Houses are usually built with the following materials: wood, cement, mortar, iron, steel, bamboo, straw, reed and stone, and so on. However, those who think outside the box source their home-building materials from unusual things, with the result being nothing short of amazing!
Are you interested in all things unusual, unique, and quirky? If so, the following houses will definitely fascinate you. These are structures made of strange and unusual materials, though the ideas are certainly commendable. Have a look and see if you can emulate any of them:
1. Shipping containers
We’ve all seen containers piled up on the docks or strapped onto a truck and being carried along the road. These are gigantic structures that hold loads of good, sometimes even a couple of cars. It might seem strange to think of living in one of these boxes, but the concept actually makes a lot of sense.
First of all, shipping containers naturally have large spaces inside, which are ideal for inhabitation. Second, they are structurally durable. Third, they can be connected to other containers. And fourth, they can be easily transported (by trucks or ships, for example), as this is part of their design. These are some of the reasons why shipping containers have become a popular choice as alternative housing materials in recent years.
Think about it; a container is already built and ready for use. You don’t have to lay bricks, or pay a fortune for a construction crew to make sure the design is right. All you really have to do is put in a door, some windows, and perhaps a few walls inside. It’s probably more spacious than a trailer home! If you’re in need of still more space, you can always link up another container.
Of course, a shipping container home has several downsides. The interior will be downright torture during the summer months, so you’d have to get a serious cooling system in place. The winter months could be equally uncomfortable if you don’t have any insulation.
About 290 million tires are discarded each year. What could be a better way to give them a “second life” than using them as a building material? Since they’re so tough, tires are great for building houses or any other forms of structure. Of course, they cannot be used on their own, but need other materials (like mortar or cement) to make them more stable.
Being made of rubber, tires are excellent materials to keep a house warm or cool, depending on the type of house being built. You’ll also get extra points for using up a material which could otherwise pollute the earth and choke up the landfills for decades to come.
3. Plastic bottles
The importance of recycling is a major concern, especially now that we’re more aware of the problems regarding massive pollution, global warming, and a growing scarcity of natural resources.
Plastic bottles and plastic bags are seen as especially harmful culprits, as they’re used on a daily basis by most of us in the developed world. We use them once, and then they tend to stick around for several more years. However, what if we could give that plastic a new use as a proper home? It’s already being done!
For several years, plastic bottles have been used as alternatives to traditional housing materials. They’re a good source of drawing out heat or coolness to the space inside, depending on the climate or as desired by the homeowner.
This is because sealed bottles contain air, which in turn acts as a good insulator. Given their low biodegradation, plastic bottles are guaranteed to make durable and long-lasting walls for your homes. Plastic bottles are ideal not just for making houses, but also for building vessels such as rafts or boats due to their tendency to float.
Most under-developed nations use alternative housing materials, such as plastic bottles, to build their own homes. This is mainly because they come cheap, are plentiful and also readily available.
4. Corn cob
One famous example of a dwelling using corn cobs as a building material is a prototype home in Muttersholtz, France. The house was basically built with a wooden frame and the rest were dried corn cobs. It took 7,000 Euros and a month to build this circular abode. The purpose of this one-time building project was to promote and encourage building structures using completely renewable materials.
The world wastes millions and millions of tons of newspapers every year, so some individuals and companies have wisely thought up of recycling them into housing materials.
Newspapers are rolled up, glued together and are converted into something that is quite similar to the regular wood that you usually source for building homes. The resulting ‘planks’ can then be utilized just like regular plywoods.
If you’re worried about a newspaper home collapsing into a pulp during the rain or getting burned with a single match, you don’t need to fret. This is because the newspaper “wood” is varnished and protected with a water-proof and fire-retardant seal.
6. Plastic bags
Plastic bags are notorious for being non-biodegradable and almost impossible to recycle. However, some individuals had the idea of making bricks out of plastic bags. These bags were melted, poured into some sort of mold, and then shaped into blocks.
While plastic bag “bricks” are too lightweight for regular exterior walls, they are otherwise ideal as indoor or outdoor dividers. The shipping container home comes into mind here; if you want to make some eco-friendly walls inside, these plastic bricks would come in handy.
Making Tiny Houses
If you’re interested in the unusual materials that are made for building certain houses, you might want to read up for your own projects. There’s a book called “Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies”. The comprehensive title says it all; from this book, we can learn all about how to construct our own tiny houses using waste material. The link here will give you more details:
By tiny houses, this book doesn’t mean miniatures that we use to decorate our shelves and mantelpieces. It actually means those tiny living spaces that are trending these days. More and more people are getting attracted to a simpler way of life, and are eschewing the dream of grand mansions for an unbelievably tiny home that’s off the grid.
Most of these houses take us less than a thousand square feet of space and are made of environmentally friendly materials. With the book under discussion here, we can find out how to make use of reclaimed materials and recycled goods to make a unique, green home with all the necessary amenities. Just a few of these items include barn wood, reclaimed shingles, shipping containers, etc.
This work will give you photographs, floor plans, likely places for materials, and what to avoid in the process. It’s an excellent investment for those interested in residential designs, recycling, saving the planet, and DIY.
The material ideas above might be highly unusual, but they’re excellent ideas for making cost-effective, useful homes. Many of us dream of having our own house; as long as comfortable, does it really matter what it’s made from? Materials such as plastic bottles have managed to put a roof over the head of several poor families, so there’s a lot of potential here.
If you or someone you know is interested in unusual building materials for houses, we advise you to read up more and spread the word. A little change here and there could do wonders in cleaning up our planet and helping many homeless people into the bargain.