Affordable housing is hard to secure these days, but with a little imagination and DIY skills, folks around the United States are looking to a new way to modify an old farm staple: Grain Bins. Making a house out of a grain bin is not an easy task, but it is an affordable option that many are turning to in order to house their families.
Many grain bins in rural and farming communities are standing empty these days as farmers use other means of storing corn, hay, and grain. A grain bin home will cost approximately, $200 per square foot, and one has even been constructed for as low as $9,000. This is a dramatic difference when compared to real estate prices. Grain bins are also easier to heat, more efficient, and a lot of fun can go into designing a one of a kind home.
Mark Clipsham is an innovative designer working on a project that would put one small grain bin into a large one, and then insulating the space in between. This solves a great dilemma in climates like the Great Plains, and Northern parts of the U.S. and Canada, that have colder and longer winters.
There are literally dozens of Grain Silo Home plans across the internet, but the one with greatest credibility is one published by Mother Earth News in 2010. Since that article, Grain Bin Homes are popping up everywhere, and it is easy to see why. The first step is to find the right bin or bins. It is also easy to connect bins with inexpensive walkways. If you have your own, on your own property, you are a step ahead. If not, you will have to locate some empty, for sale bins, in your area. If you need to move them, depending on size, some can be moved in one piece on a flatbed truck. Others will need to be taken apart, and later reconstructed on your land.
Once the bins are on your land, you can start creating your own vision in your head and draw out plans. On the other hand, if you choose several sites sell plans, so all you have to do is follow them or have a contractor do so. If you do not do the two bin (a smaller in a larger) philosophy, you will need to figure out a good way to insulate the home. You will also want to make sure all roofs are securely fastened, and that are no leaks. Do this prior to starting on the interior work. Solar panels added at this time will provide heating and energy when installed properly.
One of the hardest hurdles is installing electric and water lines. These codes vary from state to state and in Canadian Provinces. One of the best ways to plumb a grain bin is to use polyethylene tubing instead of copper; this also helps pipes not to freeze as fast. Since grain bins are metal, it is necessary to ensure the building remains safe from lightning strikes. Using two industrial grounding rods (or more if you have multiple bins hooked together). Run with separate copper grounding wires throughout the building.
Hiring a licensed plumber and electrical contractor is a must, not only due to laws, but also for safety and to ensure that your new Grain Bin Home will bring you years of family fun.
After you’ve made sure your Grain Bin Home’s overall construction is complete, it time to put up some walls. This is where your design talents can shine. Creating the kitchen, living space, and bedrooms, is fun for the whole family. Kids will feel a greater sense of pride in their home, when they know that they had a say in the division of space. The next step is to start putting fixtures in the home, like sinks, showers, closet structures, kitchen appliances, light fixtures, and room dividers.
Expect the trend of Grain Bin Homes to continue to grow and advance as family’s look for more economical and environmentally friendly options. Grain Bin Houses can be a great way to try out your inner “designer” or “architect” dreams, so have at it, be creative. Here is some plans to get you started http://www.dreamgreenhomes.com/plans/bincabin.htm.
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