Safer Built Environments for 90% of the World

Building Material Spotlight: Tyres

Tires can be recycled and used as a building material.  Although still not commonly seen or recognised, would definitely love to see this material recycled and taken advantage of in the construction industry.  A very common application is used as a flooring material in high traffic areas, also used as vibration dampeners, as well as in furniture surfaces.


  • Low Maintanence
  • Cost effective
  • Builds passive-solar residences
  • Acts as thermal mass
  • Provides relatively consistent interior temperatures
  • Very efficient for earthquake-resistant structures
  • Strong, durable & flexible

Types of Construction:

Rammed-Earth Construction 

Rammed-earth homes are designed to maximize energy-efficiency, remaining relatively warm in winter months and cool in summer months.

Their dense design is ideal for thermal mass storage and their orientation is meant to capture lower winter sun rays and block more direct summer rays.

Recycled automotive tires filled with compacted earth form what are called rammed-earth bricks and are used in place of traditional wood framing. Soil is tightly packed into the frame of the tire, with a cardboard sheet placed across the base. A typical 2,000 square-foot home uses 1,000 scrap tires on average.

Small gaps in the frames, due to the tires being round, are filled with recycled materials, typically aluminum cans or bottles and adobe.


Tire-Bale Construction

An alternative to rammed-earth tire bricks, tire-bales have been used recently as a way of utilizing scrap resources without the intense labor of packing 1,000 tire bricks.

A tire-bale is a square brick of approximately 100 compressed tires, weighing about 2,000 pounds. Homes built with tire bales use thousands of compressed tires, many more than standard rammed-earth bricks.

They are stacked like oversize bricks to frame the outside walls of the home.

After the walls of rammed-earth and tire-bale walls are smoothed with earth, they are finished with layers of plaster or stucco.

Examples of Tires as building material:

Michael Reynold’s Earthship concept


« »

© 2018 Design490. Theme by Anders Norén.