Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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A Year in the Round -- From the ground up (pt. 1)

7/8/2011 5:18:35 PM

Tags: Builderscrete, concrete alternatives, green pavers, ayearintheround.blogspot.com, Natalie Morris

For a while, I contemplated the flooring situation in my tipi. There aren't a lot of options. A wood deck would be nice, but I’m new with the wood stove/indoor fire situation, and that sounds a little more dangerous than I like to be (i.e. probability for survival being at least 50%). Not to mention, decking stuff is kind of expensive and time consuming. I don’t like to do time-consuming things. Expensive things are another story…  

I didn’t want just dirt, though. That’s just, well, dirty. What else? Hm, maybe brick? Still pretty expensive, and I couldn’t find any for free. Stone? Same story. What the heck can I walk on inside this tipi?!! Wait, outdoor pavers…? Hey, that may be possible. They're fire proof, pretty cheap, and they were made for the great outdoors.  

After perusing my local (and semi-local) craigslist without any luck for free or cheap pavers, I began doing research. I figured if I was going to buy them outright, I wasn’t just going to get some big-box store junk. I wanted something a little different, better! Eventually I came across a really cool company called Builderscrete. They make all kinds of stone and concrete-esque things in an extremely green way, by repurposing wood shavings from local sawmills. And they’re just down the road from me in Floyd, Va, where I love to visit. Major plus!  

I called up the owner, Bill McGuire, on his cell and we had a bit of a chit-chat. I told him what I was doing and why I needed some of his pavers. He told me to come on down and have a look around. So I loaded up the ol’ Chevy and headed down the road.  

I’d traveled all around the company’s website, looking at the houses and retaining walls and stuff, but I never really expected it to look any different than another stone creation. However, on the driveway up to the factory, I saw a real-life model of a Builderscrete house. One that Bill built himself, made completely out of Builderscrete bricks. It’s beautiful! My interest piqued and I then became excited to explore the factory yard.   

 Builderscrete house   

After being greeted heartily by two big black Lab mutts, I was greeted equally by Bill. Not as slobbery. He had a genuine interest in my little tipi venture, asking all sorts of questions about what I’m going to do in the winter (most common), what about a bathroom (second most common) and how I'm going to shower (third most common). After that was covered, we got down to the nitty gritty and he showed me some pavers. They were exactly what I needed, so we made a good deal and he helped me load them into the truck.   

Excited that I was so excited, he gave me a personal tour of the place. I got to see all kinds of models, the factory, the process, and he even showed me a shower that he made. It looked like it was carved out of a waterfall! Bill was also pumped to inform me that in the process of making bricks for an entire average-sized house, they use less electricity than a family of four does in one week. Very cool. On top of this other green goodness he performs for a living, he also gets all his products extremely locally, and does business as locally as he can. Impressive.   

 Pavers 

Leaving the slobbery Labradors behind, I headed back up the road to home to unload my new floor and wait while the fill dirt settles.  

...To be continued! 



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