Tires are almost ubiquitous in our daily lives, as they look pretty much the same regardless of the type or make of your vehicle and they’re basically everywhere. Just imagine, there are hundreds of millions of tires built in the US alone, year after year. A tire’s life span is anywhere between 2 years and 5 years; after that they’re as good as dead.
Some of them get recycled, some of them get burned (which is horrible for the environment) and some of them are lying around on your property or someone else’s property, waiting for a miracle to happen.
Today’s article will present you with a few ideas about how to recycle old tires for your homestead.
So, talking about your homestead, how about building it using old tires? It’s perfectly doable. Just think of old tires as building blocks, or bricks if you will. Well, take a look at these pictures. These guys built an entire home using nothing but old tires.
The best thing about building with tires is that they’re essentially free of charge and they’re excellent in terms of insulation, not to mention that recycling tires is good for the environment. Here’s a short YouTube video depicting the whole process in detail. Basically, you’re building walls out of tires and you fill the gaps (the holes) with earth. It’s that easy and extremely efficient, not to mention it’s dirt cheap (yeah, I know – bad pun). All that’s required is a bit of elbow grease and a bit of skill.
Video first seen on OFF GRID BUILD
Another great idea for recycling old tires is to use them for building steps to your elevated residence. Take a look at these pictures and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. All that’s required is a bunch of old tires filled with earth and arranged in a symmetrical, step-like pattern and that’s about it. Awesome idea, don’t you think? Another interesting idea is to use tires for creating tire stepping stones in your garden, in mushy areas and things like that, as you can see below.
Now, let’s put our thinking caps on for a second and contemplate the following: what are tires made from? Yes, you guessed it right: rubber. Well, it’s a special type of rubber, augmented with synthetic stuff to give it strength and endurance, but it’s basically rubber, and rubber is water-proof, right? Hence, you can build a roof top using shredded tires. Pure genius, don’t you think? Take a look below and be amazed at what can be achieved with plain old tires, some work and loads of imagination, patience and skill.
If you’re a proud homeowner and you have a basement, what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you when you were paying a visit downstairs and the stairs were wet? Well, I don’t even want to think about it. How about re-using old tires for no-slip stairs? Yes, I know, it’s pure genius.
This is an excellent idea for basement stairs or any type of stairs for that matter. You can even pave the floors with that stuff, or the sidewalk if you have a business and you want to avoid getting sued by obnoxious people. The world is your oyster so use your imagination!
Put old tires and a bunch of kids into the mix and watch it grow into loads of fun. How, you ask? What am I talking about? Well, just pin a bunch of tires on a wooden wall, as per the picture below, and watch your kids evolve into monkeys. Obviously, you can extrapolate from here and pin old tires onto trees and the like, but you get the general idea.
Also, you can paint them in bright, shiny colors when they’re no longer useful on your car and make outdoor planters out of them, or a tree swing for your kids. Even a tire ottoman can be built from reused tires covered with some sort of fabric. Still, climbing beats all – just ask your kids.
Another interesting and useful structure that can be built from old tires is for bike storage. A simple, clever and efficient idea: all you have to do is half-bury a bunch of tires and there goes your bicycle rack.
Speaking of half-tires, you can build a seesaw for your kids with that and a plank of wood. The cost? Next to zero. The amount of fun created? Priceless!
Getting back to a previous idea, building a tire planter is a pretty old concept, but how about mounting the respective planters on the wall? Imagine how awesome the plants cascading on the walls look like! Or you can stack/stagger the planters in your garden, creating a large and complicated scheme that looks awesome…the possibilities are endless. God created tires for more than just moving your car!
If you thought that I was out of ideas, how about this one: build yourself a small backyard pool or pond using a “giant” tire! Basically, you’ll have to dig a hole in the ground big enough to accommodate the giant tire, cover it in a sheet of plastic for retaining the water inside and decorate it with rocks and stuff like that to give it a “natural” appearance if you’d like. The end result looks pretty awesome, don’t you think? The picture doesn’t do it justice.
How about a variant of this idea? Build yourself a redneck pond using old tires buried into the ground. It’s basically the same thing, with a twist: here’s the YouTube video depicting the details. Enjoy!
Video first seen on Mopar Man 240
If you have the skills and the tools, you can build yourself some really cool and useful pieces of furniture using old tires. You can create pretty comfy outdoor or indoor chairs from recycled tires for example. Paint them in vivid colors, sit back and relax. Here’s a pic depicting what I’ve just said but I think you have to be pretty skilled to do this.
Here’s a video where you can admire armchairs made from used tires; these are like the next level in old tire engineering.
Video first seen on Taimo Tõnisson
Now, let’s take a look at a refreshing idea which reminded me of an old commercial that depicted tires and human feet. Enter sandals made from recycled tires. I know that’s not necessarily your cup of tea, especially if you’re living in a first world country. You can afford as many as you want from your local Wal-Mart, but how about making your own from old tires? It’s a good idea after all and would be great in a survival situation. It may save your life someday; who knows?
While we’re at it, I mean in the realms of tire-fashion, let’s take a look at how to DIY recycled tire hand bags and some pieces of furniture. There are people with the improbable name of Eco Designers who build useful stuff like hand bags for the eco-conscious ladies and also various pieces of furniture (chairs and even rugs).
