6 Cheap Building Materials to Have On Hand for Home Repairs

Being a homeowner is a great joy. There’s a certain feeling of accomplishment and pride that you can experience when you know you’re in your own home, and you can do whatever the heck you please, arrange things how you please, and have the pleasure of laying out your own rules.

But being a homeowner can also be a big pain at times. Things break, things happen, and home repairs are inevitable. When they do, it’s always better to be prepared. Make sure you have these cheap building materials to have on hand for home repairs, and you’ll be ready for all sorts of jobs that are going to need your attention.

Foam Insulation

foam insulation

Spray foam insulation is always good to have on hand. This is a great go-to for any number of home repairs. Spray foam comes right out of a spray can, so you can point it anywhere and use it as insulation or to strengthen loose pipes and make other repairs.

It expands in place, so you can use it to add extra insulation to an attic, crawl space, an area under a sink, or around pipes and ductwork. You can use it around a loose showerhead or toilet to hold these items in place. It’s got a bunch of different uses, so it’s definitely a handy item to keep around.

It can be somewhat messy to apply spray foam, and it’s not the cheapest building material on this list by far. However, it is a more affordable alternative than some of your other options for making the same repairs that spray foam can tackle. It’s not exactly easy to use spray foam, but there are DIY kits available, and if you work carefully, you can use this material on your own.

Spray foam DIY kits vary in cost, depending on how much foam is in the kit and whether the foam is closed-cell or open-cell foam. You will spend anywhere between $300 to $800 for a single kit. Having spray foam installed as insulation for a home costs upward of $1,000, depending on the size of the home. When you get the hang of using spray foam, you’ll find it much easier to work with.


hand painting yellow on wall

Paint is absolutely one of the most inexpensive and easy ways to spruce up your home. The doors, the trim, the walls, the furniture, even the cabinets can be painted to give them a fresh look. This is an easy way to make everything look nicer, and it’s a good idea to have cans of the paint used in your home on hand. Doing little touch-ups can make a huge improvement. The little details make a huge difference.

Keep paint and painting supplies on hand so you can perform touch-ups and upgrades easily. You will want to have a couple of paint rollers and some brushes, along with a paint tray or two.

The great thing about paint is that anyone can learn how to use it around the house to paint walls, trim and any other area where you want to have paint. It doesn’t take any special skill and you’ll get the hang of it rather quickly.

You can spend a lot on paint if you really want to, but you can find paint as affordably as $20 per gallon. A single gallon of paint can cover a lot of wall space. So look for quality paint in colors you like that don’t break the bank, because no one needs super expensive paint.

Drywall Compound

Dents, holes and nicks happen to your walls. No matter what you do or how careful you are, damage is going to happen. You are going to have chunks of walls missing because that’s life. That’s why it’s a good idea to always keep drywall compound on hand. You can patch the wall using this, allow the wall to dry, and then paint it to cover up the area.

You can get a tub of sheetrock, which is used for walls, or an all-purpose joint compound for drywall for about $20 at just about any home improvement store. Patching the wall and repainting will cost you far less than hiring a professional.


woman caulking window

From sealing cracks in window and door frames to repairing tile in the bathroom, caulk is indispensable. There are many uses for this material, so there’s no reason not to keep a supply of it around. Just keep caulk handy because you will find many uses for it, and you will need to make many repairs with it.

Caulk is one of the cheapest home repair materials you can buy, with tubes of it running as low as $4 each. It’s also very easy to use. Anyone can figure out how to caulk. It’s easy to use, and it can be applied to any number of home repairs, so it’s a great idea to keep some around at all times.


hand applying concrete on wall

Quick-mix concrete comes in more handy than you might think. There are all sorts of reasons why you might need this stuff. Patching holes and fixing cracks in your walkway can keep things looking nice.

Fixing cracks and damage to your foundation can protect your home from much bigger and far more costly future repairs. Keep some quick-mix concrete handy so you can patch cracks and holes as soon as you notice them, repairing them before they get any worse.

Concrete seems like something complicated and difficult to use, because it will harden and become immobile. However, anyone can learn how to make quick patches to concrete and this stuff is very inexpensive. You can get several pounds of quick-mix concrete for as little as $10. That’s a small price to pay to make repairs that could save you big in the future.


person using nail gun on plywood

You may not do a ton of building with plywood, but when you need to make some quick home repairs, this stuff is great to have around. A sheet of plywood can allow you to quickly patch a problem while you work on a more permanent fix, and there are many ways you can use plywood around the house to create quick solutions.

