Where to Find Free or Low Cost Building Materials

If your house needs repairs but you are strapped for cash, you might be amazed to discover that there’s all sorts of resources for free and low cost building materials. While it sounds almost to good to be true, the reality is that all sorts of great building materials end up in second hand venues every day. Frugal landlords and homeowners regularly tap into these resources to snap up bargain priced lumber, insulation, windows and more for a home improvement project that costs them next to nothing.

So where does a person search for free or low cost building materials? The answers might surprise you.

Auction yards

Auctions are events where goods are sold to the highest bidder. While most of us think of auctions as a place to sell antiques, art work, or livestock, auctions also sell household goods and other off beat items such as palettes of lumber, insulation, flooring materials and more. When the competition is scarce, bidders can pick up materials for next-to-nothing prices.

Most communities have at least one established auction house that hold regular weekly auctions, which is probably the best place to start your search for building materials. Auctions are also advertised in the classifieds.

Never been to an auction? This tutorial will show you how the bidding process works.

Thrift store salvage yards

Most thrift stores have a junk room or a salvage yard where donated building materials are heavily discounted to move. Savvy shoppers can find such treasures as sinks, carpet and linoleum rolls, hardware, shutters, light fixtures, and more. While not all thrifts have junk rooms, most do have a separate yard for construction materials. Since these yards are not often listed in the telephone directory, you may have to ask at the desk for the location.

Habitat for Humanity retail stores

Not everything that gets donated to Habitat for Humanity projects is used in the construction of their homes. For building materials that didn’t make the “cut”, you can expect to find them for sale in one of their retail stores. Habitat for Humanity retail centers are listed in the Yellow Pages.

Metal Recycling Centers

Contrary to popular belief, metal recycling centers don’t melt everything down for scrap. Quality items such as sinks, tubs, screens, pipes and more are sold by the pound to the public. Recycling Centers are listed in the Yellow Pages as well.


Freecycle.com is THE ultimate freebie giveaway site in which people get rid of their unwanted treasures to who ever wants it. Freecycle offerings include everything from furnishings to building materials, carpeting, and lots of other great stuff that is totally free. To join the local freecycle chapter in your region, visit freecycle.com and follow the prompts to sign up.

Craig’s List

Craig’s List is a network of local classified ads that include a wide range of goods and services. While many of the offerings on Craig’s List are yard sale fodder, they do have a “material” category where a savvy shopper can pick up great bargains on building materials and supplies. You should check out Craigslist.com to see what might be for sale in your community.

Building Recycling Centers

As people are becoming more eco aware, building recycling centers have cropped up as a way to harvest unused or gently used building materials. Building Recycling Centers carry a wide range of goods at unbelievable prices, and are a great place to pick up almost everything you might need to complete your home improvement project.


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