Just take a look at the pics and stand in awe at the human ingenuity! Keep in mind that these gizmos are relatively complicated to DIY and these guys are asking $40 for a bag and over $100 for a chair. However, this is a cool idea and if you don’t have idle hands, who knows, maybe you can even start your own business.
If you have questions, comments or additional ideas about how to use recycled tires for your homestead, feel free to join in in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.
MMcClure | July 24, 2015
Do you have any articles on building an emergency barriers and fences?
Suez | July 24, 2015
Got to show this to my hubs, he will love it, thanks!!!! 😉
COgal | July 24, 2015
Dennis Weaver (the actor) used a lot of tires in constructing his home in Ridgway, CO 20 or 25 yrs ago. Doing so had repercussions for living and health (the tires also gave off noxious fumes) and he had to take them all out. Sometimes what seems like a good idea can be a bad one in the long run. Using tires outside only might make sense, but be cautious about incorporating them into living areas inside.
Pat | July 24, 2015
I’d be a little concerned about the volatile chemicals that will be emitted by the tires, both for housing and for plants. We are told to not use manufactured items for gardening and I think that would apply to housing as well. Perhaps the painting will help to keep the odors away…?
Carroll | July 24, 2015
In Thailand we saw many many garbage containers made from old truck tires, sitting in front of homes and businesses
grintch | July 24, 2015
What kind of paint does one need to paint tires, and what kind of surface preparation is needed?
lolly | July 24, 2015
Awesome ideas. Where do you get tires for free?
David Rice | July 24, 2015
Just looking at pics made me say “Wow!!” I have found them to make great mulch bins if you stack them
Ronald F. Bradford | July 24, 2015
While I pastored a church in South Carolina, one of my church members introduced me to “tire fishing”. We prepared the tires by “sewing the tires shut where the wheel hub had been. Then we cut a one hole on the outside where the tread was. (about big enough to barely cover the hole with your hand. So we went to his lake property and took 26 old tires each and in the earliest part of the year that we could stand to get into the water up to waist deep, we spread the tires over a large area of the bottom making sure all the air was out of the tires. Two days later we went back wading to “check” the tires and finding them with our toes. Then we would bend over and cover the hole with our hand and slowly bring the tire above the surface letting water drain out of the hole. If you heard a tail flopping there was a fish inside and it would half scare you to death until you got used to it. We would reach into the hole to see if we were reaching the tail end of the fish or the head end of the fish. If we felt the tail, we had to retract our arm from the hold and enter going the other direction. When we felt the head, (catfish that is) we would reach our two fingers over the head and hook our fingers over the two side fins and drag the fish out and flip him in our fish bag. Out of one checking for fish in those tires, we caught 29 fish from 52 tires between 1 1/2 lbs to 2 1/2 lbs. Every other day we checked those tires and would get varying amounts from the teens to maybe 25-30 fish. (I used a larger tire in 10′ of water at the end of the pier and checked it the same way, swimming down and pulling the tire up to the surface with my hand over the hole and wrapped my legs around a piling to check it. One time I got one over five pounds. Needless to say, one can fill a freezer pretty fast that way. This really took place and this is not exaggerated.
Johanna | November 16, 2021
This true story was great to read, I love learning new things and I’ve never ever heard of anything like this before. Sounds like you could feed a village in one day doing this and I live how your added just enough detailing in your story, I could visualize just about all of it, but how in the world do you sew up the middle of a tire?
Thank you for telling your memory
L J Acree | July 24, 2015
I really like this helpful article! Maybe your best one yet! I especially like the video showing the proper way to ram tires for a tire home. Thanks!
Joel | July 25, 2015
Aren’t most tire steel belted? If your idea involved cuttimg the tires wouldnt that be almost impossible with steel belted tires?Went to a local tire store and thats all they had.
Pingback:How To Recycle Tires For Your Homestead | TheSurvivalPlaceBlog | July 28, 2015
Really Old Guy | July 28, 2015
Do NOT cut steel-belted tires with a bandsaw…first off, it makes a terrible mess with tiny bits of rubber thrown EVERYWHERE, and secondly, it can easily cause the saw operator injury as the blades start cutting into the steel cords and it “grabs” and “jerks” the tire out of your hand. There is NO safe way to use a conventional saw to cut into steel-belted tires. You could possibly use a grinding wheel, but I imagine the resultant smoke (fire?) and odor of burning rubber would quickly dissuade you. Use tin snips instead, or even bolt cutters when you get to those nasty steel cords.
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DJ Olski | September 15, 2015
I think that this is a great way for people to help the environment and people can RECYLCLE things more. This is what we were made to do. Not to destroy the most beautiful thing we know,
called our Earth.
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Nellie Turken | March 29, 2018
I don’t like to use tires as planters for food plants because I’m concerned that they may leach chemicals into the soil. However, I’ve found that slugs apparently don’t like the feel or taste of rubber and won’t cross a tire barrier, so I stack tires, put planks across them and put pots or old metal tubs on top. This is especially good for strawberries, which slugs adore. Stack them two high for extra protection against the slimy little buggers. Using them for flowers is probably okay and I may try the tires on a wall for flowers, as it looks awesome!