Easiest to Find Recycled Building Materials

Tiny Texas Houses builds homes with 99% recycled materials
Tiny Texas Houses builds homes with 99% recycled materials

You can blow through a lot of money in a hurry at building supply centers. For many, buying all new materials isn’t practical. Instead of buying new, you could help demolish a building, trade work, etc. Let’s start a list of the easiest to find recycled building materials. Suggestions are welcome.

Lumber, doors, door hardware, sinks, bathtubs, tile, paint, wood stain, pallets, wire, assorted nails and screws, twine, scrap wood, scrap metal, buckets, cabinet hardware (knobs, pulls, drawer slides), glass bottles (bottle windows), plastic sheeting, tarps, poly or nylon straps (tie-downs), bricks

– Look for higher quality faucets and windows (you might lose money on low quality windows due to heat loss)
– Avoid: particle board/pressed wood cabinets, sheeting and trim, plastic trim, vinyl wallpaper, treated/preserved wood, old carpet, foam padding, moldy materials
– Bigger cities/nicer neighborhoods have the best selection
– Network with building professionals to buy used materials direct
– Get to know people who own or work for demolition companies, scrap yards, construction companies, etc.

Image source: Tiny Texas Houses.com
(click to see some very interesting photos in their gallery)

8 thoughts on “Easiest to Find Recycled Building Materials”

  1. I’m really glad that you mentioned being able to save some money on building supplies through using some recycled materials. I think that if we could find some of the things you mentioned like doors, bathtubs, and cabinets from a used source, we’d be able to save a ton of money. I’m going to have to look into some local options where I could get some of these building supplies and hopefully get some stuff that’s still in pretty good shape!

  2. We have found tons of building supplies very cheap at our H4H Re-Store. Namely, gutters and stove pipe, house paint, tiles, lumber, fencing, kitchen/bath fixtures, lighting and appliances. When our store gets too much inventory on hand, they have a 50% off day. This is a real chance to save!

    We have also collected old wooden pallets from warehouses that were giving them away- some are made from decent wood.

    We got a truckload of flagstone for $30 from the quarry because the pieces weren’t big enough to put on a pallet and ship to major home stores. There were still many large pieces that worked great for making our hearth and backyard walkway.

  3. Tulsa has a Habitat for Humanity salvage store. You can buy reclaimed windows, tubs, fixtures and furniture at ridiculously low prices. Pretty neat stuff actually. I’m sure there are other H4H stores out there.

    • Habitat Re Stores: http://www.habitat.org/restores/

      That’s a good way to find recycled materials, and the money is going toward a good cause. Thanks for reminding me.

      I went to a Habitat Re Store presentation about 10 years ago. One of these stores in a major city makes about $1 million/year. The materials are donated and so there’s a very high profit margin. This presentation swayed the Habitat affiliate I was working with to start one.

  4. It’s a sign on the economy…

    In most parts of the USA, there are actually “salvage crews” that will help you “remove” contents, in exchange for same… Who knew…?

    The times, they be a changin’…


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