Posted by Carrie Coffey, Los Angeles Representative:
I recently received a call from a potential donor who was interested in deconstruction, how it works, and if his home was a good candidate for the process. I scheduled an appointment for a project review. The home’s exterior had the makings of an architectural gem, a 1955 mid-century modern that had my mind racing with how I would love to bring this baby back to its true form. It seemed a shame to scrape the home, but once inside, I understood the enormity of a complete remodel. The interior retained little of its original character. Upgrades (if you can call them that) made over the nearly six decades since it housed its first residents produced a house that was incongruous.
While photographing and documenting components of the home I struggled to find reusable materials. The home was made of cinderblock, which limited the amount of framing lumber available. It was on slab, leaving the only salvageable lumber within the few interior walls and in the roofing. To add to that, all of the windows were frameless, meaning that they could not be reused. All of the previous factors, along with the built in cabinets from the original structure left little for a deconstruction crew to recover.
The potential donor was informed of my findings and I let them know that the added costs associated with deconstruction would not likely be offset by the potential donation value and ultimate tax benefit they would receive. Homes such as this one are rare. Most homes carry salvageable value in their lumber (flooring, walls and roof). Many framed windows can be reused, as can cabinets that have backing (not built in place). Hardwood floors that have not been glued down can often be salvaged. Lighting fixtures are almost always reusable, and it doesn’t end there. Our job is to identify as many reusable items as possible so the donor can optimize their home’s reuse potential, which typically increases their donation value and helps offset their costs.
Please contact us any time if you have questions about your home’s reuse potential. It costs you nothing to have your home evaluated, so you have nothing to lose.