Family Recycles Home for $100,000

After tearing down their 2,250-square-foot home in Danville, Calif., Mike and Tricia Barry walked away with more than just a clean slate. The couple received a $100,000 tax write-off as well.

Photo: Jim Stevens/McClatchy Newspapers

After deconstruction, the only items left to throw away were the asbestos-ridden drywall and the stucco exterior. Photo: Jim Stevens/McClatchy Newspapers

Instead of tearing down the home and sending it to a landfill, the Barrys opted to have the home deconstructed piece by piece and recycled into new homes.

California Deconstruction and Building Materials ReUse Network hauled the excess material to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Corazón, which builds homes in northern Baja California, Mexico.

According to The Seattle Times, “nearly everything that made up the house — wood, windows, appliances, flooring, roofing and even the nails — went to nonprofit organizations.”

“I’d say 80 to 85 percent of the Barry house was reused,” says Gerald Long, of Corazón. “Even the copper plumbing was recycled, the bricks were saved and all the interior fixtures were saved.”

Habitat for Humanity has found a way to keep thousands of tons of surplus construction materials out of the waste stream, while also raising money for homebuilding through its Habitat ReStores. ReStores sell salvaged building supplies and appliances across the U.S. and Canada.

“Our primary goal is always to raise money for more homebuilding, but at the same time, we’re able to keep tons of potential trash out of the landfills,” explains Kevin Campbell, Habitat for Humanity’s director of building industry relations. “And the rule of thumb is that every dollar in sales equates to about one pound of debris being saved from the landfill.”

Recent Posts


  1. Pingback: Family Recycles Deconstructed Home for $100,000

  2. Pingback: Recycling made Lucrative! | House

  3. I applaud the family for doing this but it says the asbestos were thrown away that means it went to the dumpster. Doesnt it seep into the ground and get into our water – causing cancer?


  4. @ TriskelionAZ

    No, asbestos is chemically inert and does not dissolve – it’s a rock, basically. When disposed in a landfill, it remains in place. If there is enough infiltation to move it from the landfill, there are already bigger problems to deal with. And only certain types and uses are hazardous in the first place. As this is a house, I expect the asbestos is present in either Transite siding or old-style flexible floor tiles, both of which are difficult to recycle anyway, and only release their asbestos if abraded.

    The problems with asbestos occur when it is NOT interred in a landfill – when inhaled, and only when inhaled, it creates an essentially mechanical irritation of lung tissue, which leads to the health problems.

  5. My wife and I decided to tear down our 1890’s era poorly insulated, poorly constructed, mouse infested home and rebuild 2 years ago (2007). (We live in northern Indiana, heart of the recession). We loved the property, hated the old house. We salvaged/recycled many things from the old house, including the wiring, copper pipes from the water system and hot water heating system, the hot water heater, aluminum siding, kitchen cabinets, etc. We rebuilt on the same location, selected energy efficient windows and doors, used 6 inch walls instead of the standard 4 inch walls, packed them with lots of insulation,. We reused the cabinets in our basement, recycled all the concrete to our crushed stone driveway, sold the copper and aluminum, and bought almost all the fixtures, knobs, lights, and many of the bathroom cabinets at local Habitat Restores.

    Bottom line, 1) we were able to save a lot of money on the new house, 2) we are now saving $300/month in energy costs. 3) We salvaged a sun room we had added in the 1996 and 4) no more problems with rodents when the cold weather moves in! 5) Much nicer house.

    Our timing was excellent. With the recession in play, we got good deals worked out with the construction company and sub contractors, and we picked up a whale of a good interest rate. Being green, being frugal, doing a lot of work ourselves and being timely made a huge difference for us.

Leave a Comment