Browsing Topic: Materials

Better building materials, from the nails, up

November 27th, 2006

In considering new materials with which to build our home, I’ve got to admit I didn’t expect to be rethinking: the nail.

Dr. Ed Sutt conducted an analysis of the devastation left by hurricanes and concluded the flaw that brought the homes down was not with the wood, or the design of the building, but most often with the nails used. Working with Bostitch, he developed a new kind of nail.
According to initial research: Using the Bostitch HurriQuake 2 nail adds about $15 to the cost of a 2000 sq.ft. home, but doubles a home’s resistance to high speed winds (holds against gusts up to 170mph) and adds 50% more resistance to earthquake forces.

Bostitch is doubling production every month to keep up with demand, but the nail is so far only available in the Gulf region. Toronto’s climate isn’t currently known for high speed winds or earthquakes, but a nail that holds better in extreme conditions almost certainly holds better over time as well.

If further research proves these to be worthwhile, I will likely try to get them up here for our build. I had already been wondering about putting the house together with screws instead of nails (though I’m guessing our builder might not be too keen on that). Another thought I had was to shore up their joins myself by adding an extra screw between their nails. (But more research is needed to find out just how much benefit this would provide.)

Posted by Colin

Enviroshake roofing shingles

November 20th, 2006

These roofing shingles from EnviroShake, with an incredible 50-year non-depreciating warranty, will certainly be looked at when it comes time to complete our roof.

The tiles look like cedar shake, but are actually composed of old car tires, pop bottles, hemp and flax! They were even invented and are manufactured right here in Ontario.

Great stuff! (Hopefully they’ll be easy on the budget — we haven’t seen any pricing yet.)

Posted by Colin

So Many Doors: We visit the ReStore

November 17th, 2006

We visited our local Habitat for Humanity ‘ReStore‘ today to try to get some first hand knowledge of the types and quality of materials would could acquire there.

For those not familiar with them: the ReStore stocks all sorts of items that you might need if you were thinking about building or renovating a house. The items they sell are donated by people who are, for whatever reason, getting rid of what they have now and don’t want to see it go to a landfill.

The stores not only divert a huge amount of materials away from landfills, but the proceeds from the sale of these items go towards their other projects, building homes for those who are without.

We found ceramic tiles, paint, windows, full sets of kitchen cupboards, lighting and lots and lots of doors. It’s a bit of a wonder that anyone buys hollow plastic doors for their home at $50 each, when they could buy an 80 year old solid-wood door with lots of character and fully functioning 80 year old door handle for about $90. Sure it’s more a little more, but for the amount of character and warmth it would add to a home, it really seems like a bargain.

We both found doors we fell in love with, but resisted the urge to buy right then. (We figured we should probably nail down at least an approximate final budget and be 100% sure we can afford this house, before starting to acquire its finishing touches.)

Posted by Colin