Gone are the days when houses were all built using bricks and mortar – these days, there are MANY alternatives to the usual house building materials when embarking upon a home renovation. Many of these alternatives are much better for the enviromnment and some even go back to old fashioned methods which seem like they should have dissapeared long ago! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look as some surprising materials that you can use when renovating or building your property:
Some of the materials whioch people are now using in their homes were originally designed for more inductrial settings. GRP grating is a non slip flooring constructed from fibreglass, and is an ideal and cost effective alternative to traditional grating materials like wood, mild steel and stainless steel. It’s got many different uses and you could use it in many different ways when renovating your space.
Years ago, Husband and I say a programme on the TV where people were using shipping containers as the bones of their home and we loved the idea! Instead of needing to build from the ground up, shipping containers were placed on a foundation and bolted together, then made livable on the inside. I’ve since seen loads of people doing it and some companies even pre-fabricate them and deliver them ready to go. It’s super green too as you’re recycling old materials.
If you’ve spend any time on the internet in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen those crazy videos of the builders using bamboo scaffolding to climb up and down huge buildings when on site. However, bamboo can be used for more than just scaffolding. Thanks to its composition, bamboo is extremely durable. It has no rays or knots, unlike wood, so it can withstand more stress and it’s also better suited to glueing than hardwood.
Taking things back to several hundred years ago, lots of people are building eco homes using a combination of straw bales and lime plaster. The process can take a while and it’s not always cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it as not many builders have the specific skills needed but the result is fantastic. The combination of materials is also a good insulator and is said to keep buildings warmer than your average building materials.
Although timber based homes are not commonplace in the United Kingdom anymore, their significance is again being realised. Those living in the large cities among the noise and pollution feel the need to spend a few days in a relaxed environment that will allow them to live a calm and healthy life. Wooden houses offer these advantages and accordingly there has been a growing demand for wooden houses in the UK as a second or holiday home.
Husband and I both come from long lines of people who do things for themselves. Whether it’s decorating, car maintenance, home renovations or any other type of repair, we all get stuck in and do it ourselves and calling in a professional is usually a very last resort. Just a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with some friends where they were really surprised to find that I do things like changing car batteries myself, considering this to be something for the ‘other half’ to do!
There are, however, a few jobs that I would steadfastly avoid, in favour of leaving it to the experts. Here are a few of them:
I know lot’s of people do their own electrical work and are very capable of doing so – Husband’s Aunt is one such person and she’s a bit of an idol of mine when it comes to women who get stuck in with the tough jobs. However, electrical work is something that I would MORE than happily leave to an NICEIC Approved Electrical Contractor who knows their way around a circuit board so that I can avoid getting the inevitable shocks!
If you smell gas in your home, you should never attempt to tackle the leak yourself. Instead, immediately turn the gas off at the meter – if it is safe to do so – and call the 24-hour Gas Emergency Services line. An operator will be able to confirm the next steps and arrange for an engineer to be sent out to your home. Where possible, make sure you open doors and windows to allow the gas to escape and avoid using any light switches – this could spark an explosion. Definitely one to leave to the experts!
Removing a tree can be a lot trickier than you might think. If the tree is quite small, you can easily do this yourself by getting a chainsaw or an ax. However, if you have a full-sized tree, this is another situation where you want to get onto the phone and call a professional to come over and deal with it for you. There are many horror stories out there of people who didn’t properly brace the tree as they cut it down, causing it to fall onto their home or vehicles, causing major damage. There are also stories of people climbing up to trim branches and falling down, injuring themselves. Experts will ensure that the tree falls down in a safe area and that the stump is removed afterward.
There may be times when you want to change the layout of a building, add a new building or add an extension to an existing structure. This type of work requires a lot of planning, needs the right materials and needs to be completed by professional builders who know what they are doing. Instead of attempting to carry out structural work yourself, you should always ask yourself if there is a reliable and professional local builder who can do this work and ensure that the structure they build will be safe and sound for many years to come.