When it comes to building your home it can be quite costly, so knowing how to bring the expenses back and save money where you can is vital. Sourcing cheap building material is a great way to cut costs.
We’ve outlined the secrets on how to find cheap building materials in this comprehensive post.
Cheap does not mean poor quality, it just simply means less expensive. You may have to invest a little time and effort, but it is outweighed greatly by the amount of money you can save.
Here are some great tips, tricks and places to look for building materials on a budget.
Take advantage of social media, things like Facebook groups, Facebook marketplace, Gumtree etc.
There is a huge potential in saving money on building materials and everything in between. A lot of times people have left over stock that they no longer want or need and just want it out of their hair.
You can also set up alerts when something new is posted, so you’ll be first to be notified. Don’t forget to look through posts thoroughly, especially the ones where various items in the one add. You may find something that is just what you are looking for.
Do not ignore the ads that say things like “you disassemble” or “you have to take it all” etc. Often what you get in return is worth the labour.
Take a chance on asking around. Local contractors, independent contractors, etc. Get their permission to go through their rubbish/skip before they send it off.
There often very strict on the materials that they can use and sometimes a piece may be just that mil too short or it has a stain that you might be able to sand away etc.
Get creative and find the treasure within the junk.
Op Shops and Equivalent Stores
Most often in suburban areas, there are op shops and resale stores, you should always take the time to have a squiz about.
You may not find anything useful the first or second time around but the third time you’ll find exactly what you are looking for.
These are often at discounted rates that make the time looking for the items worthwhile.
Retails Stores Discontinued Items and Overstocked Products
Call up or visit a store and see what stock they have available that’s discontinued or overstocked. Often these items will be marked down to clear space for new stock.
Flooring stores, Tiling stores, Home Improvement stores, etc will often have items like this just laying around so be sure to ask – worst case scenario is you get a no.
Returned, Mis-Matched or Incorrect Orders
Often stores will have a pile of stock that gets returned, not the product they ordered, or the color of paint isn’t right, etc. These just take up space and are not often sought after.
However, if your willing to go with the flow and make things work these are great cheap resources to grab onto.
Check to see if there are any salvage outlets/yards in your area, often a lot of basic building material can be found here. These can include things such as plain tiles, nails, timber, etc.
Not to mention there at great prices, usually around half or a third of what you would expect to pay at a large chain franchise.
These are worth a visit. You can find a variety of things at slashed prices from wall tiles, toilets, bathroom vanities, doors and more, don’t forget to keep an eye out for those hidden gems.
Auction houses (virtual and physical)
Track down an auction house or two in your local area, this can be online as well. It can be a great resource for finding stock that you need.
These materials are often from local businesses that are getting rid of over/discontinued stock or even going out of business.
You may get all of a particular product you need for a fraction of the price.
Have a look in your local newspaper and online to see if there are any estate sales going on or coming up in your area. You may not find anything, but there is always the possibility you find exactly what you are after.
Remember to check the shed if it has one as it is more likely you will find something in there for your build.
This may sound a little odd, but have you ever seen those posts on Facebook of ‘you disassemble, you take’ or ‘demolish and take’ etc.
Often times when an owner is looking to demolish their home they will open it up to anyone who is willing to do their own demo work for free or cheap materials.
You can often scrap up things such as kitchens, doors, trims, flooring, windows, railings etc. Are you willing to put in the hard work and sweat?
This may be a perfect option for saving thousands.
We all know they exist and they can be great in finding just what you need.
Flip through your local bulletin boards, Facebook and the newspaper to see if anyone in your area is having a sale.
If so, try to make an effort to stop by. You never know, the house you stop at could be an ex-tiler or contractor who has materials they want gone.
Don’t forget these days there are also virtual sales on Facebook – take advantage of a good deal when you can.
Flyers, bulletin boards and posts
Put up a posting on social media, whether it is Facebook, Gumtree etc asking for materials and things that you need.
Letting people know that you are looking for items can decrease the time it takes to source them yourself.
You may come across an old handyman who has a whole heap of stuff piled up out back, and just can’t be bothered posting it but welcomes you to come and have a look and take what you want for free or a small price.
You could even get recommendations of people in your community of places to visit or people to see that may be able to help you out.
Do not forget the good old fashioned bulletin boards available in shopping centers etc.
Put a flyer up of what you are after and it may just save you.
