Finding Cheap, Free or Salvaged Lumber!

Recently we spent a day visiting three separate building supply stores in our area to get quotes for the off grid tiny cabin. Honestly, I was relieved to see how little our home is going to cost us to build, thank goodness!
shell of our

My concern is we won't be able to purchase the land until later in the summer, and we won't have as much time to build or gather materials before it gets too cold here in the Maritimes. We are planning to move on to the land as soon as we purchase it, live in a trailer while we build and my husband will continue working full-time for 2 or 3 months out side the homestead.

So you can see my concern if a Maritime winter rolls around and we don't have a cabin built! Remember last winter? The trailer would literally, and I mean literally, be buried in snow. Completely. It was a bad winter.

Although we could just buy new lumber, we believe strongly in holding ourselves accountable to our footprint on the environment so when we are gathering materials to build our 16'x20' off grid cabin, we will be looking for salvaged or re-purposed materials before purchasing new lumber. In the province of New Brunswick, which has appropriately been labelled as a 'poor province', finding inexpensive or used lumber for our building project has proven to be difficult. Some of our methods of finding inexpensive lumber include:

Business Parks
There are several business parks within reach that leave all their pallet wood at the side of the street for pick up or, you can talk to the business owner and ask that they set them aside. These will make up our flooring, outhouse and rabbit pen or chicken coop!

When contractors or home owners purchase lumber for a project they occasionally return their left over lumber and it is resold at a discounted price. Although this is new lumber, it can be less expensive. Talk to your local building supply store to see if this is an option and also check to see what the original price was to keep track of what you are spending or saving!

City Wide Clean-Up Programs
Here in New Brunswick, we have two city wide clean up seasons where home owners can place their large garbage at the side of the road for free pick up. One man's trash is another man's treasure! We have seen hardwood flooring, lumber, tiles, and many other useful items sitting at the side of the road. This also means, the streets are very busy with trucks and trailers trying to find the same jackpot as us, but we can take any of these free materials if we find them first! Bring a truck and trailer!

On-line Classifieds
In the U.S. Craigslist is very popular, here in New Brunswick we have Kijiji (translates to 'The Village'). Essentially the same thing, but seems safer. Any of the home renovation materials are typically less than what they would cost new from the building supplies store, but they go very fast! We could have bought a lot of windows for our entire home for $350, but because someone else was able to get there before us we missed out. Be prepared and have cash on hand! You can also place a want ad on the on-line classifieds about your project!

Demolition and Building Contractors

Try reaching out to demolition contractors in your area to see if they have any materials that can be salvaged before they demolish their current project. Sometimes, they salvage the materials themselves to resell and you could also purchase what they have already salvaged. Building contractors are often have left over wood that they will resell also.

Re-use or Second Hand Stores
Another great place to purchase building materials is a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or the equivalent. Typically, their building materials are less than what you would pay new and you are supporting the Habitat for Humanity build new homes for families in need!

Lastly, if you find your self in a position where you need to buy new lumber from a building supply store, often they will give you a discount if you are purchasing a large amount. Your loyalty can mean a lot to them! You can also find quotes from several suppliers like we did last week and ask them to price match!

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