How to Sell Leftover Building Materials

After finishing up a construction or remodeling project, contractors and DIY homeowners often find they purchased more materials than they used for the job. That raises the question of what to do with the leftover building materials that will recoup some of their purchase price and keep them out of the waste stream.

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Option 1: Keep for the Next Project

Contractors and some handy homeowners might anticipate using the leftover building materials from one project on a future project. In such cases, it might make sense to hold on to those materials rather than sell them, to avoid having to buy the same things all over again.

Assuming that you can use your leftover building materials on a future job, where would you store them in the meantime? Can they be stored out in the open without risk of theft or damaged by the elements? Do you have a secure warehouse or garage to keep them in?

If keeping leftover building materials for future use doesn’t seem to make sense, there are other options for selling or otherwise “rehoming” them.

Option 2: Return for a Refund

It’s possible that some building supply stores will take back unused materials for a refund. But store policy might limit returns to unopened packages. That is the case with many of the big box home improvement stores.

That’s not the only issue with trying to return leftover building materials to the place they were purchased. There usually is also a time limit on returns. Most home improvement stores that impose a time limit allow returns of unopened packages up to 90 days after the purchase date, though some have a 60-day limit on returns.

And then there are the logistical challenges. No retail store is going to send a truck and a couple of workers to retrieve the leftover building materials you want to return. So, unless you have the time, the help, and the vehicle to pack everything up and transport it back to the store, that could be a big problem.

Option 3: Dispose of Them as Waste

If you don’t plan on keeping your unused building materials or returning them for a refund, you get rid of them with the trash. That wouldn’t be unusual, as about 30% of all building materials delivered to a construction site end up as waste. And many of those materials are discarded as waste without ever being used. Given the hundreds of millions of tons of solid waste destined for the nation’s landfills every year, the portion comprising unused building materials is not insignificant.

Everyone should be doing their part to reduce the amount of solid waste that ends up in a landfill. For that reason alone, discarding unused building materials as waste should be the option of last resort. Besides, it doesn’t have any financial benefit for you.

Option 4: Offer for Local Sale

That brings us to the option of selling your unused building materials locally. That could mean putting them at the curb with a “For Sale” sign, if that’s feasible, or advertising them for sale in the local newspaper or on the local Craigslist or other website listing a wide range of items for sale. In any local sale situation, you can make transporting the building materials to their new home the buyer’s responsibility. In some areas there are locally oriented sites like Craigslist that specialize in materials, supplies, equipment, and tools used in construction. However, these sites tend to be relatively few, and still present issues related to shipping or otherwise transporting items to the buyer.

Option 5: Donate Used Building Materials

Rather than consign your leftover business materials to the landfill, why not donate them to an organization that can use them for the benefit of people in need? There are both national and local organizations that build or rehabilitate housing for the underprivileged and can find a good use for leftover materials. You won’t get paid for your donated materials, but you can benefit from the tax deduction for a charitable donation.

Option 6: Sell to a Salvage Company

Perhaps the best option for getting rid of your leftover building materials is to work with a waste management or salvage company that will purchase them for resale or recycling. Selling leftover materials this way is environmentally responsible and still puts some money in your pocket. It shifts the burden of finding the best way to dispose of each specific item from you to a company that is well acquainted with all available options and is committed to maximizing the useful life of building materials and other items.

Contact RepurposedMATERIALS today to find out how we can help you find a new home for the unwanted materials.