10 New and Innovative Home Building and Design Materials

10 new and innovative home design materials

Home renovation numbers are only rising in Canada. This year, 48 per cent of Canadians are choosing to renovate or fix up their homes. The majority of Canadians want to renovate to stay at home even though they are planning on spending less (about $11,800 per household on average this year).

home numbers rising

Are you part of the 48 per cent of homeowners who are planning to renovate this year? If you are, then you should consider fixing up your home with some of the most innovative products on the market today; especially if you plan on staying in the home long after the renovation is complete. Why not enjoy the fruits of some innovative and beautiful materials?

Home Renovation Materials

Materials are crucial in a property remodel. Every homeowner is on a budget; however, one must not lose sight of the importance of quality materials.

Good materials can last a lifetime. High-quality materials often come with a great warranty that protects the buyer from defaults, damages, and poor product performance. When you purchase quality materials you are making an investment.

home reno

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It's not only that high-quality materials come with significant advantages--cheap materials come with serious disadvantages.

They can wear down quickly, and they aren’t designed to be durable or wear well when they are pushed to their limits. In addition to that, cheap materials can be a health hazard. They may contain budget glues that contiain formaldehyde, for example. Or, they may have a lower fire safety rating in comparison to their competitors.

Finally, quality materials are usually made with higher environmental standards, which include being recyclable and sustainable.

So, when you spend a bit more on your building products you get a lot more. Products that are made on a budget are priced as such because the manufacturer skipped out on certain processes and materials.

At the end of the day always remember that you get what you pay for!

Building Innovation

There has been an increasing amount attention directed towards high-quality and sustainable home improvement materials. This provides a great return on investment, either through LEED points or energy savings/returns, for example. Green products also offer a reduced CO2 footprint, and some products can even cost less labour fees to install.

If you’re thinking of renovating or remodeling then consider investing in some of the newest items on the market listed below!

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Tesla Solar Tiles

tesla solar tiles

Image courtesy of Tesla.

Who hasn’t heard of Tesla Solar Roof tiles yet? We don’t have access to them just yet, but they are supposed to be available in Canada by 2018.

Tesla claims that Solar Roof tiles will be as affordable, if not cheaper, than regular roofing materials. At approximately $21.85 per square foot, these roof tiles are a competitive alternative to regular roofing materials (which cost roughly $24.50 per square foot).

A solar roof is a step towards home sustainability and self-sufficiency. It allows homeowners to get off the grid, produce their own green energy, and save money. In addition, Tesla claims that these roof tiles are more durable than eny existing hard roof tiles on the market.

If you’re thinking of redoing your roof this year then consider holding off on the project for one year. You could be in for massive savings and a huge return if you can wait until 2018 when Tesla Roof Tiles are available. As usual with all roofing projects, large upfront costs pay off in terms of security, shelter, and longevity.

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3-D Printing

3d printed house

Photo courtesy of Apis Cor.

Forget about hiring a builder for your new build. You can have your home 3D printed in 24 hours instead! The San Francisco based start-up, Apis Cor, built a 400-square foot 3D printed house in Russia. The house is constructed out of concrete. The roof, insulation, and utilities were installed by hand.

It’s the perfect option for those who are hoping to downgrade to a ‘tinier’ home and save some serious cost on a new ‘build’. This 3D printed home costs just over $10k.

The beauty of the 3D printed home is that it is customizable. So, homeowners can request different shapes and sizes to fit their various needs.

All of the dreaded issues that are tacked onto new build projects (long timelines, going over budget, soaring prices) are null when the home is printed with a 3D printer! All we need to do is wait for it to enter into the mainstream market...

Insulated Concrete


Photo of ICF concrete pour courtsey of Fastform and the Nudura team.

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are not new in the construction industry. In fact, they have been around for years (since World War II!). However, they are not readily used in residential home buildings. Instead, they are more common in commercial and industrial projects.

ICFs are stackable foam blocks that are reinforced by a steel bar and filled with concrete. They basically are a foam-concrete sandwich.

They provide incredible heat and sound insulation. They are also extremely strong and sturdy. They aren't beautiful home siding options on their own; however, your home siding expert can attach any product you like once the ICF is in place.

ICF may not be the best building material for very cold climates because the foam and concrete transfer heat quickly. Despite being a great building material ICF costs can quickly add up. ICF can add up to $5 per square foot onto the cost of the house frame. However, energy savings may make up for this in the long run.

Keep in mind that concrete creates a higher CO2 footprint compared to other products such as wood. So, ICFs may not be the best option for the eco-minded homeowner.

Laminated Timber


Image of a Cross Laminated Timber Panel courtesy of APA - The Engineered Wood Association.

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is constructed by stacking and gluing 3 to 7 layers of kiln-dried lumber boards together. Buildings are constructed by stacking the planks in alternating directions for strength.

CLT is most commonly used in commercial buildings. It’s becoming a popular building material for high-rise structures. Although it isn’t a go-to building material for the residential sector just yet it very well could be.

CLT has incredible tensile and compressive strength. It is an eco-friendly alternative to most hardwood products since manufacturers use young trees to produce the planks. CLT structures require less building time since the product comes in large, prefabricated, and sometimes custom planks.

