Category Archives: Construction Materials

12/01 Superior Concrete Tiny Houses Offers Tiny Homes in Multiple Designs to Fit the Consumers’ Living Needs

The Chisholm Trail Cabin by Superior Concrete Tiny Homes

The Chisholm Trail Cabin by Superior Concrete Tiny Homes

Superior Concrete Tiny Houses offers tiny homes in multiple designs to fit the consumer’s living needs and price point. All of their tiny homes are constructed and engineered from modular precast concrete employing cutting-edge technology to ensure they are highly durable and look good with little to no maintenance. Most of their tiny homes are built on a solid foundation…

Superior Concrete Tiny Houses aims at working closely with the clients, helping them get their desired tiny house within their budget. All of these tiny houses are prepared in the company’s factory that has been certified by the National Precast Concrete Association for more than 15 years.

A spokesperson of Superior Concrete Tiny Homes talked more about their tiny homes, “Once you make the decision to move into a tiny home, Superior Concrete Tiny Houses provides a range of options to help make the house your own. From the size and amenities to whether the home should be mobile or built on a fixed foundation, our design team will work with you to customize the tiny home to your specifications.”

Superior Concrete Tiny Houses uses decorative precast concrete to construct durable and beautiful tiny homes that are designed to last.

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11/29 Bowen Island company makes tiny homes made of hemp

A worker stands in front of a wall of hempcrete — concrete made of hemp hurd and fibres, lime, clay and about two per cent cement.

A worker stands in front of a wall of hempcrete — concrete made of hemp hurd and fibres, lime, clay and about two per cent cement. Photo by Hempcrete Natural Building Ltd.

Tiny, eco-friendly hemp homes are the made-in-B.C. solution to the housing crisis, according to some advocates.

Kim Brooks, the CEO of Hempcrete Natural Building, along with her partner, Jayeson Hendryson, have been building two tiny homes made of hemp since spring.

The company uses hempcrete — a type of concrete made from hemp hurd, fibres, clay, lime and a bit of actual concrete.

“We mix it, pour it into forms and then plaster it with our special type of plaster and then colour it with natural pigments,” she explained.

Hemp has a number of industrial uses — from fibres in ropes and textiles to paper and insulation.

The plant has been increasingly popular as a building material because it is considered eco-friendly, renewable and cheap to produce.

The main disadvantage is hempcrete is lighter than regular concrete and cannot be used on weight-bearing walls. It’s often used in conjunction with more load-bearing materials like wood, steel or brick.

In addition, the production of hemp — which is in the same family as cannabis but has a much lower THC level — has been a contentious issue. It was banned from 1938 to 1998, but since then the industry has picked up, with crops grown across central and Western Canada.

Brooks has lived in a hemp home since the early 2000s and says the benefits are worth it.

“The biggest benefit for me has been not using any allergens or petrochemicals. My lungs are very happy and healthy,” she said.

“It’s also insect and rat resistant because they don’t like the lime. In fact, it’s deadly for them to eat it.”

Eco-friendly tiny homes

The company has helped build many hemp houses across Western Canada before turning to tiny homes.

“A couple of years ago in Northern Alberta, we had a client who wanted a very tiny house on skids … that was a pretty cool idea.”

Brooks said the tiny hemp homes could help with the affordable housing crunch here in British Columbia.

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11/05 Hempcrete founders look to go global with tiny house design

Rendering for a design of a 530 sq ft hempcrete house, with two loft-style bedrooms, built onto a metal skid that allows the house to be moved from place to place.

Rendering for a design of a 530 sq ft hempcrete house, with two loft-style bedrooms, built onto a metal skid that allows the house to be moved from place to place.

Sixteen years after delving into the world of natural building, Jayeson Hendryson and Kim Brooks say they are in full-on research and development road, and preparing to take their business to a whole new level.

This past week, the couple unveiled their plans for a “tiny hemp house,” one of which is currently under construction on their Bowen Island property.

The house is based on a smaller one they built for a mushroom farmer in Alberta. The current design is 530 square feet, with two loft-style bedrooms, built onto a metal skid that allows the house to be moved from place to place.

The walls, of course, are made from “hempcrete,” a material created by Hendryson, inspired by the couple’s quest for a “benign building material.”

“We used to live in a conventionally built house that had mold in the walls and I came down with pneumonia,” says Brooks. “So that was one issue. We also wanted something non-toxic, something that would last. And I hate rats, so we wanted something that was pest-proof – (lime is a primary ingredient in hempcrete, and it is toxic to rats and other pests, so they don’t bother with it. ) if rats or carpenter ants eat this stuff they die…”

The reasons for “hemp” as the material choice go on and on. For Hendryson though, hempcrete is as much about a solution for building houses as it is a solution for building thriving communities.

