Want Guide To Free (Or Cheap) Building Materials?
Do you need a backyard storage shed, but feel you cannot afford the high cost of building materials? Have you ever contemplated building a summer cabin or perhaps a house but the cost of materials is prohibitive? These projects may seem like something you would just as soon leave to the hired professionals, especially for us carpentry challenged folks, but what if you just want materials for a planter to showcase your special flowers or a new home for “Fido”? I am about to make a bold proclamation by stating that you can get the materials you need for FREE! Yes, you heard it right…FREE! “How,” you ask, “might this be possible?” Listen closely my friends, and I will show you how to do just that.
Before we begin, I should let you in on the only two things you will need to accomplish this seemingly impossible task of finding free materials…patience, and flexibility. The reasoning behind these two very important attributes shall become clear as we move along.
The first step is to decide what materials you need for your project, and also some alternatives that will work if necessary. This is where the flexibility comes in. You may not get the “exact” materials you need, but some alternatives are just as good. Suppose you are building a deck on the summer cabin. If you are vying for a position in the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” you probably wouldn’t read this far into this article, so I am guessing that functionality and price considerations are more important than beautiful craftsmanship. I would suggest using pallets as a starting point. They are sturdy, easy to assemble, and readily available. Plus they can be covered later for a more aesthetic appearance. We built a porch on our cabin using pallets that we covered with decking material that we later found. Check lumberyards, electrical/plumbing supply outlets, door and window shops, just about any place that receives large shipments of merchandise. These places are easily identified by the monstrous stacks of pallets in the alley or behind the building, and most places will give you as many as you want. Electric companies are also good sources for the large wire spools that make excellent patio tables, birdbath stands, and any other use you might imagine.
Always be on the lookout for neighbors and others that are doing their own remodeling projects. They often have discarded materials and are happy to give them away rather than having them hauled off at their expense. For our cabin, we asked a home remodeler for unwanted materials and that’s where we acquired the doors, windows, roof sheathing, stove pipe, screws, nails, among other things.
Many times you might find elderly residents who would love to have their yard cleared of years worth of accumulated stuff, but they are incapable of doing the job themselves and not financially able to hire someone to do it for them. Make a deal to clean their yard in exchange for the materials.
Local lumber mills have mountains of byproduct that is unusable for their purposes but perfect for many homeowner projects. Check with the office for availability and restrictions.
Old discarded tires are strewn all over the countryside, but may just turn into a beautiful landscape piece for the artistic homeowner, or filled with cement to become shed supports. Automobile junkyards may offer useable materials for the visionary builder…use your imagination. Pickup bench seats can be conformed into unusual but classic breakfast niche booth seats.
You will most assuredly have more success in your quest for free materials if you become a Classified Ad reader. Read them every day. Look for anything that says “free” but be sure to call early because these things go fast. There is a gold mine waiting to be had for the asking. Many times you might find free items just because you are willing to haul them away. If you are really energetic, you may find an ad for a house to be torn down in exchange for the materials. Here is a great source for lumber, bricks and blocks, trusses, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, and the list goes on.
New construction sites offer a plethora of material gathering options. Many times there will be a huge dumpster on site for material discards that may be just the thing you are looking for. You may find dimension lumber, insulation, electrical wiring, PVC pipe, etc. Please be sure to check with the construction foreman before taking these materials.
If you happen to need “like new” building materials without the exorbitant cost, check your surrounding communities for a salvage lumberyard. These establishments offer “scratch and dent” or otherwise rejected building materials at substantial discounts.
As you can see, there are endless possibilities when it comes to recycling “pre-owned” building materials, but a better price cannot be found. Forethought must be applied and sometimes you must patiently wait for the perfect opportunity, but the end result will be well worth the effort. Just keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
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