Plywood can be used to make anything, from a simple shelf to a new panel to fix a hole in a door or a cabinet. Paint the plywood and use it as an inset in a door or cabinet after cutting out the portion around a hole, and now you have a custom design.

Compared to other lumber, plywood is one of the most affordable materials you can buy. Depending on the thickness and quality of the plywood, you’ll spend about $6 to $45 for a sheet of plywood, which is several feet long and wide.

Plywood is easy to cut, sand, and drill or hammer through. With plywood and two-by-fours, you can actually build just about anything you want. Plywood can also be painted or sanded to give it any kind of look you want, which is why it’s such a popular building material.

Cheap Building Materials You Need for Home Repairs

Keep some cheap materials on hand for home repairs so that you can be ready for all that stuff that’s going to end up happening around your home. When you have the stuff you need to make repairs and fix problems, you can keep your home looking great and prevent facing even bigger home problems in the future.

Your home is your palace, and sometimes, that means you are both the ruler and the maintenance person. Be prepared for the maintenance, and you will get to enjoy being the ruler even more.

Home Repair Materials FAQ

couple with laptop and tools

What Kind of Tools Do You Need for Common Home Repairs?

In addition to the building materials you want to have on hand, keep some tools ready for use. You can’t really make a lot of repairs unless you have the tools to make it happen.

Keep a hammer and nails of several types, including drywall nails and wood nails. Make sure you have both kinds of screwdrivers and some screws in various sizes as well. These are standard items you can find in even the most basic toolkits.

You’ll need plumber’s tape, duct tape, and electrical tape as well. Tape has around a hundred uses when it comes to home repair. Don’t forget a level and a tape measure, items you’ll use more than you think. A plunger to deal with clogs is always needed. And don’t forget sandpaper, sponges, cleaning cloths, and protective gear, including gloves and eye protection.

Assemble some basic tools and supplies that are used in order to make home repairs, and you really will be ready to handle lots of stuff that’s going to end up happening around your home.

The more you use your tools and make home repairs, the more comfortable you will be and the more you’ll feel bold enough to take on bigger projects. Soon, you’ll be making all sorts of improvements and taking on all kinds of DIY tasks.

Should You Be Using Cheap Materials or Spending More for Expensive Stuff?

Doesn’t cheap imply that something is poor in quality? Should you actually be trying to shop for cheap materials…or is it better to buy the more expensive stuff? Remember that cost does not always equal quality.

Many home building materials are highly affordable and yet just as effective as those more expensive options. You don’t have to spend more on expensive materials because the cost implies that they’re better. For lots of repairs, the cheaper materials are just as effective and just as good as the pricier options.

If you’re unsure about what you’re buying, look for online reviews and information. Do the research so you can feel more confident about your buying decisions and ensure that you will be getting your money’s worth, whether or not you’re spending a small amount of money.

Other consumers know what’s good and what works, so a little research into the reviews can really help steer you toward the right products and building materials.

Are There Ways to Get Even Cheaper Building Materials for Your Home?

Want to step up your money-saving game even more? Get creative, and you can get even more cheap building materials. Keep an eye out and an ear to the ground, as they say, to look for opportunities. Yard sales, demolitions, and big renovation products can all be a source of good used materials.

If anyone you know is tearing down a bathroom or finishing a basement, ask them for any leftover materials they might have. You might find some good materials that you can save for later projects and repairs.

Shop for stuff at yard sales and keep an eye out for season-ending sales and clearance sales at home improvement stores, when you might be able to nab some materials on the cheap because the business needs to clear the shelves for newer stuff.

Take advantage of opportunities as you find them, and when you need to make home repairs, you won’t have to spend a ton of money getting the stuff you need to make them.

How Can You Learn the Right Techniques for Making Repairs?

No one is born just knowing how to fix stuff, and even being a homeowner won’t make you a home repair expert. When you know that something needs to be done to make a repair, but you don’t have a clear idea of how to make it happen, look online.

You can find lots of tutorials that can guide you through the repair process and tell you what you need to do to make common fixes around the home. Once you learn some of these techniques, you’ll find that you can use your skills to fix a wide range of problems around the house.

Further Reading

How to Apply Caulk Properly

How To Use Spray Foam Insulation Kits

Plywood 101

Using Drywall Compounds Properly