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Reusable building materials?

 
Posts: 50
Location: Wilderness, South Africa
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forest garden building
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Hi folks,

The time is coming for a new centre of operations on this little homestead. The glorified shack I'm in now won't cut it forever.

I plan to build modularly, with the first instalment being about 45 sqm.

I plan to build a post and beam, strawbale infill structure with light straw clay interior walls.

My question is this: what, if any, natural building material for wall systems could be broken down and reused?

The context: as stated above, modular build. One wall of the first instalment will have to come down when the time comes for an extension. I'm wondering if there is some material that I could use to build a wall, leave it up for a year or two, then knock it down, and reuse the materials in another wall in the extension. Make sense?

 
gardener
Posts: 3478
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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For reusability, I don't think you can beat cob. It has less insulating value than strawbale, but the thermal mass may help compensate for that. I have the impression you do not get extreme cold in winter, so it may not be a huge issue for a temporary wall.

For interior walls, I think cob would be better than light straw-clay. It would be stronger at interior partition thicknesses, especially with a wattle and daub style.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1902
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Timber is very easy and fast to with.
Plywood sheets are good as the covering.
I guess it depends on your weather patterns in your area as well.
 
Mike Harris
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Location: Wilderness, South Africa
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Thanks for the suggestions John and Glenn.

I live in a temperate climate, we can have some cold snaps in winter but nothing too serious. We have a lot of moisture though, rain, fog, humidity etc.
 
pollinator
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Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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Locally stone was reused!  But that may not be appropriate for your area.
I suggest using good quality screws or bolts if you use timber, that way if you're trying to disassemble in a few years time you have a better chance of not damaging the wood.
 
Mike Harris
Posts: 50
Location: Wilderness, South Africa
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Thanks Nancy. Not too much stone around here. Plenty of wood though. I might be going the timber route, with good quality bolts as per your suggestion
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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I always use galvanised nails and bolts.
Hot dipped galvanised, not the electroplated items that are often available.
When I dismantle I can use them all again!!

And with modern Hex Headed Tek scews life is easier.
 
Posts: 21
Location: Wisconsin
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I've been thinking along the same lines as the OP. I'm not getting the cob answer in this context, seems like a massive amount of work to put into something that might only be used for a year or two.

Unfortunately, it seems dimensional lumber is the clear winner here. The thing that makes it so easy to sell to a wide market makes it most likely to be reusable in a new design. Bricks might seem even more so, but mortar kills the deal whereas good screws will have many lives to lead usually. I'm guessing a star pattern head would be the most resistant to fouling? They've been working much better than phillips or square for me.

Of course now the big deal is sourcing. Seems to me the shortage primarily falls upon the type of lumber that is most sketchy- commodity wood from who knows where, probably clear cuts. I thought this would be a minor gold rush for people with private mills, but learned that most building codes require graded wood from the cabal of mill owners causing the 'log' jam in the industry right now. Is this certification generally a thing with urban areas, contractors or what?

Of course the point of this is you can make use of old lumber. I have a bunch of 2xX pieces scavenged from an old farm burn pile that are now on their 3rd or 4th life as furniture around my place. Easy to take 100+ year old 2x10s or 2x6s that were on a decaying barn and cut out the parts that were rotting around the nails or edges and still have a sizeable solid piece, feeling good that they didn't use toxic gick like more recently back then...
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