Whether antique roof tiles, historic windows and shutters, old floorboards or more - building materials steeped in history lend themselves to being integrated into new, but antique-looking houses with atmosphere. Building owners do not only have ecological reasons in mind when they express the wish to integrate historical building materials or individual building elements from past times into their new building project. Many of these building materials date back to the period before 1940 and now also have a cultural value. After all, they bear witness to the architecture and craftsmanship of past eras. Thus, the reuse of historical building materials also helps to preserve a piece of architectural history and thus prevents valuable resources from being carelessly disposed of.
Historical building materials and individual elements are also frequently used in the rehabilitation of old buildings. Here, modern building materials would not fit in with the overall appearance of an old building and thus represent an unforgivable break in style. Antique door fittings and door knobs are also used here, among other things. Likewise, historically valuable stone floors or bricks from old walls can be reused in an appropriate setting and harmoniously complement already existing elements. Older properties can be upgraded in this way, giving them an authentic look that underlines their natural charm.
Listed half-timbered houses or other historical buildings also benefit from the reuse of historical building materials. Old field bricks from demolition houses, which are considered to be particularly durable and well insulating, can be purchased, cleaned and recycled. The cheaper variant - new bricks trimmed to look old - is not quite so historical, but nevertheless a market for them already exists. This is because historical building materials are only available in limited quantities and are therefore a rare find on the specialised building market.
Those who prefer to install antique cement tiles instead of modern ceramic tiles in their old or new buildings are also in line with the trend. But a good portion of luck is required if you want to acquire these coveted tiles with their individual patterns, which consist only of cement, paint and water. Reconstructions of these old tiles are also not always particularly affordable. But the cultural and historical value of these old cement tiles is inestimably high.
As a result, the demand for old bricks, cast-iron stoves, antique stairs and other historical building materials is constantly increasing. Retro look, vintage style and shabby chic are thus not limited to chests of drawers and cupboards from the pre-industrial era, although some parallels can be observed. Here, too, demand is often greater than supply, which is why new, individual elements are often trimmed to look old.
The founder and managing director of the Association for Historic Building Materials, Christoph Freudenberger, has also observed a growing demand and lively interest in historical building materials of all kinds.
When old and new are cleverly combined, a very special atmosphere is created. New buildings can also be visually enhanced by old factory windows, antique spiral staircases or cast-iron stoves.
However, not everything that can be saved from demolition may be recycled unchecked. Many materials, such as old wooden planks or boards, are checked in advance for harmful substances. Over the years, the ravages of time have taken their toll on some materials, so that a large proportion of salvaged stone floors or floorboards can no longer be used due to excessive damage. Authentic, historical building materials are not mass-produced goods off the shelf, but constitute limited resources and real rarities.