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9 of the Best Ways to Save on Renovation Materials

Adrienne Szabo

Uncompromisingly passionate, focused and diligent, it’s not hard to see why Adrienne Szabo is one of DC’s most trusted and successful real estate ...

Uncompromisingly passionate, focused and diligent, it’s not hard to see why Adrienne Szabo is one of DC’s most trusted and successful real estate ...

May 20 7 minutes read

Let's be real...  A home renovation project of any size can be costly.  

But what if there was a way you could spend less money on material without compromising on quality or design?  

 Materials make up a large part of the renovation cost, so we thought you might appreciate these 9 tips on saving money during your next project.  

Attend an auction

You never know what you’ll find at an auction! You can choose to attend an in-person auction or even an online one. Auctions vary, but you're likely to find furniture, home decor, appliances, cabinets, power tools, hardware and more. Some auctions even feature items from local businesses selling overstock or going out of business, making this an excellent option to save money on perfectly good, brand new items.

Attend yard and estate sales

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Attending yard sales definitely has its pros and cons. You often have to sift through a lot of junk but sometimes you stumble upon some pretty neat finds. Not only are yard sales are great places to find furniture, artwork and other home decor, you may even score leftover flooring, light fixtures, tile, and more. Estate sales usually have more to offer, and you may score bigger ticket items such as appliances, electronics and expensive furniture.

Utilize buy/sell/trade resources

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great places to look for materials, furniture, and other items. You can search by category and keywords as well as set up alerts for when something specific is listed for sale. Many neighborhoods also have Facebook groups for buying and swapping materials, and since these are likely in your 'hood you don't have to worry about the hassle of travel to pick up an item.  We've seen everything from wood flooring to landscape rocks to furniture get swapped.  Some other useful sites for materials include: Plannetreuse.com reusewood.org freecycle.org and diggerslist.com.

Wait for materials to go on sale

For the best deals around, be sure to check your calendar and schedule your renovation during the offseason. The majority of home renovations occur during May through October so supplies are more expensive during those months. With most renovations wrapping up before the holidays, the winter months are often the best time to secure lower prices for your materials. If you are planning on doing any outdoor renovations, be mindful that the weather may play a factor as to when you need to start your project. Keep your eyes peeled for steep discounts on flooring, appliances and more throughout the year.

Scope out construction sites

If you happen to see new homes or businesses under construction, stop by and speak to the foreman or general contractor about picking up any excess windows, lumber or plywood. These materials will most likely end up in the dumpster or landfill anyway so don’t be shy! Ask and you may receive.

Consider scratch & dent

Don’t be fooled by the name! You can visit scratch and dent stores specifically or find the designated aisle in the big box stores to find some substantial markdowns on items such as cabinetry, sinks, tubs, paneling, flooring, and appliances. You’re probably envisioning scratches and dents or at least something wrong with these items but that’s not always the case. It’s possible the boxes could be damaged or open or perhaps the floor model was discontinued to make room for new models. Also once the item is installed, the cosmetic damage is often hidden.  

Contact the manufacturer directly

Did you know you can actually call individual specialty stores and sometimes receive reduced pricing on mis-orders or overruns? You can do this for windows, doors, trusses, roofing, and more. If you are a bit more flexible on design (considering the options may be limited) you can score some brand new materials for a fraction of the retail cost.

Ask your contractor

If you’re planning to use a contractor, it’s a good idea to ask if they have any leftover materials from previous jobs such as flooring or countertops. Depending on their stock and the square footage needed to complete the job, contractors are sometimes willing to sell the materials to you for a discount. This is a win for both you and the contractor since excess stock often ends up in the trash anyway.

Visit your local salvage store or reuse center

The words “salvage store” may be off-putting at first if you’ve never stepped foot in one before. Home salvage stores hunt down usable materials or accept donations, kind of like a thrift store for renovators. Simply Google something like “salvage stores” or “reclaimed building materials” to find options in our area. Depending on the store’s selection, you can find plenty of new or almost new items to choose from.

Additionally, the words “reuse center” can also trick you into thinking that these types of stores only sell old or used materials. It’s true that you will find some secondhand goods but you can also find brand new kitchen cabinets, bathroom sinks, furniture, appliances, home accessories and more. Habitat for Humanity ReStore is one of the most popular nonprofit home-part recycling centers across the country. Builders, designers and showrooms donate their excess materials in exchange for a tax deduction and the public then is allowed to purchase these materials at a reduced cost. Pretty cool right? 

Plus, you'll be helping the environment...


Do you know what most of these tips have in common? You save green while also being green! Reusing and repurposing are immensely helpful to the planet and keep materials out of landfills for decades and even centuries to come. 

Are you renovating with the idea of selling your home?  Let's talk first.  

We love a good home renovation project, so send us your before and after photos.  And if you need advice, feel free to send us a message!  We will happily weigh in on things like colors, trends, and return on investment.

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