Repurposing and Creating with Used Automotive Tires

Automotive tires are made of sturdy rubber and can be repurposed for many things when they are no longer of use on a vehicle. Used tires come in many different sizes and tread widths and are made for many different types of vehicles, from cars and trucks to trailers, tractors, and farm machinery. With a little alteration and ingenuity, you can adapt used tires for many other purposes. Here are just a few ways to repurpose used tires.

  • Tires as Building Materials—Used tires can be reinforced and altered to be used as building materials. To transform a used tire into a building block or brick, close one side of the tire with a piece of plywood. Fill the interior of the tire with crumpled chicken wire for strength and then pour in fresh concrete or adobe clay. Smooth the wet concrete or clay in the opening and allow to completely dry. These concrete-filled or adobe-filled tires can now be used as building blocks and bricks. Lay the tires side by side to build walls. Cover the tire walls with concrete, filling all of the indents left by the curves of the tires. The resultant tire wall will be very thick and weather resistant. Interior surfaces of a tire-walled building can be finished with traditional building materials such as sheetrock and other wall finishes. Exterior surfaces can also be finished as traditional structures, or the tire wall can be left visible. This is a very economical and environmentally friendly way to build residential and storage structures.  
  • Tires as Stairs—Used tires can be cut open and installed as flat rubber treads for existing stairways. Once the tire has been cut, it can be mounted onto each stair step with epoxy cement and screwed into place with flat head screws and washers. The hardware used to attach the tire treads to the stair steps can be painted to match the color of the tires being used. This process of covering a stairway with used tire treads results in stair steps that are weatherized and slip resistant. This process can be used in the interior of a building and also in a garden or landscape setting.     
  • Tires as Flooring—Used tires can also be installed as sturdy flooring for a workshop or studio. Cut the tires open and cover the back of the tire with contact cement. Mount the flattened tire strips onto a wood or concrete subfloor. Reinforce the tire strips by screwing them in place with flat head screws and washers. Dirt and debris can be easily removed from flooring made of tire treads by vacuuming the tire treads with an industrial strength shop vac and washing the flooring with water and a mop.  
  • Tires as Furniture—Used tires can be repurposed to make components for chairs, tables, sofas, and beds. Slice the used tires into half-circles and fill them with concrete or adobe clay. Use these tire half-circles as the basic structure of furniture. These tire structures can be covered in custom-made upholstery for comfort. Leather lattices can be suspended within empty used tires for chair seats and to make a support structure for a sofa or bed.  Used tires can also be used as the basis for a glass table top. 

Used tires of many different sizes are in unlimited supply in automotive recycling yards and tire shops and are often obtained for free. You can also go to sites of companies that sell tires to see what kinds of tires you might like to work with. The objects and structures you can build with used tires are limitless. Let your imagination run wild and you can design and create many things from used tires. Your creations will be good for the environment and good as conversation starters with your family and friends.