The hottest smart materials from the Ideal Home Show

  • Concrete gets a warm makeover
  • Do believe the hype? The pros and cons of new home materials
  • The wall that thinks it’s a window

Creating your dream home can be a daunting task. Whether it’s some major renovation or building a home from scratch, you need the best advice and materials to make it work.

Our visit to London’s Ideal Home Show revealed the latest innovations to help those dreams become reality.

Here’s a snapshot of what the smartest homes will be sporting in the future:

Recycled steel beams

Recycled steel beams


Wood? So last century. It’s time to say hello to recycled steel frames and goodbye to old wooden beams.

This material comes with eco-credentials as solid as the steel itself. To build a medium-sized home, the timber frame is the equivalent of 40 to 50 trees. This compares to the scrap metal of six cars that make up a standard home built around recycled steel beams.

Pros: Cheap and sturdy.

Cons: If you’re going for the exposed beam look, it can feel a little cold.


The 48-hour staircase

48-hour staircase


The stairway to heaven need not be a long one, thanks to a quick self- assembly staircase from James Grace. This nifty set-up can be used to renovate or build your staircase from scratch.

Pros: It comes in a range of materials, including glass, metal and wood.

Cons: Before your imagination takes flight, check current building regulations – (Part K, if you’re wondering),– that relate to this area of the home.





Concrete has had a makeover. Litracon is the new translucent, warm alternative to standard concrete as it allows natural and artificial light to shine right through it.

Pros: Versatile and stylish. Litracon can be used for a variety of interior decorations, from walls to lamps and kitchen screens. You can curve it, make patterns or use it to create low-energy light features for your home. It can also help you run a greener home if you use it for walls or ceilings, as the natural light it allows in will mean you need to use less energy.

Cons: As you’d expect, it’s not cheap. Prices start at £620 per square metre, and rise depending on the thickness of the material.


Mineral wool insulation

Mineral wool insulationWarm in the winter and cool in the summer, mineral wool – sometimes known as rock wool – helps to dampen noise while naturally controlling the heat in your home.

Pros: A cheap and effective material that’s denser than glass wool and moisture resistant. It also offers better fire resistance than glass wool.

Cons: It can cause skin irritation. If you’re insulating your loft, make sure to keep your skin covered up.


Eco Building Boards (EBB)

Eco Building BoardsThe traditional plasterboard is finally being laid to rest. The Eco Building Board replaces gypsum and paper with clay for an ideal cladding material. Eco Building Boards claims its material is perfect for ceiling and loft extensions.

Pros: It absorbs odour, it’s thermal-efficient, lightweight and low carbon.

Cons: It can help with temperature regulation and heat retention, but it’s not a magic cure for a thermally-challenged home.

If you’re going to the Ideal Home Show, don’t forget to visit British Gas at stand H579 to learn more about smart solutions for the home.

Have you been to the Ideal Home show? Let us know what you thought – join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter: @BritishGas



From around the Web

The Ideal Home Show

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10 unusual interior materials


© Litracon Kft

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