site | Workshop | In-progress | House Details | Research | Interview w/ Lou