This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been checking Craigslist’s “materials” (ie: “building materials”) section for months. Today: free siding. Good stuff: manufactured wood with a faux cedar grain and a pre-primed surface. Ready for paint. Somebody who worked for a builder took it home from a jobsite instead of putting it in the dumpster. Now – two years later – he has a new job, and his wife is tripping over his stacks of siding. Life rules.
I knew I had to be quick. Free stuff valued over half-a-damn goes quick. I didn’t ask for detailed measurements or further information. I politely asked how soon I could pick it up.
I was lucky contestant number one. The siding was about an hour away, and I got a detailed location to point my van at. (It’s times like this where I am incredibly happy to have stood by my van and avoided the temptation to trade for something smaller.) The siding guy was friendly and he even helped me load up. Each siding panel was 6 1/2″ wide by 16 feet long. Even with my awesome van, I had about four feet of siding stacks hanging out the back. I supported the stacks with some 2×6 lumber, and it looked respectably safe. The guy was even nice enough to kick down an old ratcheting strap clamp to hold the siding more securely. (He seemed unconvinced of the fortitude of the bungee cords I was threatening to use.)
We shook dirty hands, and I began the triumphant cruise back to home base. I estimated the value of the siding – when it was new, anyway – at just over $360. And let me be honest: this stuff has been sitting outside, so it is dirty as hell and will need to be cleaned. But siding is made to be outside, and cleaning is something that a jobless jackaxe can handle. I’m going to have a powerwashing party and make this money shine. In the meantime, I’m going to let muddy siding hang out the back of my open van and hope that I’m not pushing too many “fuck this” buttons. (The folks love me, but Sanford and Son is not their aesthetic.)