Want to Donate Sheet Goods After You’re Done Building? Here’s What You Should Know
Versatile, durable, and cost-effective, sheet goods are a critical component in all kinds of construction projects. They can be used to erect walls, floors, and even cabinetry, yet they’re often overlooked during the deconstruction and donation process. This is undoubtedly because of their own ubiquity, as sheet goods tend to be one of the most common pieces of materials in any sort of building. Consequently, they’re considered something to dispose of, while more expensive elements like hardwood flooring are carefully salvaged during a demo so they can be reused.
In reality, organizations that specialize in materials reuse encourage DIY-ers and construction crews to donate sheet goods. Plywood, particle board, sheetrock, paneling, sheet metal, vinyl, and wood siding are just a few examples of the kinds of materials that are eligible for sheet good donation, so long as they’re in decent, reusable condition.
If you’re planning a new build or home remodel and the project is going to yield some extra sheet goods, here’s what you should know about donating them.
What Constitutes Sheet Goods?
Sheet goods are construction materials that are manufactured in flat expansive planks, or “sheets.” They’re useful in covering large areas, and they’re a great alternative to more expensive and unwieldy materials. Plywood, for example, is often used as shelving.
The manufacturing process of plywood, which consists of laminating thin sheets of wood veneer together, gives it more strength and stability than lumber of the same thickness. Plywood is also much easier to cut to size than traditional hardwood lumber, not to mention cheaper, making it a better choice for completing projects within budget.
Sheetrock, or drywall, offers similar advantages and typically serves as walls inside most modern homes. There’s no real reason to use more costly lumber to cover a home’s inner walls, at least from a practical perspective, when large sheets of drywall will do the job.
Other common types of sheet goods potentially eligible for donation include:
Cementboard: Also known by the branded named “Wonderboard,” Cementboard is a mixture of fibers and Portland cement and has a waterproof backing.
Sheet metal: Sheet metal is a long, thin sheet of metal that can serve in a wide variety of applications as a lightweight and resilient structural frame.
Paneling: Paneling can be used over the drywall to decorate a building’s inner walls. While paneling is not installed in every structure, it is often reusable when cared for properly.
Siding: Siding consists of large swaths of planks that cover the outside of a building. It can be made of a variety of materials, including vinyl and wood.
Glass: Large sheets of glass are often used in windows and mirrors. When salvaged carefully, they can be donated for reuse.
If I Donate Sheet Goods, How Will They Be Reused?
Sheet goods, for the most part, can be reused as they are. Thanks to their durability and versatility, they’re usually structurally sound enough to be reinstalled elsewhere, as long as they were salvaged with care.
Wondering why donating is better than disposing? Let’s consider drywall. The average American home contains more than 15,000 pounds of gypsum drywall. An estimated 75% of this material will end up in landfills. When exposed to humid environments, drywall eventually decomposes, and in the process, it can contaminate local water supplies. By reusing as much of this material as we can, we reduce the negative impact that building and remodeling has on the local environment.
The same goes for plywood. Deforestation just for the sake of new plywood, when we can simply divert it from landfills, is entirely unnecessary.
In What Condition Can I Donate Sheet Goods?
Every nonprofit organization that accepts sheet goods for materials reuse has their own specifications. At Resource Central, for example, we will accept sheet goods in decent condition as long as they meet the following criteria:
Plywood: We accept half sheets or larger.
Sheetrock: We accept ¼” or larger (no mold or water damage).
Paneling: We accept half sheets or larger.
Cementboard: We accept quarter sheets or larger.
Sheet Glass and Mirrors: Various sizes are accepted, but on a case-by-case basis. We cannot accept glass or mirrors with cracks, chips, or glue repairs. We are also unable to accept sheets any larger than three feet by four feet.
Metal: Most sheet metal is acceptable.
Siding: Vinyl siding can only be accepted when it’s new, but used wood siding without nails will be accepted if it’s in good condition.
Donate Sheet Goods to Resource Central
If you’ve got any sheet goods that meet the above criteria and you want to donate them, turn to Resource Central. We’ll gladly accept them for our materials reuse program as long as they’re in good condition. We operate out of Boulder, CO, and we’re happy to come pick up your materials free of charge if you’re in our service area. You can schedule a donation pick up on our website or call 303-419-5418 if you have any questions!