“In my early twenties I visited an idyllic yet disfunctional West Coast island – there was no adequate housing, the power was always going out, the food was expensive… there was this huge disparity of wealth. I started asking, what’s missing here? And I realized there is no real community, no long term attachment, if people are constantly forced to move. I started to think that from a place of strong shelter, a strong community could develop.”

Over the past decade, much of Hendryson’s work has taken him away from Bowen, often to northern BC and Alberta. Last spring, he says, he was motivated to drop his work there and re-focus on Bowen in part because of news about the housing crisis.

Hendryson and Brooks say they see Bowen as their “lab” for the Tiny Hemp Home, and they are continually improving and refining the product, but would like to bring this concept and the knowledge required to build these homes globally. They are currently in discussions with patent lawyers, as the research that has been done on the energy generation, septic, mechanical, ventilation and thermal solutions of their tiny homes work so well with their hempcrete that they say it is a patent-able, end to end system.

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10/10 Cool coated metal roof on this tiny house for a family of seven

545 sq ft house of the Moore family, Ozawkie, Kansas

545 sq ft house of the Moore family, Ozawkie, Kansas

The Moore family from Ozawkie, Kansas is not your average “tiny home” household. In fact, they are quite the opposite, being a group of seven. However, this full-sized family with their larger than life personalities was set on going tiny not only to save money, but also concentrate on spending time together rather than accumulating stuff to fill up a house and take up their time.

As was featured on “Tiny House Nation,” the family downsized from their five bedroom, 3,200 square-foot home to a 545 square-foot tiny house, which equates to an 80 percent reduction of the space that the Moore’s were previously used to. To help lessen the shock of their lifestyle change, general contractor Mel Armstrong developed a three-dimensional diagram to show the family exactly what the tiny home would look like when constructed.

Before construction began, the family had a few non-negotiables to discuss with builders John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin: they needed a large, open living area and a high-lofted ceiling to help make the space feel bigger with so many bodies sharing the same rooms. Once the vision was set, designers needed a way to make everything happen, namely turning this tiny house into a major success.

Much of that came from the materials used, which included simonized tinted windows that let in lots of light but don’t sacrifice on insulation. These windows were installed from the ground all the way to the roof of the house, which allows for the appearance of a more open capacity throughout the entire home.

Decorative stone ply gem and stained wood panels made up the interior walls, creating a hand-hewn look throughout the house. Concrete walls with attached siding formed the outside of the structure, and McElroy Metal’s Max-Rib Ultra metal panels, coated in Fluropon SR in the color Tudor Brown, formed the metal roof. The metal roof was chosen because of its versatility and durability, and the solar reflective coating was chosen in part because it delivers an eco-friendly way to resist heat absorption from the sun. This can help lower energy cooling costs and keep buildings at a more comfortable temperature without sacrificing durability, performance or beauty.

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10/04 Hempcrete Tiny House is Finished

Dion Lefebvre's hempcrete tiny house under construction

Dion Lefebvre’s hempcrete tiny house under construction

After more than three years of hard work and dedication, a Westlock man has put the final touches on his new home.

The result? Dion Lefebvre is now the owner of a home that breaks the mold of traditional home building — combining condensed living and energy efficiency.

“I think the house has the potential to change the local economy and maybe the whole world,” Lefebvre said.

The 350-square-foot “tiny home” is primarily built with hempcrete, a material made from hemp, combining the plant’s woody core and a lime-based binder. The result is a lightweight concrete-type insulating material.

Dion Lefebvre holding a piece of hempcrete

Dion Lefebvre holding a piece of hempcrete

Lefebvre touts it as potentially the most energy-efficient material, noting that it’s also fire, mould and rot resistant.

“Possibly. I did a lot of research and aside from Earthship Homes, this is he most efficient build that I’ve seen,” he said.

A 25-year veteran of the moving industry, Lefebvre says he was inspired to start the project after his industry exposed him to some of the worst of the construction industry.

“I’ve moved people into brand new homes that I considered quite poor quality, a lot of cheap materials,” he said.

“I wanted to build a safe, healthy place for my kids. I wanted to have a house I could live in forever, a house that would outlive me.”

All in, Lefebvre said he estimates he’s spent about $25,000 to $30,000 on the home.

“A lot of it has been sweat equity. As far as money goes, I’ve had good friends help me with some areas,” he said.

“The cost has been minimal.”

On Saturday, Sept. 24 more than 20 people stopped by to have a first-hand look at the finished product during an open house.

Lefebvre said it was mostly family and friends that stopped by, but noted local realtors also stopped by to take a peek. He said the open house was mainly to show off all his hard work.

“I want to change peoples’ ideology,” he said. “I think everyone should live in one.”

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[Note: In addition to building innovations, Dion Lefebvre has been recognized for his bravery in pulling people from their vehicles at a crash.]