With Aotearoa New Zealand’s severe shortage of building materials driving up prices at the hardware store, scrap metal and leftover building materials in your garage could now be worth their weight in gold.
Your old doors, scrap wood, faucets, and jars of unwanted nails might not be enough to keep the building industry going, but depending on the condition they’re in, they might be worth be sold on Trade Me or Facebook Marketplace to do-it-yourselfers, renovators and people who want to complete small projects without having to wait weeks for materials to arrive.
In February, Trade Me saw the selling price of building materials jump 27% year-on-year, to an average of $163.67. The number of items listed also jumped 7%.
“There’s no doubt the construction industry is feeling the effects of supply chain shortages, and we’re seeing this reflected in our onsite construction and renovation category,” says Lisa Stewart, Head of Trade. My Marketplace.
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The biggest jump in interest on the site was in the panels and planks category, which saw a 49% increase in sales compared to February 2021.
West Auckland sole trader builder Mike Glamuzina was sent Thing a screenshot of a Trade Me auction where bids for 26 sheets of Gib Cardboard had exceeded $5100. The same product is normally offered for sale at Bunnings for $33.82 per sheet before any trade discount applied, meaning the auction winner paid approximately six times the regular price. Another Trade Me auction saw bids on a stack of 50 plasterboards rise above $6000.
Searches for plasterboard trended “more than any other category on site”, while the most popular searches in the construction and renovation category last month were “kitchen”, “cabin” and “Makita” (the brand power tools).
So watch out for decluttering: if you have those unloved things lurking in your garage, there are Kiwi DIYers out there looking for them.
“Any piece of wood longer than 1.2 meters starts to come in handy for a small project,” says Jeremy Gray of Builderscrack.co.nz
Gray used Trade Me and Marketplace when planning a project that isn’t time-sensitive, to see what he could get for less or avoid going to landfill. He sees Trade Me as the place for “higher priced items,” while Marketplaces is “more like a garage sale.”
He says items like unused Gib and plywood are also sought after by “do-it-yourselfers” and people looking to convert sheds and garages into living spaces.
These projects also make leftover insulators such as Pink Batts and Greenstuff valuable online as well. Builders and installers typically throw away scrap insulation, Gray says, but bags of it pop up on Trade Me and Marketplace from time to time.
“It’s not a bad approach to buy a few balls here and there so you have enough to get the job done in about a week, instead of having to place an order and wait a few months.”
For items, such as metal pipes, shelves, or offcuts, scrap dealers will pay by weight, depending on the metal. They’ll take everything from air conditioners to coke cans, engine parts to old windows. A site we checked listed more than 30 items they would take awayliterally including the kitchen sink – presumably stainless steel.
Engine parts, drill bits, and hot water tanks were requested by nearly every scrap dealer we reviewed.
“They will pay a price based on the weight of the metals,” says Gray. The metals must be separated, otherwise they will give you a price for mixed metals which will usually be a bit lower.
“They’ll usually pay a set price for the low pressure valves and hot water cylinders because they’re mixed up and need to be broken down further. But you can bring almost any metal to a scrappy and they’ll give you money for it. “
Other materials in high demand were vintage building materials.
“If you’ve removed old windows and the wooden joinery is rimu, that’s often highly sought after by woodworkers. Any kind of native wood, if it can be kept, that’s fine. “
Five valuables in your garage to watch out for:
Old and solid doors
“People use them for all kinds of things, from bookshelves, to build tables, to doors in sheds,” Gray said.
Hardware such as shelf brackets, door rails and hinges, as well as old kitchen cabinets and cupboards are in demand among DIYers.
“This stuff is hot, because people are always looking to build storage in their sheds.”
It’s rare that there’s unused Gib left over from a professional construction project, but you might have some from a home project. “If the Gib has been used, or comes out of a refurbishment, then it’s pretty much useless.”
Screws, nails and other fasteners
“There can be some very expensive fasteners that can be overlooked by construction projects, especially nail gun nails, which are definitely worth listing.
“It’s easy to get boxes of nails for [a big project], and only half of the box remains. That might be enough to complete a smaller project.”
“If a shed or garage has been demonstrated and [corrugated iron] the roof is in good condition, it is precious.