Back in 2011, when builders Anders and Jake Lewendal set out to construct a home made entirely from materials sourced and manufactured in the United States, their efforts set off a renewed interest in more domestic-made products.
Whether it was pride or practicality is unsure. Perhaps it was economics. At the time, they told The New York Times that if builders and remodelers bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, 220,000 jobs would be created, helping to pull the nation out of the recession.
Shortly after the Lewendals finished their house, builders across the country were energized, signing petitions and contracts pledging to build with 5 percent more American-made products, ABC News reported.
Then at the 2013 International Builders' Show, 84 Lumber Company announced the launch of its "We Build American" initiative to encourage builders, remodelers, and homebuyers to use American-made materials when building or remodeling a home.
84 Lumber says the initiative was joined by more than 180 companies in more than 40 states “who sell American-made building materials and products, as well as builders who have discovered that American-made homes can be cost-competitive with homes built using foreign lumber, nails, fasteners, or other building materials and supplies such as adhesives and caulking.”
The We Build American initiative is the brainchild of builder Marnie Oursler, in Bethany Beach, Del. Oursler says the cost of using American-made materials is within one-half of one percent of the cost of using foreign-made materials.
Based on a series of custom homes she was constructing in her area, the builder approached 84 Lumber with the idea of sharing her experiences and recruiting other builders of all sizes to join an initiative to put more American-made materials in American homes.
It is said that it’s easy to build about 90 percent of a home with U.S. products because the country offers a lot of options for larger components such as structural systems, framing, drywall, windows, doors, and roofing. Other items—some appliances, doorbells, nuts, bolts, certain tools, light switches, outlets, and more—are more difficult.
Fortunately, the United States still makes a wide assortment of building products—lights, tiles, plumbing fixtures, tools—with new ones popping up all the time. You simply need to know where to look.
Here are 20 that we found: