Ways to Get Building Materials Cheap or Free

There’s no denying that building or renovating a house is a major expense – after all, not only do you have to pay for building materials and labor, but also new furniture, pipes, appliances, and everything else you might want to replace in your home while remodeling.

According to the statistics provided by HomeAdvisor, the average cost of building a house is around $290.000. However, it’s important to remember that the cost will vary depending on the size, materials, etc. – it can be anywhere between $147.000 to as much as $436.000. On the other hand, the house renovation price can fall anywhere between $18.000 and $76.000, with an average cost being $46.725. In the end, however, as the experts from HighestCashOffer.com rightfully notice, how much you will pay for it is an individual matter.

What if there was a way of getting what you need cheaper or for free? Take as an example the furniture – you can ask your friends and family if they know someone who is going to throw their furniture away even if it’s in good condition, or you can visit the Facebook Marketplace – people usually sell these things for peanuts.

The same thing happens with building materials. Here are a few ways in which you can get them either cheap or completely free.

Look on Craigslist / Facebook Marketplace

This is probably one of the most obvious places you can use to look for cheap building materials – almost everything can be found there, from shipping pallets to appliances for your kitchen and bathroom.

While there is a specific free section, sometimes people would put their items in other sections or post it with other products for sale, just briefly mentioning that the particular item is free of charge. So, when looking for materials on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, aside from the ‘Free’ category, it might be worth also checking ‘Materials,’ ‘Farm,’ ‘General,’ ‘Household,’ and ‘Garden’ sections.

Remember to always use a few iterations of one item, as people can call it in multiple ways – for example, a laundry tub is often also called laundry sink, or utility tub. They all mean the same thing – it’s just people that call it differently.

What’s more, just like people post that they have something for sale, you can create a post letting people know that you are in need of building materials – sometimes people have those things, but just don’t bother with making their own post about it. Even if they don’t, they might know about such places and can recommend them to you in the comments.

Find Auction Houses

Auction houses are another place in which you can find almost everything – starting from things as small as tools to complete furniture sets. While plenty of them are located in the rural and metropolitan areas, if there isn’t one in your neighborhood, there’s nothing to worry about – there are plenty of them online. The auctions houses usually receive their materials from local businesses that just wanted to get rid of them and make space for new inventory.

Additionally, suppose you have already or are planning on opening your own business. In that case, you should consider checking those auction houses before ordering new equipment that can cost you even several thousand dollars, as you might find what you need for close to nothing.

Check Building Reuse Centers

Check your area to see if there are any building reuse centers near you. They sell building materials at a low cost because they received most of them for free. Some of their sources are:

  • Demolitions – in most cases, an architectural salvage team goes inside the building before it is destroyed and removes the usable parts, including the windows, bathroom fixtures, doors, etc.
  • New constructions – when a building is constructed, there are often several leftover materials, all in perfect condition. Instead of having to pay for storing them somewhere, where they’ll wait for when they are needed, the builder can just pass them to the reuse center, for which they often receive a tax credit for the donation (as the majority of reuse centers is run as a nonprofit charity)
  • Renovations – if you, as a homeowner, have just renovated a part of your house, such as the kitchen or the bedroom, instead of throwing away the perfectly fine old furniture, and paying for it, you can just donate it to the reuse center, so that other people can make use of them. Contractors can and often do the same thing, as it saves them the cost of disposal.

What can you find in a building reuse center? Almost everything. There are plenty of appliances, such as dryers, refrigerators, or dishwashers; floor coverings; furniture, such as bed frames, dressers, or sofas; insulation; paint and painting supplies; and so on.

Look For Demolition Listings

Demolition listings are put up by property owners who are going to demolish the house. Often, before that happens, they open the house for anyone who is willing to perform their own demo work for free or cheaply priced items.

What you can find depends solely on the owner and whether there were things that they wanted to keep for themselves. However, in most cases, the owners don’t want anything, which means that you can find almost anything that is normally located in a house – including flooring, cabinets, doors, windows, trim, and so much more.

Returned, Mis-Matched, or Incorrect Orders

Mistakes happen, especially when it comes to ordering things, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that stores often have a pile of stock that either got returned or wasn’t what the store has ordered (e.g., the color was wrong). They often just take up space in their depository.

While it might not be useful for them, it might be useful to you – especially if you know how you can make it work in your home. The items are very often discounted, resulting in you paying only half or third of the original price (sometimes even less).


Is there anything that you don’t need anymore in your apartment? If the answer is yes, then a good idea would be to find someone who is willing to trade with you. A great place to look for such people is Facebook, however, many newspapers and online websites might have an area saved for trades, which is why they are also worth checking.

Another thing that you can do is to offer cleaning out the basement or a storage building in exchange for its content – people often tend to keep things that they bought too much of during a renovation in those places, so you might hit a bullseye.

Some Extra Tips

There are many places where you can find materials for cheap, some of which we shared with you above. However, we also have some tips that might be quite useful when doing so.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount in the store – especially when it comes to clearance items, as they are often just a nuisance that the store wants to get rid of. You can do the same with Facebook Marketplace – if an item has been listed for a while, the person who put it up for sale is more likely to accept your proposition and sell it to you for less
  • In some places, there’s a chance of getting a discount if you are paying with cash. This is especially useful when you are paying thousands of dollars for materials, as getting even a 10% discount can save you tons of money.
  • If you found things that are quite far from you and you have to go pick them up, before you finalize the transaction, calculate how much you will pay for fuel as it might simply not be worth it – you might end up spending double of what you paid for materials on fuel.
  • Join Facebook groups dedicated to selling or giving away building materials, as many of them require you to be a member in order to see what is posted.
  • Use search alerts – often, when you are looking for something but cannot find it on a specific website, a window will pop out with the ‘search alert’ options, which means that if the item you were looking for is posted, you will be one of the first ones to know.
  • If you are looking online, remember to search up different name variations of the same word – as we already mentioned, people can call one thing with another name, which means that they are most likely going to post it under that name.

The Bottom Line

As you can probably imagine, building or renovating a house is something that will definitely put a dent in your pocket – after all, there are so many things that need to be paid for, starting from construction materials and ending with the appliances and decorations that you want to have in your new home – not including the labor costs.

However, there are many many ways in which you can get either cheap of free materials – some of which we shared above. Contrary to what some people might think, they are not that hard to find – as long as you know where you should be looking. We hope that our article helped you with that. Good luck!

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