Using Salvaged Doors in a Remodel: Part 1

One way to get immediate character in a house remodel is to use salvaged doors. Old doors can be beautiful, with great quality and craftsmanship. Depending on availability, it can also save you money. On the downside, using salvaged doors can take patience, planning, and elbow grease. Other downsides include the possibility of lead paint and dings/imperfections (although one girl’s dings/imperfections are another girl’s patina). Second Use Building Materials has great information on using salvaged doors on their do it yourself page on their website. Update! We love old doors so much that we’ve written yet another post here.

Where to Find Salvaged Doors:

We got all these doors from Second Use Building Materials in Seattle. We were able to find 15 matching 4 panel painted doors to use for all the room and closet doors. For the other larger/unusual openings we found some natural wood (cedar? fir?) doors that someone salvaged out of an old building. They had them stripped of paint and had them stored for use in a future home that was never built. Somehow they ended up at Second Use and we were ecstatic to find them there. I wish I could say we installed all these doors ourselves, but we hired a carpenter for this project. (That is probably why it got done.)

There are several ways to use salvaged doors in a house, whether it’s a remodel or new construction. Continue reading

Selecting Lumber from Odd-Lot

Our weekly work-day was not very pretty, but necessary. We went to the lumber yard to select lumber for our upstairs window trim.

Upstairs trim: done and not so done. One down and 10 to go!

Vertical Grain Douglas Fir

The interiors of most older houses in the Pacific Northwest were trimmed out with vertical and open grain Douglas Fir. The forests were aplenty with it in the early 1900s. The wood is soft, but beautiful – it ages to a deep orange over time. The fine parallel lines of the vertical grain (vg) are especially pretty. You can find even old growth vg fir at architectural salvage yards, sometimes it just takes some sanding (or planing) to reveal the great wood under layers of stain, varnish and/or paint. This time we needed a lot of stock, so we opted for new.

If you have extra time (and patience) you can save quite a bit of money by sorting through the “odd-lot” section at your local lumber yard. “Odd lot” is where they put the lumber that isn’t quite perfect for various reasons – warped, knots, roughly hewn, cracks, oozing sap. (Monica talked about this option in a previous post.) I have time, but no patience, so Monica and Mary Jean came along to supply that. Continue reading