Where Do You Find Used Building Materials?

| 3/16/2010 11:15:29 AM

Tags: green building, recycling, diy projects, question to readers,

UsedWindowsUsing reclaimed building materials in your home projects is a great way to save money while preventing useful objects from going to a landfill.

Last month, we conducted a poll to see how many people took advantage of used building materials, and the overwhelming majority of those who responded had done so.

We have an article that highlights some places to look for used materials, but now we’d like to know where you go and what techniques you use to find the goods. Does your community have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that stays well-stocked with used lumber? Is there a local construction company that gives away old windows and doors when it remodels a house? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to share stories about your DIY projects that have included used building materials.


10/17/2014 7:06:20 AM

Most of the excellence of SketchUp for the last four years or so have come from the community. Not very much has happened to the core program in terms of modeling features. Now I've never heard of Trimble before. I hope they talk to the community to about what's going on and what their plans are. I'm sure a lot of people are worried, me among them.http://housesforsaleinsedonaaz.com

4/27/2014 8:44:34 AM

I found someone selling very good Anderson Windows (double Hung and Casement/picture) that are very low cost in Warren, NJ. Good opportunity. http://cnj.craigslist.org/mat/4409884381.html Seema

3/26/2014 4:27:07 AM

There is a pallet making company close to where I live. They have pallets that are not of use so they burn them. I asked and they gave me a truck load of pallets. Another place is my local hardware store. They have old pallets that they get rid of. So just ask and I got pallets.

3/25/2014 4:52:52 PM

My husband and I lost our home to a tornado on November 17, 2013 in Illinois. We would like to rebuild our home and are trying to find some cheaper ways to do it, as we have little insurance money left after bank took their share. I was wondering if any of you know of any place (close to eastern IL would be best) that might donate building materials and the like to such a cause. I also started a gofundme.com page at http://www.gofundme.com/7clziw Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

terri f. reilly_2
4/21/2010 2:04:16 PM

ReSource St. Louis, a non-profit environmental organization operating in the St. Louis, Missouri region, offers a FREE Materials Exchange online services that helps divert useable materials from local landfills. The process is simple since those who have usable materials to post can do so online for those who need materials to pick up. Check it out at www.resourcestlouis.org. Did you know that sixty percent of landfilled material is generated by the commercial sector? A large chunk of that “trash” is reusable and can find a productive second life if made available to others. Urge those you know in the building industry to recycle unused materials instead of sending them to the landfill.

treehugger _1
4/16/2010 6:33:45 PM

What a great article! I have just recently started looking for old/used windows, I want to build at least a cold-frame and when I collect massive amounts of windows a greenhouse! I posted this info on my Facebook page, just 2 days ago and one of my friends told me they could get me a dozen or more windows! Plus I found a really awesome place in Pittsburgh, PA (less than an hour away) they have all kinds of GREAT recycled, gently used, salvaged items... almost anything you can dream of! Check it out! www.constructionjunction.org Happy gardening and more!

rand _1
4/16/2010 5:12:00 PM

The standard home construction site steel waste bin is great for wood. 2X4,2X6, of all lengths, and occasional misc. sizes of particle board. It's mostly short pieces which I use for firewood. But sometimes > 12 ft. long. Always ask permission for pieces > 2 ft. that are not in the dump bin. One site, they were rebuilding a whole room and walls. They put 115 2X4s 10 ft. long in my truck and glad to have me haul to save on dump fees. I just had to pull out nails. For windows, occasionally large window/glass retailers will give away old styles, especially if glass is cracked or if one double pane is broken. To use a single pane of glass, put the good glass pane on the outside, then streach a sheet of clear plastic over the inside to keep an air layer insulating. Sometimes if a glass supplier is replacing windows in a house, they'll let you take away the old windows they are replacing. This old single pane glass is good for greenhouses, an outside solar wall, etc.

4/16/2010 12:53:46 PM

Of course I love freecycle and craigslist, but in Washinton we also have seattle@seconduse.com, Restore and Earthwise. Since finding Second Use, it has become my favorite outside of the internet sites. People are amazed of all I have done to my newest home of 5 yrs with a little elbow grease and almost nothing or a fraction of what things would cost if I had to pay out. Recycle and composting is the only way I think as I do my share to keep things out of the landfills and our oceans clean.

