Build Your Own Affordable, Eco-Friendly House

What is the best way to build a low-cost home that doesn’t harm the planet? Most materials such as concrete and steel are highly processed and transported long distances, making them unaffordable to millions who are in need of housing. These high-tech materials also cause a great deal of harm to the environment. The answer is to utilize locally available, low-impact natural building materials such as earth, stone, straw and small diameter wood. This article explores several methods of using earth and sustainably harvested wood to cut housing costs to rock-bottom prices. And because the techniques are user-friendly, they are ideal for do-it-yourselfers.

Earthbag building: Like other earth building methods, earthbag building is simple to learn and extremely low cost. It has evolved from the military’s use of building durable, blast and bullet resistant structures with sandbags for 100 years. Modern-day builders are using the same basic process of filling and stacking bags to build beautiful houses, offices, shops, schools and orphanages. Earthbag buildings are resistant to mold, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, insects and rodents.

Since the main building material is earth, which is often free or very low cost if delivered, structures can be built literally dirt-cheap. No expensive equipment is needed. Most people already have the basic tools around their home – shovels, buckets, garden hose and ladder. The building process is so simple that unskilled workers can learn each step of construction just by watching for a minute. Earthbag building is extremely adaptable and can be used to build almost any shape imaginable, including domes, vaults, roundhouses, or more typical square or rectangular designs.

Small diameter wood: U.S. forests are currently overcrowded and prone to forest fires. Millions of acres are destroyed each year to fires and disease. Gleaning small trees from the forest in a sustainable manner actually improves the health of the forest and reduces forest fires. With an inexpensive firewood permit (about $20), anyone can obtain wood for building their home. Most of this wood usually goes up the chimney to heat homes, but it is much more valuable when turned into useful products with a long life. All the wood for a house can be obtained this way at much lower cost than buying dimension lumber from a building supply center.

One option is peeling the bark off and using them in the round for pole frames. Wood in the round is much stronger than sawn lumber and requires less processing. With a portable mill or chainsaw attachment, do-it-yourselfers can also mill their own wood for beams, joists, studs, trusses, purlins, window and door frames, trim, cabinets and furniture. Where I live, builders are culling standing dead trees (sound wood) from the forest so as to avoid the time and effort of seasoning the wood. In addition, using sustainably harvested wood as described here is more aesthetically pleasing than conventional stud walls covered with sheetrock. The beauty of the wood is left exposed, honoring the tree from which it came.

Tamped earth floors: Traditional poured earth floors can last for many centuries, thereby saving a small fortune on wood floor framing and replacement of carpet and linoleum every 15 years. Earth floors look like leather once finished and are extremely beautiful. (They’re being used in trendy, custom homes.) However, poured earth floors take a long time to dry, making them impractical in all but hot, dry climates.

Tamped earth floors use less water and dry much faster. These floors can typically be walked on one or two days after installing. The building process involves screening road base or other appropriate soil through 3/8″ mesh. This mix is spread out in 2″ layers and tamped level. The process is repeated until the desired height is reached. Material for the top coat is screened again through 1/8″ mesh. The top coat mixture is hand-troweled and burnished, using just enough water to bond well. After the floor has thoroughly dried, seal with several coats of linseed oil thinned with turpentine.

Earthen plaster: The most beautiful wall finish I’ve ever seen is earth plaster. If you’ve never seen earth plaster before, you may think of dreary brown walls. Do an Internet search for “earth plaster” and you’ll see the amazing results. Because there are many kinds of clay, there’s no limit to the range of colors, textures and special effects. One popular method uses mica in the plaster to create sparkling, brilliant walls.

Earthen plaster is the probably the most user-friendly wall finish. In many cultures women, children and the elderly have done the plaster work for centuries using just hands and basic tools. The key to durable earthen plaster is wide roof overhangs of about 36 inches. Keep rain and snow off the walls and it will last a long time, requiring only minor touchup.

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about using natural building materials. Thanks to the Internet, now it’s very easy to learn about these and other low-cost building methods. Additional articles on the above topics are available for free on the author’s websites.

