How to Build a Home From Scrap Tires

How to Build a Home From Scrap Tires

Building a home from scrap tires may seem unconventional, but it can actually be a creative and sustainable way to construct an inexpensive and durable house. Here is a comprehensive guide on how I built my own scrap tire home from start to finish.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

The first step is gathering all of the required materials. Here is what I needed to source:

  • Scrap tires – The main building block. I scoured junkyards, recycling centers, and put ads on Craigslist to source cheap and free tires. I aimed for at least 2000.

  • Wooden boards – For framing the structure and roof. I used 2x4s and 2x6s.

  • Concrete – For the foundation and bonding the tires together. I used about 20 cubic yards.

  • Steel rebar – For reinforcing the concrete foundation and threading tires together.

  • Stucco – For covering the tire exterior walls. Needed about 3000 sq ft of coverage.

  • Roofing – I went with basic asphalt shingles, but metal or other roof coverings could work too.

  • Insulation – Fiberglass batts for insulating the walls. Helps regulate temperature.

  • Windows and doors – I salvaged used windows and doors to save money. Made sure they were in good shape.

  • Plumbing supplies – For running water lines throughout the home.

  • Electrical supplies – Including wire, outlets, switches and junction boxes.

Planning the House Design

Once I had gathered the main supplies, I drafted plans for the house layout. This included:

  • Footprint shape – I opted for a simple rectangular shape.

  • Number of stories – Went with a single story ranch style home.

  • Room layout – Marked where the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room would go.

  • Door and window placement – Strategically placed for lighting, ventilation and views.

  • Load-bearing elements – Accounted for where weight would transfer to the foundation.

I also researched permit requirements and had an engineer review the design plans before beginning construction.

Pouring the Concrete Foundation

With the plans finalized, I could start laying the foundation. This involved:

  • Digging the footprint about 2 feet deep.

  • Filling with a layer of gravel for drainage.

  • Building wood framing for the footer and stem walls.

  • Threading rebar through the wood framing. This reinforces the concrete.

  • Pouring concrete into the prepared footer and stem wall frames. Let cure completely.

The rebar not only strengthens the foundation but also will help lock the first layer of tires in place.

Stacking and Filling the Tire Walls

Now the fun part – stacking the tires! Here are the key steps I followed:

  • Started by creating a tight, interlocked bottom row around the perimeter.

  • Pounded rebar horizontally through the tire sidewalls to link them together.

  • Stacked up subsequent rows in the same interlocked pattern, offsetting seams.

  • Threaded vertical rebar down through the stack every 3-4 rows.

  • Filled tires with concrete as I went to provide stability.

  • Left small gaps for windows and doors per my plans.

I made sure to stagger the tire direction and orient the treads inward for a smoother exterior wall.

Installation of Windows, Doors and Roof

Once the tire walls were stacked about 8 feet high all the way around, it was time to integrate the openings:

  • Built-out wood frames for the windows and doors.

  • Had the windows and doors custom ordered to fit into the frames.

  • Installed them securely into their frames.

  • Added a front and back door per the design plans.

For the roof:

  • Framed with the 2x4s and 2x6s.

  • Covered the wooden roof deck with plywood and tar paper.

  • Shingled on top according to manufacturer instructions.

  • Finished by adding gutters, downspouts and flashing.

Stuccoing the Exterior

To create an attractive exterior texture:

  • Affixed metal stucco netting over the tires. This gives the stucco something to adhere to.

  • Applied a scratch coat of stucco in a first thin layer.

  • After it dried, added the thicker brown coat, building it up to about 1/2 inch thickness.

  • Finally applied the thin finish coat with color pigment for the desired look.

The stucco helps protect the tires from UV rays while also providing an aesthetic finished facade.

Installing Insulation, Plumbing and Electrical

The interior required finishing as well:

  • Filled between the tires with fiberglass insulation to regulate temperature.

  • Ran PEX piping throughout for water supply lines.

  • Added drains, supply hoses and fittings (kitchen, bathroom).

  • Wired with copper and PVC for outlets, lights and devices.

  • Installed junction boxes and panels according to code.

Building Interior Walls

I framed interior walls to divide up the space:

  • Used 2x4s and plywood sheets for freestanding stud walls.

  • Sheetrock over the wood studs for the finishes.

  • Cut openings for vents, ductwork and wiring.

  • Mudded and taped for seamless results.

  • Added trim for a polished look.

Finishing Touches

Finally, I completed all decorating and detail work:

  • Laid vinyl plank and tile flooring throughout the rooms.

  • Painted the walls and ceilings with an airless sprayer.

  • Installed cabinetry, countertops and final fixtures.

  • Finished the bathrooms with drywall, fixtures and accessories.

  • Added lighting, hardware, shelving and appliances.

  • Completed landscaping outside.

And that summarizes the full process of how I built my own home out of scrap tires! It took time and effort but saved on construction costs and produced an eco-friendly and sturdy finished home. Let me know if you have any other questions.