How to Build a Home From 100% Recycled Materials
Building a home from recycled materials is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact. With some creativity and effort, you can build an eco-friendly home without generating much new waste. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a home using 100% recycled materials:
Finding Recycled Building Materials
The first step is sourcing recycled building materials for your home construction. Here are some of the main materials you’ll need and where to find them:
- Reclaimed wood from old barns, factories, or homes. Check demolition companies, salvage yards, or online classifieds.
- Scrap wood from construction sites, mills, or pallet recycling companies.
Bricks and Concrete
- Salvaged bricks from demolition sites or old buildings.
- Crushed concrete as aggregate from construction or demolition sites.
- Scrap metal like rebar, pipes, siding, roofing from metal recycling or salvage yards.
Windows and Doors
- Used windows and doors from salvage stores, online classifieds, auctions, or demolition sites.
- Used sinks, toilets, tubs from salvage stores, reuse centers, or online classifieds.
Designing Your Recycled Home
When designing a home with recycled materials, consider:
- Using an open floor plan to reduce needed materials.
- Incorporating multi-purpose rooms like a kitchen/dining room.
- Installing large windows to utilize natural light and reduce energy costs.
- Using simple roof lines to match available reclaimed wood sizes.
- Allowing for imperfections and inconsistencies in recycled materials.
For the foundation, look into these options:
- A pier block foundation made from recycled concrete blocks and reclaimed wood beams.
- A gravel or crushed concrete pad covered in a moisture barrier.
- A slab foundation made from recycled concrete and aggregate.
For walls and roof framing, use:
- Reclaimed wood beams and posts for major structural elements.
- Scrap dimensional lumber, plywood, or OSB for stud walls.
- Used metal studs as an alternative to wood framing.
For eco-friendly roofing, consider:
- A living roof with plants growing in soil on waterproof membrane.
- Reclaimed slate or tile roofing materials.
- Used metal roofing like corrugated steel or standing seam.
- Recycled rubber or plastic composite roof tiles.
- Look for used copper pipes from salvage yards.
- Use recycled PEX piping made from plastic waste.
- Install salvaged sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
For interior and exterior finishes:
- Use reclaimed wood for siding, floors, and trim.
- Choose recycled glass or plastic tiles for kitchen and bath backsplashes.
- Look for used solid wood doors or build doors from reclaimed boards.
- Use salvaged appliances and light fixtures.
- Consider rammed earth walls for a unique finish.
Add character with reused details like:
- Salvaged cabinets, furniture, and hardware like doorknobs and hinges.
- Vintage windows or colored glass bottles worked into walls to let in light.
- An accent wall made from recycled wood pallets or scrap metal.
- Repurposed items like buckets, ladders, or shutters for decorative purposes.
With some imagination and effort, you can construct an entire home from reused building materials. Get creative with your design and take pride in diverting waste from the landfill. Your recycled home will be environmentally friendly and have plenty of charm and character.