You might be wondering WHAT THE HECK IS A PSO? It stands for Pure Salvage Outpost, a place that collects and stores salvaged or reclaimed material to help others build on their own land. A PSO can be a formal business or an informal “drop off” area on private property where materials can be left for others to use. If you’re in the market for reclaimed materials for your build, this post will guide you on how to find salvaged or reclaimed materials by setting up a POS.
The Value of Reclaimed and Salvaged Materials
There are a growing number of people who want to get away from over-sized houses and the overwhelming mortgages that go with them. Oftentimes the dream of owning a small, simple house includes building it one’s self as economically as possible. Reclaimed and salvaged material can play a huge part in such a goal.
The determined do-it-yourself builder can easily save thousands of dollars using reclaimed and salvaged building materials that sell for a fraction of the cost of new. And though they may be a bit harder to find, there are plenty of free-for-the-taking deals available, especially if you’re willing to provide the labor for removal and relocation of the materials.
But there’s more value to reclaimed materials than just the immediate direct-cost savings over new materials. Those savings occur over the long-term because, simply put, vintage building materials tend to be of superior quality. In earlier times when there were few shortcuts to the intense labor of building a home, those homes were build to last using materials that still remain strong today.
In modern manufacturing, unfortunately, the “bottom line” often matters more than either durability or toxicity. The extensive use of synthetic and chemically-treated materials in the construction of our modern homes can literally make us sick. Although you will want to be wary of lead in some vintage materials and items, salvaged materials do minimize the off-gassing concern that plagues so many homes built with all-new products.
Building with salvaged and reclaimed materials creates unique, one-of-a-kind results that mass-produced materials simply can’t match. There’s no denying the special charm that comes from the use of vintage windows, antique doorknobs, reclaimed hardwood floors, and the like. Houses built from materials “with a history” possess a character all their own that modern construction simply can’t recreate.
Finding Reclaimed Materials
Reclaimed materials can be found all across the United States. These are the building materials that have been used and abused and yet have stood the test of time.
The farmer down the road may have a dilapidated barn he’d like to remove that’s full of chemical-free hardwood perfect for flooring or siding. An old schoolhouse might provide sturdy antique windows. An unused factory might be a great source for gorgeous old bricks.
I have personally seen many abandoned old houses on tobacco farms that provided a treasure trove of old wood, ornate doors, vintage light fixtures, and even big old cast iron sinks.
You never know what might be lurking inside an overgrown old building no one even notices anymore. It could be worth your while to track down the property owner and inquire.
Resale Sources For Reusable Building Materials
Sometimes a convenient place to start the search for reusable building materials is a local Habitat for Humanity or area thrift stores. Keep in mind what you find may be usable but not necessarily vintage. Still, they can be a great resource for affordable building materials, and usually any purchases made support a charitable cause. So it’s not all bad.
Many areas also retail outlets specializing in salvaged building materials. These stores are great fun to find and explore. But I’ve yet to find such an outlet that didn’t give me sticker shock. If you have a big budget for your build, then salvage stores can save you a lot of time in finding unique materials. They will rarely save you money, however.
How To Find Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials By Setting Up A PSO
Before you drop your money at a resale store or expensive salvage retailer, do some research. Is there a PSO to be found within reasonable distance of your build? If not, it could be very worth the effort to set up your own.
Ideally a Pure Salvage Outpost occupies a physically space and works best with some type of shelter to protect the materials. An old barn, outbuilding, or even a lean-to could work.
Don’t let lack of shelter be too big a hindrance, though. Even an open area of land can work as a PSO.
But what if there’s absolutely no space available to set up a physical outpost? Then think outside the box and create a virtual one! Through social media and meet-up sites, you can set up boards to let each other know what materials are needed and what’s available for giving away or swapping. A virtual PSO may take a bit more time to set up and get rolling, but it can be every bit as effective for finding salvaged and reclaimed materials for your build.
Making a PSO Work
Whether physical or virtual, Pure Salvage Outlets are all about connecting and networking. So reach out to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. And ask them to reach out to people they know on your behalf.As the old saying goes, the wider you cast your net, the greater variety of fish you’ll catch! You never know who might have a horde of salvaged or reclaimed materials sitting around they’d love to be rid of.
Once you’ve connected with like-minded salvage-seekers, you can work together finding and sharing sources for reclaimed materials and vintage fixtures. You can buy, sell, barter, and trade within your group. And you can pool your resources to obtain materials from distant or more-costly sources than might be feasible on your own.
A Successful Pure Salvage Outpost
The goal of a PSO is to create a way for individuals with materials they no longer need or want to pass them along to others who do need and want them. A successful PSO keeps usable building materials out of landfills, keeps construction costs in check, and can even create new friendships in the process.
If you have some available space on your homestead property, you might want to consider setting up a PSO to benefit your area. If you don’t have the land but do have the interest, establishing a virtual PSO can be a great way to go.
A little PSO give and take can mean big benefits for you, your community, and the environment, too. Happy Salvaging!
Special Note: I have used photos submitted to my Facebook group Shed to House Conversions: A to Z in this post and have noted photo credit for each of these images.