A lot of people have asked me if they can build their own house using only natural resources such as wood, straw, or cob. Is it possible to just use nature as your builder?
Well, yes! It is definitely achievable for anyone with an appropriate amount of planning and skill. In this article, we will talk about some easy ways to do that without requiring too much expensive equipment or advanced tools.
There are several reasons why people choose to construct their homes out of natural materials instead of buying one already built. Some prefer having full control over what goes into their new house while others simply believe paying heavily for something is worth it.
You will need to get a building permit
In some states, it is completely legal to build a wooden house in your garden or backyard. These houses are called “re-entry dwellings” because they do not require special permits or licenses to be built.
However, most people do not go about constructing their home this way for one simple reason – the cost!
Building a house from wood can easily run you several thousand dollars. The down payment as well as the closing costs make it difficult for many individuals to invest in this type of house. Therefore, there are few re-entry dwelling designs that have actually been constructed.
There are 2 main reasons why designing and constructing your own house makes sense– price and freedom. By doing so, you save lots of money which can be put towards more important things like food and shelter. It also gives you much greater flexibility since you pick the materials and design yourself.
The structure needs to be on a firm foundation
So, your new house idea has you dreaming about building your own home with wooden materials. You have determined that a wooden house is both affordable and practical.
Now, you must determine if this concept is viable for you. And yes, it can! It’s even possible to build a one- or two-bedroom cabin in your back garden without needing permission from your local council or government agencies.
But before you get too excited, there are some limitations to keep in mind.
Firstly, let us talk about the foundations of your house. Most areas have a limited number of available properties, so you will need to do some research to see which ones are acceptable as an adequate base. If you don’t know where to start, our article: How To Check Your Basement Is Legal As A Home Base could help.
Secondly, remember that while a few people may still believe in the health benefits of grass, most municipalities require at least 6 feet of clear space around any house being built.
Take into account the location of the house
While it is possible to build a wooden house in your garden, you must be sure that your soil is suitable for sustaining a structure like this.
If your soil is very sandy or contains lots of gravel, then creating a home out of wood could potentially cause major problems. The weighty nature of timber would not properly settle in these environments, so the floor and ceiling could remain stuck together.
This is called dry-laying, and will only get worse as time passes. It’s important to check whether your soil is appropriate before investing in expensive lumber!
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to know if your soil is solid enough. You can assess the strength and density of your soil by checking its compaction index. This can easily be done using a small spade or fork handle, which you push down into the ground.
The harder the soil, the higher the handle will stick up. A low number means soft soil, and therefore may not be able to hold a house made from timber. A good level just above a foot is ideal.
Another way to determine if your soil is strong enough for a house set upon the ground is to test it yourself. Simply pour a few drops of water onto the surface, and see how quickly the water disappears.
Consider the climate
Whilst it is possible to build your house from wood, this does not mean you have to use wooden planks every time there’s a wall or door need constructed.
There are many types of timber that can be used to make buildings. Some of the more common ones include: pine, fir, larch, bamboo, hemlock, oak and zinc.
Each one of these timbers will take different lengths of time to dry and harden which makes them unsuitable for making whole structures alone but they can be incorporated into other materials such as bricks or concrete.
That being said, using only natural products is an excellent way to reduce pollution and save energy to dry and process the lumber.
Furthermore, some of these woods are highly flammable so care must be taken when cutting, drying and storing them.
Consider the damage risk
While it’s true that you can build a wooden house in your own backyard, there is still something to consider before you do!
Building a home made of wood is great but not everyone has the skill set or knowledge of building materials to do so safely. You should be aware of what kind of woods are stable and durable, as well as if they contain any chemicals or oils that could cause harm when burned.
Some common types of wood include pine, cedar, oak, and bamboo. However, it is important to know which ones are more stable and durable than others. For example, lumber companies will use white pine as the base material for most houses because it is less expensive and easier to source than red pine.
BUT…white pine is known to produce heavier fumes when burnt, potentially exposing those working with the material to harmful chemical residues. These fume emissions may also irritate people living nearby.
Consider the neighbors
While some people talk about how to do it with no limit, that is not practical unless you have a large yard or land area. Even then, there are rules set up by municipalities and ordinances about what types of structures you can build and where you can put them.
Some buildings require permits and approvals before you start construction, which could mean more costs to get started. You would also need to find time to work on your house during non-working hours since most departments take several days to respond after submitting applications.
Overall, make sure you know the laws for wooden house building in your area before starting!
Building with wood is an excellent way to preserve our environment.
Consider the cost
While it may seem like a good idea to start building your own house, you should do some research first to see if this is really possible. Before jumping into anything too expensive or complicated, make sure that it’s even feasible!
There are many things that can affect how much money you will spend on your home project including cost of materials, legal fees, and the amount of experience people have doing similar projects.
Making an assumption without confirming these factors will only add unnecessary expense for you.
Consider the time it will take
Even if you’re a seasoned pro, building your own house can be quite difficult at times. Not everyone has access to large plots of land with lots of natural resources, so starting from scratch isn’t easy.
Luckily, though, there are many ways to build a wooden house that don’t require too much space or expensive materials. You can start by picking an already-built model and modifying it for your personal style or adding your own touches.
Alternatively, you can pick some general tips and construct your dream home! We’ve got some great information here for you to read through and learn more about how to build a house yourself.