Using Alternative Building Products

The shortage of building products has been a big issue for home builders these days. With the delay in orders and shortages of home building materials, home builders are choosing alternative products for their home building projects.

The alternative materials include some such as rammed earth, adobe brick, and volcanic rock. These natural materials are great for insulation with heating and colling benefits. The downside is higher costs for skilled labor. Home inspectors and energy consultants could also have a hard time evaluating these items because they are unfamiliar with them.

An important long-term effect that builders do not want to ignore is mold. Earthen materials are made up of many organic substances that house mold. Natural building materials include cellulose or carbohydrate-based products which are a great source of food for mold.

Mold can be avoided by builders, it is important to understand the relationship between construction materials and their susceptibility to mold in the presence of moisture.  “Buildings will never be designed, built, maintained, or utilized perfectly; and weather and natural disasters cannot be predicted. The one thing we can have complete control over, the materials within the building, should be selected wisely,” reports Aaron Cooper.

The National Association of Home Builders has a guide for reviewing building materials called Assessing Building Materials. Builders can assess these materials by talking with the manufacturers and distributors. A couple of the questions they can ask do I understand the make-up of the building materials is similar to building materials available from another manufacturer that can provide more data, is the data that was provided complete, do I have confidence in the manufacturer and does another manufacturer improve my confidence in these building materials?

NAHB wants to help its members find the most important and pertinent information when it comes to evaluating new materials or products. Builders can make more informed decisions with this guide.

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