Most Commonly Used Metals in the Construction Industry

For those in the construction industry, scrap metal can be easy to overlook; it’s an integral part of the day-to-day job and when you aren’t directly using it, the leftovers can get in your way. Smart contractors and construction workers, though, realize that scrap metal — especially the metals frequently found on job sites — can be a significant source of additional income. 

Gardner Metal Recycling has compiled a handy reference guide of the most commonly used construction industry metals found on job sites so that you can keep an eye out for valuable scrap. Keep reading to learn how you can turn your waste materials into cash.

What Metals Should I Watch Out For?

Here is a quick breakdown of the most commonly used construction scrap metals and where you can expect to find them:  

  • Ferrous metals like carbon steel. This is not only one of the more valuable sources of scrap, and it’s likely to be one of your most readily available. Carbon steel is most often found in framework beams, construction plates, rectangular tubing and rebar. Although carbon steel holds a relatively low value — around 10-20 cents per pound — you can quickly offset that with volume.
  • Aluminum. While the price for aluminum may not be as high as other metals — around 30 cents per pound — it’s prevalent enough that you should be able to stockpile it. Expect to find it in window or door frames, wiring, handles, HVAC ducts and roofing.
  • Copper tubing. Due to its high resistance to corrosion, copper is prized in the plumbing industry, so keep your eyes peeled for this material — especially in the later stages of a job. If you have spare pipes or metal tubing laying around, chances are that it’s copper. Another one of the more valuable sources of scrap, copper currently goes for over 3 dollars per pound.
  • Stainless steel. One of the most common building materials, especially in urban areas, stainless steel is strong, durable and reliable, making it perfect for construction. Frameworks, roofing and handrails are all likely locations to find stainless steel scrap. Depending on the cleanliness of your scrap, stainless steel is generally worth a dollar or two per pound. 

For a comprehensive look at what you can bring to Gardner Metal Recycling, check out our What We Buy page.

What Should I Do With My Scrap? 

So now you know what metals to look for, but what do you do with them once they’ve been located? Ultimately the answer is up to you, but if you plan on recycling your scrap, there are a few good rules of thumb to streamline your process and maximize your profits. 

First of all, always sort your scrap. Keep like metals together so that you don’t have your value decreased by less desirable metals. On a related note, you’ll want to make sure the scrap is as clean as possible, so remove spare bits of wood, paint or other materials that may be mixed in with your metals. Fortunately, this won’t be as much of an issue on a construction site, but it’s still good to keep in mind. 

Once your metals are separated, it’s always good practice to get a ballpark idea of what your scrap is worth. Consult the latest metal prices and weigh your scrap if you are able to. No need to spend too long on this, but if you can get a general estimate, it will help you know whether your scrapyard is giving you a fair price.  

How Can Gardner Metal Recycling’s Experts Help? 

At Gardner Metal Recycling we are happy to make your scrapping process as seamless as possible. Construction companies looking to make the most out of their cleanup process can always expect a fair price from us, along with convenient service and years of construction industry scrap metal recycling expertise. 

If you’ve gathered all your scrap at the end of a job but don’t have the time or vehicles to haul it to a scrap yard, we can arrange a pickup to save you the trouble. Our friendly recycling experts will come directly to you and cut you a check; simple as that. 

If you plan on collecting scrap over the course of a long-term construction job, we’re also happy to provide recycling containers. Let us know when the container is full and we will take it off your hands, pay you and replace the container. 

To learn more about recycling scrap and get a price quote for your scrap metal recycling, contact us today