Building a Home – What Every Owner Builder Must Know About Home Building Materials

Home building materials play a significant role. Since the Three Little Pigs first wiggled their curly little tails, we’ve been aware of the importance of building materials. But, while they had only three choices, we have more … a lot more.

Today, it’s not only about the strength and durability of the home but also about economy, ecology, aesthetics, style and personal choice. With universal building codes the way they are, we can usually expect them to meet at least minimum standards of quality and longevity.

Knowing Your Options for Structural Materials

Over the years, I’ve worked with many different structural materials choices for homes. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. I’ve concluded that there may be no “perfect” choice. Nothing seems to stand head and shoulders above all the rest. That being said, there’s every reason to believe that of the many choices, you could find one perfect for you.

If you are exploring options for the structural components of your new home, start with these choices. You can expand from here:

Traditional 2×4 and 2×6 stick built homesIn North America, this is the most common approach to home building. These can be site built or pre-framed, factory built homes. Builders for this method are the easiest to find and these homes are usually the least expensive to build.

Steel Framed HomesThese are constructed much the same as the wood framed homes and can also come in pre-framed, factory built panels. They offer some additional green building benefits, being thought of as more sustainable by some authorities.

SIP built homesStructural Insulated Panels are gaining popularity. These are structural panels that utilize insulation as part of the strength of the wall system. There are several different kinds of panels and methods of construction. They are often used for walls but can be used for ceilings, floors, and the roof structure as well.

Timber framed homesCommonly understood as Post and Beam, timber framed homes are often combined with SIP panels between the posts and beams. The timber provides both the strength and the natural look and feel for the home. These type homes are most popular in the country and mountains as they are more rustic looking but can have all the amenities of the most modern homes.

Log homesToday, log home materials are packaged and shipped to your site, and built according to the engineering specifications called for in whatever jurisdiction the building is taking place. Unlike the olden days, log homes can have every modern convenience you want. Or, you can choose to make them as rustic and traditional as you wish.

ICF built homesInsulated Concrete Forms (ICF) are stacked as legos might be stacked. Then they are reinforced with rebar (steel) and filled with concrete. These concrete exterior homes provide for extra strength and insulation values that save on energy consumption in most cases.

Insulated cement tilt up panels:  Less popular for homes but used in more smaller buildings, cement tilt up walls offer rapid …

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How Can You Recognize Sustainable Building Materials For Your Home?

As the green movement started to develop, they have encouraged more and more people to build environment-friendly homes. Their members have started to educate people about the different health hazards that toxic building materials could bring. They have also explained how the irresponsible use of these harmful materials could actually become a big threat to our environment.

If you do not want to have a home filled with toxic and harmful building materials, you should think of a way to find environment-friendly supplies that you could use to construct your home. Here are some characteristics of sustainable building materials that you should watch out for while canvassing for the best construction products.

Minimal energy needs

One of the most important characteristics of sustainable building materials is their minimal energy needs. This means that they do not need to consume a lot of energy while they are being processed, harvested, or delivered to your location. Local materials that could be immediately located in your local area possess this characteristic. Since they are found in almost any corner of your area, they would have less need for transportation and nonrenewable oil.

A perfect example of a local material that fits these characteristics is adobe. Since it is found almost anywhere in neighborhoods, it has minimal energy needs for transportation. In addition, it could also serve as an insulator that could reduce intense heat and cold inside your home. Hence, its thick nature would allow you to minimize the need for using air conditioners during summer and furnaces during winter. You would definitely feel the difference of living in a home made from adobe once you see how much money you were able to save due to its insulating properties.

Renewability and Reusability

Other important characteristics of eco friendly construction materials are renewability and reusability. Renewability pertains to their capacity to renew themselves after a period of harvest. Unlike nonrenewable products such as oil, renewable materials are not susceptible to depletion or complete exhaustion.

On the other hand, reusability pertains to its potential to be used for other purposes or for future construction plans. Another example of a material that fits these qualities is adobe. Its ability to withstand almost any temperature makes it possess a long shelf life. Once you were not able to use up all your adobe supplies for your home, you could still safely reseal them and use them for other future projects. A few mixing and stirring would make it come back to its elastic and flexible form.

Absence of toxic emissions

As previously mentioned, more and more modern homes have been relying on materials that emit toxic chemicals to our surroundings. Examples of such products are chemicals found in paint, sealants, and glues. Once their harmful chemicals are released into the air, any person who accidentally ingests such toxins through his nose and mouth would experience health risks and problems.

Always remember these qualities when looking for sustainable building materials. Keep in mind that your …

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