This bottle house is over 100 years old, your idea should work fine.
To get your 18" bottle brick just cut the top and bottom of 2 more bottles to 4" and duct tape them together, now you have an 8" bottle cylinder, then duct tape the other 2 bottles with just the tops cut off that are 5" to either end of your 8" bottle cylinder, voila 18" bottle brick. Wrap whole bottle brick in tin foil.
This book is probably a good place to start: Essay on the Theory and History of Cohesive Construction Applied Especially to the Timbrel Vault written by Rafael Guastavino. I believe that all the structures he built are still in use today and NONE have suffered any deterioration, and they're all 100+ years old. I imagine you would be able to acquire all the knowledge you need to build such a structure from this book.
As far as finding someone that actually does this kind of work MIT did some structures but I think they were temporary. But finding any real 1st world applications is probably nil.
The most difficult part would be to get any jurisdiction to permit such a structure and would probably also involve finding an engineer who really knew this type of construction and could convince the powers that be to sign off on such a structure.
There is also the Auroville earth institute, they do courses in such work but they are located in India.
I also like traditional nubian vaults this youtube video is really educational even if you dont speak spanish
You said flat roofs are traditional to your wifes part of the world? How do they build them in her part of the world?
All that being said, you should probably build for your neck of the woods, or move to a part of the US where rain is minimum and a flat roof is suitable to the region. I have some land for sale if you wanna move to the desert!
WAIT! The majority of Guastavino's structures are in New York and Pennsylvania, I believe, so maybe it could work in Ohio. I think the trick would be something like with earthships where the roof is slightly tilted to the south so the winter sun melts the snow off the roof and doesnt allow much build up.
Thanks for posting the video too. I really like it as a learning tool more for what not to do,but the structures are beautiful. Planning goes a long way. It seemed like they just built the walls and then discovered vault building, then decided to put it on a structure that quit possibly could collapse, SCARY! Guastavino's vaults only rose 10% of the distance they spanned and used no form work, I think they would have had an easier time building had they used Guastavino's technique. Also Nubian vaults (true ones) transfer all thrust down to the walls, not outward, however the walls need to be a bit more substantial and you can only span about 10ft using adobe brick.
I am going to politely disagree with this statement
Mix sand and lime together, wait a couple of months and you'll be able to crush your test cylinders with your hand
. I have made lime mortar from lime bought at home depot, and it is still strong.
In fact! Ryan Chivers said that he will only use type s hydrated lime when available for his tadelakt projects as it was the only way he could make any gaurantee to his clients, and he knows his limes.
I'm no materials scientist but in my experience and others' it does its job. That is not to say that adding pozzolans to it is a bad idea, just that it performs well as a binder in itself.
I think traditionally this was based on whatever method people in the region built with. People that live in regions where earthen construction is the dominant (or only) form of construction have been familiar with a method since they were children. If bricks are used in the area you use brick, if cob is used you use cob, rammed earth you use rammed earth ect, ect.
That being said I would say cob is slightly "faster" than any other form in the essence that the building material is going straight to the wall and drying there using no form work. However when you are building free form you have to make sure you are building plump (plumb ha ha) walls.
I would argue that adobe bricks are more diy friendly in that they are "easier" to keep plumb and straight although this method is a bit more labor intense. You have to make the bricks, let them dry, stack them near building site, then place them to build wall. The building material is handled more times than cob.
I know it must depend on the resources available
Usually all material required for earthen construction are close to a build site. With the exception of some parts of Florida? Clay is found in abundance right at the build site and sand can be found close by if not on the build site as well.
but is one better than the other for say thermal qualities?
No, all earthen construction carry's the same thermal qualities all things being equal.
Cob is partially mud (I believe)
Cob (and all earthen constructions) are an approximate ratio of sand to clay usually 70-80% sand and 30-20% clay and straw around 10-20%. As a side note cob construction is really the only method requiring straw in the mixture. Adobe bricks do not require straw but is optional.
How does that handle rain, hail or other weather?
Quite well! Depending on annual rainfall and how much the roof overhangs to reduce exposure to weather and how high off the ground the earthen walls are.
And how long can they last?
As long as it is maintained, a very long time. There are cob homes in England that have been continually inhabited for 400, 500, 600, 700 + years. Taos Pueblo has been inhabited at least 550 years and possible as long as 1000. Shibam in Yemen is at least 500 years old. So quite a long time, as long as they are built correctly and maintained.
Are there builders out there who can help us achieve something as nice as the home in the link below
I'm sure there are.
Can walls be repainted?
Yes as long as its a lime based paint or a paint that will "breath".
Is a thatched roof practical in the US?
Practical? Its possible but I don't think it's practical as its not something that many people in the US know how to do (that I know of). In England there is a tradition of thatched roofs and still tradesmen that know how to maintain and build new thatched roofs. I think a tiled roof would be more reasonable to do.
Thanks for the help
I feel like I don't know where to begin
This is a good place. I would read all the posts in the cob forum. Another good place is your backyard. Dig up some dirt mix it with water to a moldable consistency and make some bricks, let them dry. Do some drop tests, leave them out and see how they do in the weather.