A team of carpenters can build the whole home together. This reduces the home building timeline because a whole team of experts is not needed to construct the home. This may also help keep installation costs down.

Overall, CLT has the same strength as reinforced concrete, but it produces less CO2 emissions overall (wood sequesters carbon instead of producing it).

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Graphene Paint


Graphene is a new addition to the science community as well as the home improvement industry. This material can absorb light and produce electricity. Recent experiments incorporated graphene into paint products to bring us this innovation breakthrough.

Graphene paint was launched in the UK during the spring of 2017. Scientists believe that using the paint on building exteriors can convert solar energy to usable power for home appliances. Some claim that this makes graphene paint extremely environmentally friendly and functional.

Some also claim that graphene paint will improve thermal regulation on the inside of buildings when it is applied to interior walls. This would be a huge energy saver since existing lime-based paint options on the market today cannot do this. Graphene paint will purifiy the air inside the home since it's made nearly from pure lime.

This new product seems like an increible addition to the home painting industry!

Loose Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

Loose lay vinyl plank flooring

Photo Courtesy of Karndean Designflooring, style LLP317 Lemon Spotted Gum.

Loose lay vinyl flooring is a relatively new vinyl flooring product. It’s easy to install because it doesn’t involve clicking, sliding, or locking. These planks simply fall into place and are fitted into the room. The planks are not glued down (although they could be), so they can be easily removed and moved to another room or changed if they become damaged.

Loose lay vinyl is a durable, comfortable, and recyclable flooring option on the market. It does not float above a sub floor, which means that it muffles sound very well. The product doesn’t shrink, grow, or warp like laminate or hardwood products.

Vinyl is a great flooring option for a home renovation project and it comes in a wide variety of colours and styles. Most of the vinyl loose lay plank options have a life-like wood finish.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a diverse set of vinyl prints to avoid pattern repetition because the product is so new in the market. In addition, there are a limited amount of plank sizes. Nevertheless, the product can be cut to fit.

Terrazzo / Trend Q

Trend Q

Image Courtesy of Trend Group.

Terrazzo gained its popularity a long time ago and then fell out of style. Recently, terrazzo has had a resurgence in the home improvement industry.

Terrazzo is a solid product made from concrete and chips of pigmented stone or tiles. In recent years, manufacturers have further developed terrazzo products. They have made terrazzo alternatives that are derrived from more recycled materials. New options are more earth-friendly that older concrete-based options.

Today, one terrazzo alternative called Trend Q, is made with pigmented resin instead of concrete. This is a huge step forward since concrete has a high CO2 footprint. Some Trend Q products also contain close to 70% recycled materials! Homeowners can earn LEED credits with this product.

Trend Q can be made into solid surfaces (such as countertops) or tiles that are perfect for any home. It’s an innovate and custom surface option for homeowners to take advantage of. Trend Q comes in a variety of playful colours, which allows homeowners to showcase their unique styles and tastes!

Sheep’s Wool Insulation

Sheep's wool insulation

Image courtesy of Good Shepherd Wool.

Sheep’s wool can keep your home cozy and warm. It’s considered to be one of the more (if not the most) natural home insulation options. It acts as a thermostat to keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Although it’s not abundantly sold or produced in Canada, sheep’s wool insulation offers comparable insulation levels of cellulose and fiberglass. It does not contain any of the harmful flame retardant chemicals that cellulose and fiberglass batting contain. The installation processs does not require any harmful glues like other options do. Some glues can be a carcinogenic health hazard when inhaled.

One large advantage of this product is that sheep’s wool does not pack down or lose its insulation properties over time like sprayed cellulose does. Wool can get wet and still retain its insulation properties without getting ruined. Wool is breathable and can hold a moisture content of around 35%.



Image courtesy of Hemp Technologies Collective.

Hempcrete has taken off in the past five years in North America. Today, it serves as a fantastic alternative to fiberglass insulation. Hemp may be new to America and Canada, but it has been used as a building material for centuries around the world in countries such as Japan and France.

Hempcrete is made from lime and hemp. It has the same strength as residential concrete, but it resists cracking under movement. Hempcrete lacks structural stability, but it provides incredible natural insulation. It does not grow mold and it is fireproof, thus making it an incredibly durable building product—especially for those who live in damp environments.

Geoluxe / Pyrolithic Stone

Geoluxe countertops

Photo courtsey of Geoluxe.

Geoluxe is a solid manufactured stone product. It was recently introduced to the market. It looks the same as marble, and even embodies marble’s trade mark ‘veins’. However, Geoluxe is more durable than natural marble. It captures the appeal and aesthetic of marble without it’s drawbacks.

It’s manufactured the same way that marble is naturally produced: using heat, minerals, and pressure. This stone is highly resistant to staining, gouges, scratches, acid, and heat. This makes Geoluxe a great kitchen countertop option for homeowners who love to cook and entertain.

Buying Home Renovation Materials

Some innovative, eco-friendly products will cost you more up front. However, at the end of the day, these products can bring you a greater return. They can either save energy, create energy, last longer, and perform better than lower grade options.

When purchasing materials for your home renovation it’s important to think about the big picture.

Pick materials that will last well into the future and that will give you the highest return. When you purchase innovative or top-of-the-line products you will see the benefit in years to come without regret!

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Posted by: Nicole Silver
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