4/16/2010 10:04:25 AM

Keep your eyes pealed for commerical reroofing of flat roof buildings like schools, etc.... When the local school district put a new tar and gravel roof on their high school, the roofing company discarded the old roofing. Under the tar and gravel layers are 1-1/2" thick 4x8' sheets of insulation foam. One sheet is equal to two 3/4" foam sheets sold at the home centers for a cost of at least $10 each. The roofing crew, at first, was stomping the thick foam sheets into smaller pieces, but when it began filling up huge debris dumpsters the length of a semi-trailer, they began stacking them and tying them down with plastic tarps in the rear school parking lots. I asked the roofing company's foreman it I could have some. He said "Sure, just don't get the new ones." I rented an open U-Haul trailer and hauled home over 100 sheets for the trailer rental charge of $40. 100 old thick sheets = 200 new foam sheets X $10 each = $2,000 worth of insulation!!! My workshop now has the heavy heat and cold load walls on the West and North side insulated equal to R-50...

3/23/2010 9:04:18 AM

Love freecycle and also find lots thru craigslist. Have created all my duck housing, garden fencing, pretty much anything in my backyard from those websites, free! www.whatupduck.com

3/22/2010 10:07:21 AM

We've made a barn out of recycled shipping pallets... It's described on our farm blog. There's quit a few things that might be of interest to this community ... Enjoy! I love building from recycled things :) http://royalpaca.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-barn-made-of-recycled-shipping.html

3/22/2010 8:14:19 AM

freecycle.org is the first place we post when looking for building materials, we got some great old windows via freecycle that we made into a little greenhouse. Habitat Restore is a great source and locally (Canton, Oh) we have a place called The Stockpile that sells donated overstock, scratch & dent and construction leftovers that they sell for a fraction of the original cost, they also have great vintage stuff.

karen tipsword_1
3/21/2010 11:51:30 AM

Tony and I have been confirmed "pack rats" for years. As a grader/construction person, Tony has reclaimed and stored many items for the perfect time to re-use them. As we are now building and operating a campground in Murphy, NC, everything is coming in handy. We salvaged a cabin that had been empty for 30 years, roofing it with the commercial steel roofing he had salvaged 8 years ago. We have also roofed the chicken coop, storage shed, carport, modern "outhouse", and will have enough to roof the pavilion this year. Much of the wood we use is literally from tree on our property, through our own sawmill, and then put into use. Our neighbor is also a pack rat, so we can check with him to see what he has if we don't already have it. We bought our water heater from him. (cheap) Our open shelving in the cabin is from one of our own trees that had to come down, beautiful birdseye maple 3 inches thick with the wild edge left on. Too many things to mention that we had stored for many years are finally being re-used to wonderful effect.

3/21/2010 8:05:48 AM

We are fixing a 1872 one room school and are looking for items such as wood and windows and other things .Does anyone in our area no of a place that recycles and anything from demo houses or from suppliers .

jay rowe_2
3/19/2010 8:39:50 PM

Craigslist and ReHouse (www.rehouse.com), and I'm surprised the article didn't mention bmra.org - they have a great directory of businesses that provide salvaged materials.

3/19/2010 6:57:20 PM

Oh boy, I have several sources for used lumber.My father was a contractor for over 60 years,so anything I need either my brother or father usually have.Where I work our sheet steel,aluminium and such comes in on oak or maple 4 x 4 10 foot long pallets and it is suprising how few knots they have.I have built a shed,a shop with these.Our condensers get shipped in pallets with 1 x 6 southern yellow pine so thats used for flooring.Lots of SYP 2 x 4's too,and am told it must go or else.So yes,go around industrial parks and such,will be amazed at what you'll run into and yes..ASK FIRST!

3/19/2010 4:07:59 PM

Up here in northwestern MN folks buy old houses to move. Our house was built in 1902 as a railroad workers boarding house. and moved up here to Kittson county. It's twin is still in Newfolden about 20 miles south of here. Then the owner went to an auction in 'the twin cities' (Minneapolis/St. Paul area) and bought some architectural features from a Pillsbury mansion that had fire damage. This included the fireplace mantel and surround, some huge pillars for the entry and banister, etc. Since we haven't been able to sell this place when my husband went into the nursing home (which includes 9.86 acres of woods and some meadow next to hunting land), I plan on making either a green house type structure or something like that with the old storm windows and different size wood that was laying around here after other projects. I recycle, reuse and trade as much as I can. So this house is just part of the lifestyle I have chosen.