A ladder bond beam was placed around the last course of bales and pinned to them with wooden stakes. The top was then compacted down with ratchet straps and held down with metal wire from top bond beam to bottom bond beam. More progress pics to come!
I started building this a little over a year ago the lower portion is made of three layers of rammed tires with the first course rammed with gravel and the next two rammed with onsite earth. There are six courses of 3 string bales in total enjoy the pics! ALL COMMENTS AND CRITIQUES WELCOME!
FYI: this is the first project of the like that I have done.
The brick roof was covered in a layer of magnesium phosphate cement that I got from grancreate. I still have to make and attach a door, finish the interior floor and toilet area and plaster the outside in lime. But that is it for now!
Earthship, wattle and daub and all its other various names, earthbag construction, rammed earth, CEB (compressed earth brick), fired clay brick (just a suggestion) ((I know you've heard of it)) .
I was also put off by the amount of earth disturbance that would be required to build the foundations and source the clay etc
The positive about earthen construction is that at the end of its life span it "melts" back into the landscape. The disturbance is temporary and really not very invasive comparatively.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation and misleading advice
What specifically? People have been building homes out of earth for thousands, literally, of years.
It seems termites and mold are a big issue where you live. That's a no problem for earthen construction as neither one likes feed on earth.
As for humidity earthen constructions handle it quite well. As for high rainfall and flood events, large overhanging roofs, with the home build high up out of the 100 year flood zone with good foundation drainage (read JC's "Raised earth foundations" thread)
As for heating and cooling, earthen construction handles those very well AS LONG AS, the home has proper solar orientation and proper window area to home area ratio's.
Also take into account ALL available resources and their life spans and the pro's and con's of each one. Doing this might help you hone in on your eventual building modality. Like the pro's of building with timber in your area are its local and cheap to get milled ect, the con is I may have to replace some of the timber in 20 years due to termite damage ect. Then if you are comfortable with the cons and potential short comings of the material then go with that one. I don't really think that there is one smoking gun building modality that wont have some sort of issue at some point in its life span, its just how does this compare to that and can I live with it.
I would also look at what other climates that are similar to yours have done traditionally to mitigate the pitfalls that homes in your area fall victim to. Possibly look at areas that are the inverse of your latitude and see what they have done?
I like vernacular architecture styles
These "styles" only came about because they followed function and the limits of materials at hand. I don't think in any traditional context people did something because it "looked good" it always served a purpose and was at the limits of what the material could do and the purpose the construction was meant to serve. Architecture should always be functional.
But barring additional location information, I'd build anything higher than 100 year flood levels and a very large overhanging roof, that's just a generic recommendation.
I forgot what the rules are, .5 as deep as a wall is high and twice as wide
It depends on soil type and the eventual weight of the structure live and dead loads. For earthen constructions the "rule of thumb" for foundation size is:
As deep as the wall is wide and twice as wide as the wall it will be supporting. But not more than one story high. You'll have to figure out how much the finished building will weigh and the soil type.
How far away from the foundation does the septic tank need to be?
Not sure about the tank itself but I know the leach field has to be 100ft away from any water source.
I like catalan/timbrel vault/cohesive construction roof systems. Definatley for the super skilled only. Next would be ferrocement roof, more geered to the DIYer and fairly everything proof. And when I speak of these methods I'm only speaking of them being in the shape of a dome/cone/ other arch shape. Flat=whack.
I personally would omit the basement as it creates more problems than benefits.
And if you eventually buy land that's in the 7000-8000 ft elevation range go with lots of insulation, I was thinking insulative rocks filled cavities, then put thermal mass on the inside of the house with appropriately placed and proportioned solar glazing. Don't know if stuff like pumice has ever been used for insulating wall cavity's or if it would difuse bullets but if it could it would be great, although maybe a bit expensive. What about just a plain old SUPER MASSIVE log cabin? Two foot thick wood walls?
Still confused as to the worry about flying bullets and trucks ramming into the house. Is the eventual property in hostile gangland territory?
Massive hugelkultur beds spaced apart leading up to the house seems like a great defensive solution plus you can grow food on them.
What about building a massive raised stone foundation with minimal access points like this Minus all the stairs. Then have a space built in he core. Minimal low entry/access points.
I think the key to home security is to start at the boarder of your property and work in. If someone makes it to the front door or window, you've failed.
If you really want DIY bullet resistance, I think the earth bermed recycled tires filled with rammed earth takes the cake.
There's more too..... Just cant think of it right now.
Oh! Have you read Mike Oehlers (I think that's how you spell his last name?) $50 and up underground home? He has some great ideas about conceilling the whole home underground, but its ALL underground. Still good ideas.
I'm starting to think stacked earth rammed reinforced tires may be the way to go. Material is cheap, labor is high but bullet and truck resistant. Going high with them hasn't been done yet, that I know of, but i properly designed, I don't see why it wouldn't work.