If you have thought of using environmentally friendly materials for your home improvement projects, you probably have never considered materials that come from coal. There's a lot of misinformation about the coal-burning process suggesting that burning coal results in harmful emissions. Today, harmful emissions are scrubbed and cleaned, which results in by-products that can be used to make various materials. Here are 3 home improvement projects that can use by-products from the coal industry.
There are several types of coal, including thermal coal and metallurgical coal. Metallurgical coal is used to make steel. The process involves heating the coal to high temperatures with no oxygen present, which results in the carbonization of the coal as the impurities of the coal are burned off. The resulting product is coke. Coke is then mixed with iron ore in a blast furnace, along with very small amounts of minerals to collect any impurities. The result of the heating of iron ore and coke is steel.
Steel roofing is beneficial because it is fire resistant, easy to maintain, and has a long life expectancy. If you don't like the look of steel roofing, consider stone-coated steel roofing as an alternative. Stone-coated steel roofing can be made to look like asphalt shingles, clay tiles, and most other types of roofing materials.
Fiber Cement Siding
When thermal coal is burned to produce power, fly ash and bottom ash are produced. Scrubbing methods are used to collect the ash and to then transform the ash into useful by-products. Fly ash and bottom ash have been found to have properties of low permeability and long-lasting strength, which have led to the material being used in conjunction with portland cement. It's important to note that there are different types of fiber cement siding. Some manufacturers use wood fiber, while others use fly ash. However, fiber cement siding made with wood fibers may not have the same fire-resistant qualities as siding made with fly ash, simply due to the nature of wood fibers.
Fiber cement siding comes in a wide variety of designs and textures, which makes it a wonderful material to use when renovating an older home, especially when the homeowner wants to achieve a traditional appearance. The installation of fiber cement siding should be done by a professional, which could add to the installation costs. However, ongoing maintenance costs for this type of siding are minimal, with only the occasional hosing off or power-washing may be necessary. Click here to investigate more about fiber cement siding.
Synthetic Gypsum Wallboard
Another by-product of coal burning results in the same chemical compound as natural gypsum. Synthetic gypsum is produced from coal by-products through a process called flue gas desulfurization. Gypsum is the powdery material that is sandwiched in between two sheets of paper to produce wallboard or, in other words, drywall.
You may find that synthetic gypsum wallboard is typically more affordable than wallboards made with natural gypsum. This is because naturally occurring gypsum is mined and then crushed and ground into a fine, flour-like substance. It is then combined with water to make a paste so it can be pressed in between two sheets of paper. However, synthetic gypsum from coal burning is already in the state it needs to be in for the production of wallboard and, therefore, is more cost-effective to manufacture.
In conclusion, when going green for your home improvement projects, you can and should consider using by-products from the coal industry. The more that by-products are used, the less that will end up in landfills. Speak with your home improvement contractors for more information on these and other materials that come from by-products of the coal industry.