Alternative building is not like the traditional building methods. Normally, even a beginner with no experience in building can construct a building using the alternative building methods.
- Alternative Buildings are normally constructed out of whatever materials are on hand. For instance if you have woods, then wood would normally be your choice of building materials, perhaps a log house or a cordwood house. Cordwood is very easy to do, and it is very forgiving of mistakes and un-level ground.
- Straw bale is a second method that is also very forgiving of a beginner with little to no experience in building techniques. Straw Bale houses are normally constructed from the left over hay in the fields, which have no food value left, meaning they have no seeds or very little left in the hay. This is normally called bedding hay in some parts of the country. In other parts it’s call straw bale. Some areas will not have straw bale, but will have bales of hay. Bales of hay will have seeds in it, and must be plastered very well. A footing, for instance cement blocks is also necessary to prevent the bales from touching the ground and becoming wet or even damp at the bottom.
- Cob is an option for those that have lots of sand, clay, or silt on their properties. Cob houses are quite durable, and can last quite a log time. The idea of cob is to mix the clay, in with bits of straw or what ever you may have on hand.
- Pole and Beam is a fairly common structure in today’s times, and you see more and more of these going up all the time, in all parts of the country. They are not quite as forgiving on mistakes, but they do serve the purpose very well when it comes to building, and making a home.
- What ever your choice, you will want to take time to plan out what you actually want and need from a home or building, before getting started. For instance, in a straw bale home, you naturally are going to have a perfectly insulated home, which will be cool in summer, and warm in winter. Getting those straw bales to your building site, could be a problem though, if you do not have straw bales in your area. Cordwood is a perfect choice, especially if you already have wood on hand, or plan to use wood for heating and / or cooking during the winter months. This is a likely choice for many people. Cob is another choice, and involves lots of time playing in the mud, and mixing to get just the texture that you want.
- All of the above methods are less expensive than traditional building, but equal a much higher rating on insulation values than does the traditional building methods. All in all, you will have a wonderfully built home that will last a lifetime. Many of these buildings have been around for over a hundred years or more.