Mortgage To Build Your Own House

A lot of people reach a point where they decide that building and decorating their own home is the next step in an adventure called life. After all, having a home in which you have engraved a part of yourself can bring a lot of joy personal sense of accomplishment. Putting together a plan to build that work out the room you’ve always wanted or maybe that special little home office can be fulfilling and motivational. It’s no secret that building your own home is expensive. Fortunately, there is a way to help you advance with your plans. Although it can be difficult to convince a lender to loan you money for something that hasn’t been built yet, it is possible to get a construction loan.

What is a construction loan? A construction loan is a short-term loan that’s supposed to cover the expenses of your project. Getting it requires thorough planning and high points which you must present to the loaner. You’ll need a detailed construction plan along with a realistic budget while assuring the loaner that the project is a small risk. Usually, the more experienced builders keep a sort of “blue book” in which all of the details mentioned above are included.

Now, let’s discuss the down payment. It’s no secret that down payment plays a major factor in any loan, but in the case of construction loans, it can put quite a big strain on your budget. You can expect a huge percentage (up to 25%) to be added as down payment. The main reason why it is so, it’s that unlike traditional loans, construction loans are viewed as high-risk investments in which the loaners want to make sure you see your project through.

First, you must choose a location. Owning the lot where you plan to build your home can be potentially helpful for you to get the loan, otherwise, the down payment percentage will increase exponentially. Getting a well-established building contractor with a good reputation for this sort of projects should be a priority. The reason for this is that going at it alone and planning to be in charge of everything can be viewed as a problem by the loaners because you have no experience in handling projects like this. If you can somehow present a detailed and convincing construction plan which demonstrates your skills and knowledge in the home-building business, then you might just get the loan.

Let’s sum up. While building your home can be an extremely gratifying experience, it’s no secret that you will have to jump through a lot of hoops to see your dream become a reality. So, before even thinking of going through with a project like this, be ready to put together a well-built project plan and get a well known, qualified home builder. In the end, it all comes down to your available resources. Your budget will decide the fate of your project, so start saving up so you can cover the down payment.

Building a House in Costa Rica

It can be a daunting task to build up a house in Costa Rica. This job requires the working knowledge and not tourist, knowledge of (construction) Spanish or someone who can always be with you to translate. Another important thing required for this purpose is patience, time, daily visits to work sites, building code knowledge, communication skills and once again a lot of patience. The first thing to be decided should be where to live in Costa Rica.

One of the most important people in this business is Ed Mercer. He started real estate business in this country and made amazing eco friendly homes. He realized the dreams of many who had seen a dream to possess a beautiful house in the lap of nature. This business proved to be very profitable and Ed Mercer succeeds in creating a one-stop-shop organization which made selling and buying of the real estate very easy. Though Ed Mercer was not a resident of this country but his love towards this place is beyond words. This person with his business skills and humanitarian spirits won the hearts of the Costa Rican and he was soon popularly known as Mr. Costa Rica. His principles of spending the earned money on the development of the place you live in and promising less and delivering more appealed to a large number of people. He being a very impressive public speaker became an inspiration for many young and upcoming businessmen. Not only that his noble deeds to save the precious wildlife landed him to the prestigious Hall of Fame where he was honored. Today Ed is an active member of Greenpeace, national Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund. Ed Mercer is a regular contributor to The Performance Magazine with Bill Cosby and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A philanthropic millionaire, Ed has actively been associated with the organizations like Feed the Child, Missing Child, Crippled Child, Scarlet Straight, Suicide hotlines and battered housewives. Ed being very humble still considers him only a student of business.

Many countries have stiff building codes that must be adhered to by the contractor but in Costa Rica it is not so and even if the code is there is little or no enforcement. Choosing a home builder who builds to the standard you want is critical. This also includes the quality of the building materials. You should make sure that the builder you pot for is cold stone fluent in your language and is also 100% fluent in construction and building Spanish. Another thing to be considered is that if your builder is not a Tico, he should be in the country legally and should have a Permanent Residency. Giving a general idea, a very good price for a simple home is around US$ 270 per sq. meter to US$323 per sq. meter. A simple house would be basically a one-story, rectangular structure with straight walls and a simple roof line built with block, concrete and stucco. Some people refer to this type of design as a ‘Tico house’. On the other hand you should be able to build just about anything you want regardless of how complex and complete for between US$ 540 per sq. meter to US$645 per sq. meter. If you are building a simple block and concrete house and you are paying between US$40 per sq. foot and US$45 per sq. foot you’re probably paying quite a bit too much. And if you are building anything from US$65 per sq. foot you are probably building a mini Taj Mahal.

