We have heard about people collecting freshly-cut hair from saloons for wigs, but this has to be a first. Paula Sunshine, an expert restorer of old homes and buildings, is using human hair to strengthen the walls of her four-bedroom farmhouse in Lawshall, Suffolk.
Paula's idea of using hair to strengthen and insulate walls, is not new. Many old historical buildings were constructed using hair from animals like goats and yaks. Even today, plasterers like to use this method when they are restoring those homes. However, the idea of using human hair is a first.
The craftsman says she thought of trying human hair, since there were not too many long-haired animals in the area she lives in - but thanks to hair saloons, plenty of human hair, she could experiment with.
Paula's lime render plaster mix comprises of one part lime putty, three parts of crushed chalk and as much hair as she can cram in. She has already re-plastered her inside walls and is now embarkingon the exterior.
However, while Paula's method is 'green' and saves greenhouse gases generated by construction materials, which have to be mixed in super-hot ovens and transported long distances, it is not very practical.
That's because it is very labor intensive and slow. It has taken Paula, who works alone, ten years to complete plastering just the inside walls of her house. The cost of doing a similar project on a commercial basis would be prohibitive.
However, it sure is a cool way to recycle cut hair and help the environment at the same time! To learn more about Paula and her 'Wattle and Dab' house repair technique , check out her website: www.paulasunshine.co.uk.