Suggestions for sourcing materials for building a shop / shed on the ultra cheap?

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Forum topic by dbhost posted 09-13-2011 06:04 PM 1313 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5726 posts in 3258 days

09-13-2011 06:04 PM

Long story short. I have a friend that lives out in the country, has plenty of land, but not a lot of budget. He has been issued a threat by his wife over the shop in his garage and needs to move it. Mind you, he is here in coastal Texas as well, so no basement to move to. He needs an outbuilding… Now the question he gave me, is how to source lumber / building material for free / cheap to build such a structure. I am pretty sure there are going to be some items that we just can’t get free / cheap but some I am betting we can…

From what I can tell, that which must be paid full price for…

#1. Concrete, rebar, stands, ties and misc hardware for the slab. #2. Electrical components to run power. Luckily he has sufficient power in his main breaker box / service to feed the new building, but we are talking a 50 ft run from where the box is to where the closest wall of the new building will be… #3. Windows. We already sourced those from a mistake order. He got 2 @ $125.00 windows for $25.00. Nice deal, wish I could have snagged them. #4. Window unit A/C. Snagged a “broken” unit from a CL curb alert post. Tore into it and found that it had an internal breaker had tripped. Works good as new, 18K BTU, no remote though… #5. Nails, framing and roofing. This time it was Freecycle. Got a guy was giving away a couple of boxes of framing nails and roofing nails that happened to fit my guns… #6. Caulking. He has tons left over from an old siding project. (at least a case left). #7. Paint. He has an inside track there… #8. Roofing shingles. I had at least 6 packages of shingles that literally my neighbors roofing contractor left on my lawn after they did their roof repairs after Ike… They simply didn’t want to take them away. They don’t match my roof, but they do match my friends place… #9. Door lock / deadbolt set and hinges for man-door. These are takeouts that I had when I had a roomate prior to LOML. He will need to pay to get them rekeyed, but no biggie…

What we want to find cheap / free would be stuff like.

2×4 and 2×6 stock for framing / roof trusses.
Radioant barrier (probably go with radiant barrier roof decking).
Rollup door and associated hardware.
Sheetrock / tape / mud.
Electrical components including panel, outlets, wire, fixtures etc…

He is wanting to build a 24×24 “garage” basically with 10’ ceilings, and here’s the tough part, wants to keep the entire cost under$15K. Can it be done, and how?

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8 replies so far

View Murdock's profile


128 posts in 2510 days

#1 posted 09-13-2011 06:23 PM

Not from your area so I cannot give specifics, but I suggest looking for Habitat for Humanity Restores, Builders Supply Outlets, etc.

The Builders Supply Outlet near me has much of what you are looking for pretty cheaply, not usually things like Sheetrock supplies though. You sometimes have to keep checking back though as the products change over time since it is in many cases one-offs, damaged materials, clearance stock, etc.

Craigslist would be my next suggestion, sometimes people are looking to dump left over items from a project, I did that recently with about 10 sheets of Sheetrock.

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3141 days

#2 posted 09-13-2011 06:57 PM

I don´t know if you have recycling company´s /stores as we have here in Denmark
but at those company´s its often possiple to by most of the thing that has been torn out from
houses etc . for a 1/4 to ½ price of new … jus a thought

and then there is the possibillity of sawmills that has alot of the cutoffs with bark on
can be used as the cover on the outer walls by nailing it one on two


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2997 days

#3 posted 09-13-2011 07:00 PM

Might be cheaper to loose the wife and stay where he is. ;-) just sayin.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#4 posted 09-13-2011 07:00 PM

I had a very similar situation. Here was my resolution. Obviously won’t work for everybody, but if he’s got trees…............

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3258 days

#5 posted 09-13-2011 07:48 PM

Don W. Yeah, He’s got trees… And no crank… Loosing the wife is rarely ever cheaper… Been there done that once, you know what they say right? Love is grand. Divorce is a hundred grand…

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View gdpifer's profile


47 posts in 2706 days

#6 posted 09-13-2011 08:51 PM

It can be done. I built a small shop for about $850.00. See my workshop post. Any questions send me a PM. I can give you more specifics, pix, etc. if interested.

-- Garry, Kentucky

View woodabe's profile


1 post in 2474 days

#7 posted 09-13-2011 09:29 PM

Check out the steel quonset hut type buildings. I just built a 25 X 30—(9ft sides with 13ft center apex) concrete pad, stud end walls with vinyl siding for less than $15k. Kit was $6.5K, concrete was $2K. Just depends how fancy you want to get after that.

View chrisstef's profile


17427 posts in 3033 days

#8 posted 09-13-2011 10:36 PM

You can try the local demo contractors. I cant tell you how many good studs, sheathing, plywood and such i have seen thrown out over the years. A case of beer goes along way to the boys.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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