Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Architectural salvage: What to sell


There's a huge range of different things you could sell. You might decide to buy and sell 'anything and everything', from antiques and curios to reclaimed bricks and slabs. Or you might decide to specialise, for example in doors and windows, external fittings and fixtures, or perhaps garden items.

Some important things to consider when deciding what to focus on include:

  • how much space you've got - can you store large numbers of bulky items, or would it be more practical to focus on smaller, high value pieces
  • the type of storage space you have - think about how much exterior storage there is (for things like building materials) and how much dry but unheated storage (for timber) and interior storage you have available
  • where your own expertise and interests lie - you might want to concentrate on an area of the market you know very well
  • what your customers will want to buy - there may be local demand for certain regionally distinctive items and materials, for example Welsh slate
  • what you can actually get your hands on
  • whether you intend to build up the mail-order side of your business, particularly online. If so, you'll probably need to focus on smaller, easier to send items

The following list is just an overview of the sorts of things you might decide to stock:

  • doors and windows, including stained, leaded and etched glass
  • reclaimed flooring, including block, parquet and boards
  • fire surrounds and cast iron inserts
  • antique stoves, wood-burners and ranges
  • reclaimed timber
  • interior joinery like panelling, architrave, staircases and balusters
  • exterior fixtures like decorative bargeboards, roof finials, rainwater goods and corbels
  • building materials, including reclaimed bricks, blocks, slates, tiles and stone
  • flagstones, cobbles and quarry tiles
  • ecclesiastical salvage like church pews and settles
  • ornamental wrought ironwork
  • cast iron radiators and antique plumbing fittings like taps
  • bathroom fittings like roll-top baths
  • kitchen fittings, including Belfast/butler sinks and classic fitted cabinets
  • antique lighting
  • ornamental plasterwork and mouldings
  • garden items, like granite troughs, quoins, fountains and ornamental statuary
  • specialist items - for example pub and bar fittings or old school fixtures
  • other popular items like wooden railway sleepers, decorative columns and chimney pots

Some of the things you sell might be just as they were when you acquired them. Others might need to be repaired and renovated. As well as salvaged goods and materials, you might decide to sell some or all of the following:

  • items made from scratch out of reclaimed materials - for example doors made in the traditional style using reclaimed timber
  • 'upcycled' and 'recrafted' items - pieces that have been refurbished beyond their original condition, for example by giving them the 'shabby chic' distressed paint treatment
  • reproduction items - particularly when it's very expensive to buy the real thing (or difficult to get hold of it)
  • items that complement salvaged goods. For example, you might decide to stock a range of plants and shrubs if you sell salvaged garden items like urns, planters and pots
  • goods like polish, wood stain, paint, wax and filler

You might decide to stock other antiques like furniture, curios and general bric-a-brac.