How to Get Cheap Lumber

From adding a deck to finishing a basement, you'll need loads of lumber to make your home your own. There's no need to shell out full retail price for building supplies. Steer clear of the big-box home-improvement retailers to get the best deals on cheap lumber. Get creative. You looked for a steal on your living room furniture and kitchen appliances; do the same for lumber. From buying in bulk to shopping online, inexpensive lumber is just a few mouse clicks away.

Look Online

Start your search for lumber suppliers online. Benefit from buying from lumber warehouses, liquidators and wholesalers even though you aren't a contractor or carpenter. Stock up, since minimum orders may be required to get discount pricing.

Local Businesses

Visit local wood mills, cabinetry makers and furniture manufacturers. All of these businesses have scrap wood they plan to discard or sell cheap simply to keep the warehouse clean. Talk with a manager about buying a truckload — which you can expect to load yourself.

Find Discarded Lumber

Recycle used lumber for creative projects. Head to farm auctions or thrift stores to stock up on aged barn wood or half-finished carpentry projects. That unfinished door can transform into a bench seat, while barn wood adds rustic detail to a refinished furniture project.

Contact Lumberyards

Order from your local lumberyard. Explain the several home-improvement projects you have coming up and ask to order in bulk. The retailer will be happy to take your order instead of losing you to a big-box retailer, while you benefit by keeping a few dollars snug in your pocket.

Visit Construction Demolition Sites

Visit construction demolition sites. Many property owners host a day for local contractors to strip the building for usable supplies. You never know what's hiding in those buildings — including stacks of project supplies or reusable wood paneling to complete your basement remodel.

Ask Online

Sign up for recycling forums on the web. Look for posts offering inexpensive or free lumber left over from projects. Although the quantities will be limited, this is an inexpensive way to build up a lumber stockpile to have on hand for smaller home-improvement projects, such as building a raised garden box.

Other Considerations

Before buying any lumber, ask specific questions about uses for the wood. For example, outdoor projects such as fences require pressure-treated wood, also known as green treat. Wood sunken into the ground should have a rating of 0.40 pounds of preservative per cubic foot, while lumber elevated above the ground should have a minimum rating of 0.25 pounds of preservative per cubic foot.

the nest