Reusing building materials is often a good idea, not only because it's generally a very environmentally friendly thing to do, but also because you can save a pile of money and with a little creativity, achieve unique looks and styles.
To start from the ground up, concrete can be made of mostly recycled materials. Recycled aggregate is perfectly fine to use, and has no real downside provided it's crushed finely enough. Recycled concrete has the benefit of not requiring any new gravel to be mined, as well as saving on the disposal of the old concrete, which saves landfill space.
Particleboard is made up of sawdust and crushed wood offcuts, pressed together with a resin. While there are other uses for sawdust, this is a sustainable way to reuse the wood. It also saves the wood from becoming burn-off, which helps reduce carbon emissions.
Recycled carpet and underlay
Carpet can be reclaimed from old buildings, cleaned and reused elsewhere. This can be a great way to get quality, commercial grade carpet at discount prices, as well as being 100% environmentally friendly. Some carpet can also be manufactured from recycled fibres such as PET and nylon. Underlay can be a composite foam mixture, binding together pieces of recovered and reused foam.
Floorboards are very commonly recycled, and are prized by many for their patina and charm. Older, recovered wood has unique aged characteristics which can’t be found in new wood. Many people actively seek out stressed and old wood for the patterning, wear and and colouring found in the planks as these can make for highly attractive and unique looking floors. When choosing old boards, look for any bowing in the wood as well as any knots or major flaws which might weaken your floor.
There are also many home owners stripping back their old floor coverings and reusing their existing boards rather than re-laying new ones. With some heavy sanding and refinishing, many are surprised to learn that they’ve been walking on their dream floor for years without knowing it. Whether using recovered wood or reusing an existing floor, this saves on new wood having to be cut which reduces its environmental impact - and it's not necessarily an expensive process.
Recycled masonry and tiles
Reclaimed stone from paved streets, masonry and even old quarries can provide a completely unique and weathered look that newly cut stone cannot replicate. Tiles can be reclaimed from old buildings too, provided their extraction is a careful one. Even broken tiles can be used for edges and corners as long as there is enough of the tile left intact. Broken tiles, stone, glass and other materials can also be used in mosaic patterns, offering another innovative way of recycling.