Old contractors and re modelers may have a heap of stuff laying around that they are happy for you to take.
Anything that you do not use you can always resell or use them for trading. Make sure that you are easily contactable, the best method of this is the old ‘take a number’.
Family and friends
The people you know are sometimes the best to go to, just simply because they want to help you out.
They could have some great advice on a little store that has many hidden gems in it. Or maybe there doing a renovation of their own and you can use the materials that they would just be throwing out.
A great example of this is if a friend is pulling up some old paving, you offer to help if you can take the bricks off their hands for free.
This saves them time and money for both of you!
This can be a great chance at getting things you need or services you require for a cheaper price. You could offer your services, experience or items that you no longer need for something that you do need.
This is often a win-win situation.
Don’t count out the specialty stores or the stores that you know are expensive.
Go in and head in a beeline fashion towards their clearance area. Usually, these products have insane discounts.
If you’re a bit of a handy person when it comes to fixing things up a little, you can always visit your retail stores and look for items that have slashed prices due to being scratched, dented or they have some sort of issue that you can repair easily.
Now with this, I do not mean going and getting a five finger discount for products on a site. Ask the foreman on site if there is anything you could take off their hands that they are unable to use.
It is vital that you ask permission beforehand. You may get some materials for a small price or absolutely nothing as they are unusable for the construction site.
You may also want to take the chance of reaching out to independent contractors, construction companies and demolition companies.
If there is a verge collection going on in your area or coming up do not forget to take advantage of that.
Sometimes people throw out things that are perfectly usable they just can’t be bothered dealing with the hassles of reselling it or just want to get it out of their house.
This is a great place to find products and items that you may need when building your home, especially if you want something a little more creative.
You could find someone who does mosaic tiling as a hobby and take a few of there designs home for something a little different in your bathroom.
You could also find a local wood craftsman who constantly has off cuts of timber that’s just not useful to him.
You just have to ask and keep an open mind.
Recycling Centers or Even Your Local Tip
If you are allowed to, you may be able to salvage some great building materials for free from the local recycling center or tip.
Often times a lot of things get thrown out because they don’t fit the person’s needs and they can’t be bothered trying to resell them, so they end up at one of these places.
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Some extra things to consider:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or bartering, especially with clearance items as most times the store just want to get rid of it. You can even do this with postings on Facebook marketplace and Gumtree etc – if the add has been up for a while someone is more likely to accept an offer to get it out of their hair. The worst that anyone can say is no.
- Do not forget about cash discounts. If you are willing to pay cash some places will give you a discount just for the method in which you pay. This could be especially useful when looking for materials that cost thousands, you could get 10% off saving you hundreds!
- Get reduced prices on mis-orders directly from the manufacturer. You could do this for practically anything.
- Sometimes all you have to do is ask. If you have a large delivery order you can save money by asking for free delivery.
- If you have to travel to pick up things, calculate the cost of fuel and time as it may not be worth it even if the price is a steal you end up spending more in fuel and time.
- Do not forget to join Facebook groups. Many groups on Facebook require you to become a member to be able to see anything so be sure to join the ones that could be of an advantage to you sourcing materials.
- Take advantage of search alerts to be sure you are the first ones in when something you have been looking for is posted.
- When searching online remember to look under other iterations of the same word ie wood, timber, lumber etc. You never really know what someone will call it.
- Anything that you do not end up using you could probably sell or give away to someone else who is sourcing materials for a project.
- Make sure you know what you need or will need so when it comes available you can jump on it.
Tips and Tricks
- Be creative in what you can reuse, continuously think outside the box
- Keep your design malleable to accommodate for the things you can get at lower prices or free
- Understand that this may take a little time is often worth it in the long run
- Try to keep your materials and products as local as possible as they are easily accessible their prices will be less expensive than things that are required to be imported.
- Keep your design simple and to basic square and rectangular shapes to cut time and cost when building
- Take advantage of the categories when searching online this can save you time and bring up results you did not think it would! Best categories to look through for building materials include:
What are some cheap eco-friendly materials I can build my house with?
There are a variety of options but here is a list of some of the most popular ones (in no particular order):
- Concrete Sheets
- Reclaimed Lumber
- Corrugated Metal Sheets
- Prefabricated Panels
- Re-fabricated Shipping Containers
What are the traditional building materials?
Traditional building materials include:
- Bricks and concrete