3/19/2010 3:38:14 PM

Here in Bucks County (just north of Philadelphia, PA), we have a great store, run by Habitat for Humanity, called 'ReStore'. It's located at: 31 Oak Avenue Chalfont, PA 18914-2805;(215) 822-2708. The have EVERYTHING! From Books and dishes and TVs, to Bathtubs, wallboard, paint, hardware, cinderblocks, etc!! And CHEAP!

3/19/2010 2:28:10 PM

Our deck is made from treated lumber salvaged from porches on trailers that a nearby school system was using for temporary class rooms. The school was going to throw the wood away and we heard about it and asked if we could have it. They said sure, take it all, so we did. All it cost us for the deck was labor and screws. It's great.

lisa d.
3/19/2010 1:54:35 PM

We've found used materials waiting to be picked up by the trash man, by the side of the road, where old buildings are being torn down, at Habitat's Re-Store, through freecycle, or by reusing things from our own house in new and different ways.

carl vasiliou_2
3/19/2010 11:35:24 AM

I'm currently lookig for materials for boxes and glass for the top to cover my homemade solar panels. Any tips on what to use and or where to find them?

carl vasiliou_2
3/19/2010 11:32:27 AM

We found 2" x 8" and 2"x 4"s where my brother works. They got in new conveyors and the crates were huge. we built a 14'x13' deck next to our used pool. He said they got more stuff in,with lots of 4"x4"s. I see new posts this year for the deck rails. so far I have purchased 3 boxes of screws and three gallons of stain. That's cheap for a pool side paradise. I got free lumber and they did not have to use there own man power, or pay for disposal. everyone wins. So do not be afraid to cruise the industrial parks for free materials. Just make sure you have permission! or its dark!!!!! Just kidding!!!!1

edith spitz_2
3/19/2010 10:51:40 AM

Here in South Florida, I find my supplies at a recycling center named Trash to Treasure. This not for profit center was started by a wonderful group of people. The center accepts materials from businesses and individuals throughout the county. Members join the center and pay a once a year membership fee. For more information on Trash To Treasure Creative Reuse Center. http://trash2treasurefl.org Most of my projects around the home have been completed with materials from the Center including two mosaic tiled decks that no one believes where created with reused materials.

3/19/2010 10:50:20 AM

We've found things through Craigs List, and the Habitat ReStore. But most of these resources are 50 miles away. The best thing's we've found have been from auctions. We missed out bidding on some concrete block, and found out it hadn't sold so we got it for $100. About 2,500 12" and bigger blocks! It took a while to move them, but we are building a house and where can you get that kind of a deal! Also word of mouth works really well. Getting to know a contractor, or doing some work to help prepare for auctions. My husband was helping an uncle clean things out for an auction and found boxes of glass doorknobs we can have for free that were taken out of a parish when it was remodeled. And I love glass doorknobs!!!

3/19/2010 9:12:34 AM

I love the newsletters, thanks I have over 25 years of M.E.N. magazines, and all 4 DVD's.

jenny rasico
3/18/2010 9:28:47 AM

I have found it much more of a challenge in rural areas. I check out freeyle.org for the area. That works for smaller needs, but for larger ones, I ask when I see a remodel. For example, I got 17 great used alluminum windows from a remodel just from asking-free! Also several broken wooden windows that I will use for my green house. Kraig's list is also usefull. But the most accessable resource is the flea markets. It takes time and usally you will find one piece at a time, but it is worth the hunt.

3/17/2010 12:16:30 PM

There is a company called Murco Recycling Enterprises that holds home salvage auctions throughout the Chicagoland area, I get all my used materials through them! They typically have really high-end stuff and put the contents of the entire home up for sale in a live auction (which can be pretty entertaining!) The prices are really cheap because you remove your purchases yourself while they're still installed in the home. It can be a pain to remove if you're not super savvy with that sort of thing, but in the end it is totally worth the sweat. I bought an entire kitchen two years ago, got cabinets, appliances, countertops, the whole works and it looks WAY more expensive than what I paid! Totally a must check out for anyone in Chicago looking for used materials!

3/17/2010 5:35:05 AM

I use the Habitat Restore whenever possible. I'm also always keeping an eye out on trash day or even asking people if I notice they have something lying unused next to their garage or in the yard.

3/16/2010 4:19:56 PM

I get mine from ReSource www.resourceyard.org Actually, the project is mostly determined by what is available their. Our chicken coops and raised beds were all made from parts and pieces there.

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