Home renovations are one of the best ways to improve your living space. This is especially true in tough housing markets or housing bubbles. When homeowners cannot afford to buy property they may begin investing in their existing homes.
Home renovation numbers are rising in countries like Canada. Nearly half of Canadians who were polled by a major bank are planning on renovating their homes instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on purchasing a new home.
Although housing bubbles are a bad thing, home renovations need not be. They can open up opportunities for property owners to re-evaluate their existing homes and make improvements. The good news is that there are plenty of boundary-pushing home building products on the market today. These products encourage environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, among other great qualities. This means that homeowners can invest in their homes in a responsible way while making improvements that will benefit them in the long run.
Below is a list of ten products that you can use in your next renovation that can provide an aesthetic, energy-saving, or environmental return.
1. Tesla Solar Tiles
Tesla Solar Tiles are available for pre-order in America and will only be available in Canada by 2018.
Tesla claims that Solar Roof tiles will be as affordable as regular roofing materials. However, some experts on TrustedPros.ca claim that this roofing material is considerably more expensive in comparison to regular roofing materials. Tesla claims that these roof tiles will cost approximately $21.85 per square foot.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that a solar roof will help homeowners generate their own energy and save on power costs in the long term. So, this product has a huge economic return.
Not only that, Tesla brags that it’s solar roof tiles are more durable than existing roofing materials. Investing in quality roofing materials is a must. They must be able to endure harsh weather conditions while providing security, shelter, and longevity.
2. 3-D Printing
The first 3D printed home was made in Russia this year by the San Francisco based start-up, Apis Cor.
Apis Cor built a 400-square foot home in 24 hours! A team of professionals went in to install the roof, insulation, and utilities after the printing was complete. This home can be customizable. It can be made in different sizes and shapes at a low cost. The prototype only cost just over $10k to build. We are still waiting for 3D printed homes to be part of the mainstream home building market.
3. Insulated Concrete
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) have been around since World War II.
However, they have only become a part of the residential home building sector recently. They are common in commercial and industrial projects. ICFs provide top notch heat and sound insulation. ICFs are best suited for warm and mild climates as they transfer heat very quickly, which can be difficult in cold environments. ICFs can cost around $5 per square foot more than traditional home building materials. However, their insulation properties can make up for their higher cost.
4. Laminated Timber
Some claim that Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is the building material of the future. It’s made by gluing young timber together to create long planks. These planks are sturdy and durable enough to build high-rises and residential
homes. CLT is a green building option because wood is carbon-sequestering. It is more sustainable than concrete, and it is equally as strong as reinforced concrete. It also takes less time to build a CLT structure than a concrete one.
5. Graphene Paint
Graphene is a recent scientific discovery, and graphene paint is an even newer invention! Graphene can absorb light and produce electricity. Some believe that it can be used on home exteriors to convert solar energy to power home appliances. Others think that it can improve thermal regulation if it is applied on the building’s interior walls.
6. Loose Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring
Loose lay vinyl flooring is a relatively new vinyl flooring product. It’s different from other sheet vinyl and laminate products. It simply falls into place and it doesn’t involve clicking, sliding, or locking.
Loose lay vinyl is a recyclable product. It’s also very durable and comfortable, and provides sound-muffling features.
Like all vinyl products, loose lay vinyl comes in life-like wood and stone pattern finishes. It can be cut to fit in tight spaces too.
7. Terrazzo / Trend Q
Those Terrazzo surfaces that were popular in the 70s are slowly gaining popularity once again. The only difference however is that some companies are swapping the concrete base for something more sustainable—like resin.
Trend Group is making a sustainable Terrazzo product called Trend Q. This product is made from recycled glass and pigmented resin. Some Trend Q products also contain close to 70% recycled materials. Homeowners can earn LEED credits with this product. This is a huge step forward since concrete has a high CO2 footprint.
8. Sheep’s Wool Insulation
Sheep’s wool is considered to be one of (if not the most) natural home insulation options on the market. It can keep the home warm and cool depending on internal home temperatures. Sheep’s wool retains its insulation
properties even when wet. And it does not pack down or get damaged during roof leaks.
It is a competitive alternative to cellulose and fiberglass, yet does not contain any of the harmful flame retardant chemicals that are found in these products.
Hempcrete has been used around the world for centuries in countries such as France and Japan. It has become a popular green insulation alternative in North America in the last five years. It can even double as a building material
too! Hempcrete has the same strength threshold as concrete. In addition, it resists cracking under movement. Moreover, it is fireproof and mold proof. It is made from all natural materials such as hemp and lime.
10. Geoluxe / Pyrolithic Stone
Geoluxe is a solid manufactured stone product that is designed to mimic natural marble. Geoluxe is more durable than natural marble, yet it is made in the same way that marble is made: using heat, minerals, and pressure.
This man-made stone resists staining, scratches, and heat, unlike natural marble products.