Money Saving Tips For Buying Building Materials

Building materials

Renovating a kitchen or bathroom, or adding onto the home, is the dream of many homeowners and there are many money saving tips that can help to achieve this great project. The thought of new floors, appliances and cupboards is almost like waiting for Christmas as the glossy brochures and vivid internet sites show off an amazing array of new interior and exterior designs. These can be a reality with the right preparation and spending habits.


Every great monument, building or bathroom renovation begins with a plan. Because failing to plan can mean paying a lot more for the project than is necessary, or having to wait a lot longer to get the funds to afford it. The other possibilities of not having a good plan rather than having to stop the project because the money ran out. These are:

  • Seasonal changes in the weather halted the project: snow, ice.
  • The time allotted was too short and the space was needed for the family.
  • The contractor had to move on to another job and doesn't when he or she can get back to this one.

In all these cases the homeowner could be left with unfinished walls, floors or, having a large family, be short one bathroom. Therefore careful planning around a budget is a necessity.

Separate Estimates

Getting estimates from several contractors not only can assure you the real value of the project but  in many cases they will break down the estimate into labour and materials. This will give the homeowner the costs that the contractor will sell the material to his or her own jobsite and, in many cases, this can be inflated.

For example, if a bathroom project is $2600 in labour and $2400 for supplies, if the homeowner can purchase the building supplies, toilet, shower, hardware and other supplies for $1500 then the savings is $900. In addition, a contractor rarely leaves spare building supplies around. These usually go back to the supplier for a credit which then goes to the contractor. Therefore, the homeowner can realize another $50 to $200 in returned supplies.

Sales of the Season

The best time to prepare for a project is when the season is over. An example of this is decking materials. In late summer and early fall pressure-treated deck supplies can sell for up to 60% off the usual price. Landscaping supplies will go on sale at this time too. For bathrooms and kitchens the busy season is the fall so look for sales early in the New Year. This is because building supply stores need the room for the next season's materials and would rather get rid of the stock on hand than have to waste the space on old stock and spend money on labour for storage. In addition they have to pay distributors and excess stock costs in credit interest. Watching the flyers at this time of the year will yield great results especially of the homeowner has done the planning and knows the bottom line on prices. The key is to watch the flyers for the big sales

Another place to get great deals is at a home show. Tons of stock is brought in and no company wants to ship it back to the store. Many blow-out deals occur on the last day of the show. Just bring a truck and cart it away.

In addition, contractors will cut their prices to the bone during slow periods to keep cash flowing. Again, look to early in the New Year for these price cuts.

Liquidation Stores

When large construction companies finish a project they usually have tons of materials left over. This is because most projects are overstocked so that there will enough material if something happens to part of the shipment. In the case of floor tile, a shortage of material may cause problems with getting the exact colour and design. If everything goes right on the site the company may have hundreds of cartons of tile left over and these are sold to liquidation stores. These suppliers also handle fire sales, slightly damaged products and discontinued lines. In some cares a shipment of drywall may have one corner that is crushed. The national retailer may refuse to accept this shipment and the liquidation house sells it for up to 70% off. 

There are many stores that sell products that have been purchased from construction sites or at  manufacturers' discounts. In most large construction sites there are items like tile, carpet, hardwood flooring, windows and other items that are left over and these stores buy them up. Some products like drywall may have superficial damage on the corners or other nicks that a professional drywaller can easily cover over. For this inconvenience the price may be 30% of what the product costs on the shelves of chain stores. Factory seconds, where a manufacturing flaw makes them unacceptable as first-rate products, are also good deals.

Used Material Stores

The emergence of second-hand building materials stores has made many renovating items cheaper. One of the reasons for the popularity of these outlets is that construction companies are no longer allowed to dump excess building materials or remnants of demolished buildings. This is because almost 30% of landfills used to contain discarded building materials. Many construction companies were dumping perfectly-good materials because of time and money considerations. These new laws encourage sorting and recycling and many of these products are donated to depots that raise money for charities like Habitat for Humanity.

The other market is for reclaimed items for period homes like Victorian crown mouldings and staircases. Lead-glass windows and other pieces like mahogany mantles are also sold at these stores and be refinished for 1/10th of the price that it would take a cabinet maker to craft new ones.

Classified Ads

The classified ads and bargain-hunting newspapers are also great places to find materials. These can range from a truck-load of styrofoam insulation recycled from a demolition site to a set of almost-new kitchen cabinets that a homeowner decided to change out. There are also many new internet sites that post these deals by the minute.

For more information on getting a handyman to help you out with your household projects consult our Contractors Directory, or simply go online at and post your project. Professionals are ready to give you estimates.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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