Here’s a rule of thumb: If you need to get a permit for renovation work, buy the materials new. This includes pipes; electrical wiring, outlets, and switches; water heaters; furnaces; and drywall and lumber. Leftover wood from other people’s jobs can be sourced for smaller projects, but it tends to be runts and can warp from being left outside. But if you need just a few pieces and you’re careful, Building Value (Northside) is a good place to start.
Secondhand lighting is a real bargain everywhere, even in thrift shops such as St. Vincent de Paul and Goodwill. Building Value is the only store I know that will refund you if light fixtures bought there don’t work. Gable Electric Co. (South Fairmount) is your go-to for rewiring.
Tile can be bought used, and there’s quite a variety available. Make sure you buy enough for the space you’re tiling; I get 20 percent overage instead of the usual 10 percent. Flooring is similar. Click-in laminate and linoleum is cheap and plentiful. Even luxury vinyl plank (LVP) can be had used. The ReUse Center (South Fairmount) has the area’s largest selection of both tile and flooring.