Next time you decide to improve the outside appearance of your home, you may be able to get a little payback from the old materials if they are manufactured from some type of metal.
Gutters and Downspouts
The most obvious source would be gutters and downspouts, which are usually made from aluminum or steel. The same is true for metal siding. The best way to tell the difference is to use a magnet, which will stick to steel but not aluminum. It’s possible you have vinyl siding, which also will not stick to a magnet. Obviously, aluminum will make a metallic noise when you strike it with another piece of metal, so it’s easy enough to differentiate from vinyl, which is non-metallic.
The same rules apply to soffit or fascia, basically any exterior surface you remove from your home. Your local recycler will probably pay around 8 to 10 cents per pound for the steel, and 30 to 50 cents per pound for the aluminum. It is rare to have access to a market for scrap vinyl, but you can always ask.
Doors and Windows
When replacing metal storm doors or windows, you usually end up with aluminum scrap. Once you remove the glass, you have an item that is worth 5 or 10 cents per pound. If you take the time to remove everything that is not aluminum, you can bump that yield up to 40 to 60 cents per pound. Latches, screws, corner pieces, and weather stripping have to come off to get top dollar for the frames.
Follow similar guidelines for awnings. A word of caution: say you have an aluminum awning, and you check the screws with a magnet, finding they do not stick. Does that mean the screws are aluminum, since they obviously are not steel? Unfortunately, aluminum screws are fairly rare, and manufacturers will use stainless steel screws, which also will not stick to a magnet. They won’t rust like ordinary steel will, so they preserve the “clean” appearance of the awning over the years rather than creating rust-colored streaks from rainfall.
If you have a torch, you can heat up a screw – it if melts, it’s aluminum! If it simply turns red, it is stainless. In the latter case, you will get around 5 to 10 cents per pound for the awning. Aluminum that is stripped clean will bring more like 30 to 50 cents per pound.
Other metal items to look for include turbines and vents attached to your roof as well as old TV antennas and poles. Anything constructed from metal has value and can put a little spending money in your pocket.
About the Author: David Fusselman is the owner of Fusselman Salvage, a full-service recycling center in Moberly, MO. Since 1947, purchasing scrap metal has been their specialty. Find out more information about scrap metal and recycling at his website, www.FusselMetals.com, or find more of Dave’s writings on his Google+ page.