Contemporary Home Builders – Building Your Dream House Effortlessly

Are you getting excited about building your dream house? Want to make the process easy and stress-free? Why not hire contemporary home builders and avail yourself a number of home designs that not only suit your budget but also fulfill all your specifications!

When you think of building a new abode or renovating the existing one, the first thing that strikes your mind is how to get it done. No doubt, you’ll be thinking of carrying out the complete process on your own as there’s nothing more special than decorating or renovating your home with your own efforts and creativity. Once you finally decide to work on your own and manage your finances accordingly, you must never look back or feel depressed at any instant of time as this will break you from inside and will tear you apart thereafter. If in case, you feel like you are not made for this task, you must hire an expert who will build your dream home based upon your specifications and will carry out all the necessary tasks effortlessly.

Your specifications may include factors like:

Total number of rooms to be included

• Type of furniture to be used

• Type of doors and windows

• Colour of the walls

• Floor ideas

• Different kitchen designs

• Type of lighting to be used

• Carpet colour for your living room

• Bathroom style

• Bedroom design

• Roofing system

These are some things that you must include in your ‘To-Do’ list while narrating your specifications to the builder you hired. Before hiring a builder, it is important that you find out what exactly you want, i.e. what kind of house you are about to build. Once you decide on what home design to choose, you can move on to the next big step, i.e. setting a specific budget. Make sure the design you choose fulfills all your expectations and suits your budget plan too. Moreover, you must choose the right professional who not only carry out the process meticulously but also make sure that your house plan works best for you in the best possible fashion.

Once you give your best shot in order to kick off the renovation process in a well-organized fashion, you must pay attention to certain factors that can play a great part in making the process go a lot more fluently. This is where the importance of an experienced professional come into the picture, so it is important that you pick a perfect consultant or architect to take care of the complete designing process, seek other professional advice as required, take care of the future trends and pick a design accordingly, make a list of all the things that are involved in the process of home renovation, and more.

Can You Build a House Out of Plastic Lumber?

Recycled plastic lumber is quickly becoming a common building material for decking and other outdoor buildings. This environmentally friendly product is helping people to build more green during the construction process. With this being said, is it possible to build a house out of plastic wood/lumber? The answer is yes. It is possible to build a home out of plastic lumber.

The great thing about recycled lumber is that it gives homebuilders and contractors a chance to use an environmentally friendly product. With many more people becoming environmentally conscious, it makes sense that using recycled plastic lumber can help to build a greener home. Now more then ever, consumers are requesting this recycled building material.

There are many wonderful selling points in using plastic wood/lumber. It is made out of recycled material that would otherwise end up in our landfills and begins a new life as a building. Another great thing about using recycled plastic boards is that, there are no special tools that are needed to assemble a building or structure out of this green material. Traditional tools that are used on wood structures can also be used on recycled plastic. This helps to keep the cost down during the construction process without buying special tools or hours of specialized training of construction workers on how to work with the recycled plastic lumber.

Many times wood structures are subject to many different types of wear that over time can destroy a building. Termites for instance are not attracted to recycled plastic lumber and is one bug that has no interest eating it. The elements can also become another factor that can deteriorate a wooden structure. Plastic recycled lumber does not warp due to extreme weather such as sun and rain. This had made plastic lumber become more popular knowing that a building will last longer since it is somewhat resistant to these factors.

When deciding weather or not to use recycled lumber when building a home, there are many important factors to consider. Make sure that the homebuilder or contractor is familiar with building a structure out of recycled boards. Take into account the local and state building codes that must be followed in order to build a home. There are also permits that must be obtained in order to start the construction process of a building a new home or an addition to a building. By following these laws will help avoid any pitfalls that might occur during the building process.

With many individuals becoming more environmentally aware and wanting to use greener products in the home building process, recycled plastic lumber is a popular choice. This product is much more than another recycled materials it helps to save the homebuilder money over the years in energy costs and maintenance. Recycled plastic lumber is becoming the smarter choice when building a new home.