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Alternative Building Methods

Alternative Building MethodsWe’ve built three houses — two that were full custom homes we designed from the ground up. We’ve lived in our dream home for almost exactly two and a half years. Nothing can beat the feeling.

Still, looking back at some of the photos fills me with anxiety! I’m so glad the building process is over! It can be (and was) stressful and aggravating.

When we built our home in 2010, we choose to use an aerated concrete block to form the main structure of our home. These were later filled with concrete. While most people build with atypical wood frame, we took the less common route. The motivation was three-fold:

  1. Strength — you can’t punch your fist through a ten-foot thick block of concrete unless you are Chuck Norris (and you aren’t).
  2. Flammability — Sam had a house burn down when he was a kid; never again.
  3. Energy saving — the thick, insulated walls keep the home temperature very stable.

At the time, our soon-to-be neighbors were fascinated (and somewhat appalled) at the appearance. They didn’t realize the house would end up looking relatively normal. But since then, they’ve been exposed to alternative building methods more than once. Our new next-door-neighbors built an ICF home that was completed just last fall. Then another home on our street was similarly built.

If you plan to build a custom home, you may end up using typical building methods, but don’t be afraid of researching innovative building materials. You’ll have to find a builder who is able and willing to do the work, but in the long run, the advantages can be worth the trouble.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Tamsyn April 13, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Our dream home, if we ever get around to building (dreaming of traveling first), is to build a monolithic dome. They’re earthquake, termite, hurricane, fire, and tornado proof, and you can’t beat them for energy efficiency. The circular shape makes cramming bunk-beds into them a little tricky though…
    Tamsyn recently posted…Ride on the Magic School BusMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2013, 11:13 pm

    Back in the day we talked about all sorts of idea. Geodesic domes, earth homes (that were underground all except one vast side of glass), and everything in between.

    I did know a family in my childhood neighborhood in Orem who lived in a round dome house with pie shaped rooms. I never did go inside, but a few years ago the new owners build a “normal” house around the dome. So maybe the odd shape was too much for them. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Alternative Building MethodsMy Profile

  • Andre April 14, 2013, 1:10 am

    This is pretty great stuff. Looks like a fortress. Just need a drawbridge.

  • Donatas August 6, 2013, 7:44 am

    British are exceptionally conservative in ways to build homes – it’s just bricks and mortar, nothing innovative. Thus you won’t even find in shops many materials that you normally find in Europe

  • David Hunt March 31, 2016, 6:53 am

    Well that looks quite nice. At our building company, we always aim to improve our services and by engaging into such alternative building methods is a great way to improve. Thank you.

  • Kris April 22, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Very nice idea.

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