Buying Building Materials in Portugal
You have found the place of your dreams here in Portugal and are about to set out and refurbish or extend your home in the sun.
If you were in the UK or anywhere in northern Europe buying building materials you would phone up a builders merchant and place an order to be picked up or delivered at your convenience.
Things work a little differently in central Portugal there definitely is a language barrier when buying building materials in Portugal You can probably find a material merchant who has an English-speaking staff member or member of the family. You may even be asked to call back around 7pm when the person is back home.
It’s probably best to go in personally and ask for your material the first couple of times a map of where you live would also be helpful to them. Although I have regularly given GPS co-ordinates and a typed address to the larger builders merchants and they still call me when they are 5 or 10km away to ask for verbal directions. It’s just a cultural thing.
You can Google the names of building materials quite easily the quantities that they are sold in my be a little more difficult as a lot of them are very old non metric terms.
You will also find that materials will not be priced so you will have to ask the price of each item. As you are not known as a volume buyer and in fact look like a rich visitor you will certainly not get the best deal or necessarily the best quality materials unless you know what you are looking at.
Be prepared to take approximately 3 times more time to hang around than you would in a UK builders merchant this give you time to get known as a local and may help in finding other sources of materials.
Warning when you get your materials back to your building site
Tipping materials on the road outside your house is not a good idea as it often requires a license from the council as does setting up scaffolding. Most local householders won’t bother to get a license as they probably know people in high places.