The Tiny house Blog

6 Sustainable Materials for Your Tiny Home Projects

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
outside plants

Home improvement projects are a great way to get creative and transform areas of your tiny home that have been an eyesore. Many choose to DIY home improvements so that they can save money or for the satisfaction of knowing that they worked on their own home.

Tiny Homes offer a lot of room for customization to improve your quality of life and build your dream home. On top of these benefits, they’re also a more sustainable living choice.

Next time you choose to work on your home, consider getting creative with some alternative and eco-friendly building materials. There is a sustainable option for every tiny home goal, so here are some materials to consider.

1. Reclaimed wood

Using reclaimed wood is an easy way to make your home improvement project eco-friendly. You don’t have to worry about working with an unfamiliar material, but you’re still reducing waste from the lumber industry.

reclaimed wood

Another bonus is that reclaimed wood is usually less expensive than traditional lumber. You can use low waste or buy nothing forums to source free or low-cost reclaimed wood. 

You can use reclaimed wood to create a patchwork look to your tiny home’s paneling, or just sand it down and refinish to match your home’s existing projects. This material is great to create some rustic ambiance in your home’s facade.

Because reclaimed wood can be sourced in smaller batches, you don’t need to worry about finding storage for all that material. This is ideal if your tiny home doesn’t have a shed or a ton of extra storage space.

2. Bamboo

Bamboo is a solid alternative to traditional lumber because it grows quickly, so you don’t have to worry about overconsumption or shortages of this material. It is light and sturdy, with different species having different benefits.

Bamboo is a great choice for a unique living fence or partition for your outdoor areas. It’s a highly versatile material that works well cosmetically, like for bamboo flooring, or structurally as a framing material. 

Bamboo doesn’t need a lot of space to grow either, which makes it ideal for tiny home living. Just be aware that your bamboo might grow differently or shorter in smaller plots.

3. Cob

Cob is the ultimate building material if you want to create a unique and homemade feel to your projects. You can make cob at home by mixing 1 part clay, 1 part straw and 4 parts sand with water. 

Because Cob is a material you can make at home, you can mix just the right amount, reducing waste and storage space needed for your projects!

Cob is versatile because you can use it alone to make bricks or build it around a frame. Cob also makes an excellent alternative insulation material. Most builders combine cob with other materials in their projects.

Try making some DIY cob planters to start experimenting with this material. If you’re looking to go any bigger with your cob projects, you might want to double-check to make sure it’s legal to build with cob in your state.

4. Recycled bottles (Ecobricks)

If you’re most concerned about plastic use, ecobricks are the ultimate recycling project. Ecobricks are typically made from plastic bottles that are stuffed with plastic wrappers or bags. 

Because each brick contains quite a bit of material to make it sturdy, ecobricks keep a ton of plastic out of landfills. You can use ecobricks as a brick alternative or incorporate it into your structures for an interesting stained glass look.

Incorporate ecobricks into your garden wall or use them to create a unique path to add some color to your tiny home decor.

5. Shipping containers

Shipping containers continue to rise in popularity as a construction material, especially for tiny homes. Shipping containers can actually offer a lot of options for your build design. You can use a single container for your tiny home or combine multiple for a larger layout.

Not only are these homes cheaper than traditional home construction, but they also help recycle retired shipping containers. 

If you’re working with recycled containers, you’ll need to be careful of their condition. Rust is the number one risk in shipping container homes. You can build safe and long-lasting shipping container homes by properly protecting the container from the elements.

Pre-constructed shipping container homes are also available if you’re not ready for a DIY project this large. Just keep in mind that choosing a pre-constructed container is going to be more expensive and potentially less environmentally friendly than doing your own construction.

6. Prefabricated Homes

Prefabricated homes have a quick construction turnaround and offer you many options to customize your home design. These homes are more sustainable than traditional builds because they cut down on material waste.

Prefabricated homes are delivered fully assembled or in prefabricated-panels, depending on your home needs and manufacturing. This model of construction means that workers have the building process down to a science, saving you time and resources.

Prefabricated homes are also a popular choice for tiny home construction. Because they’ve gotten so popular, there’s a lot of interest in innovating construction materials to be more eco-friendly, including using modular design to prevent future waste.

Modular design is when a home is designed to be easily taken apart for reconstruction. The bonus is that your home can evolve to suit your family’s needs, making future renovations easier and reducing your need to begin new home construction. 

If you’re thinking about pursuing sustainable design and materials for your next home or project, consult with a professional to make sure that your design is safe and follows any local zoning laws. 

There are many motivations for choosing more sustainable building materials. Whether your goal is to keep costs down, to add a unique look to your project, or to minimize waste, sustainable materials help tick all these boxes.

Check out the visual below to learn more about sustainable tech and building materials that you can use in your tiny home.

This graphic is from

Sustainable construction tech

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