Peter Dörrie wrote:Even if it is a hassle, I would definitely look for a structural engineer or builder with the necessary experience to check your plans and execution. It is easy to look at old houses and think that if they could do it 200 years ago, it can't be that hard. But those houses were built by experts, who knew what they were doing and had years of experience.
Regarding the original question:
- Your general ideas sound fine.
- Not sure if gabion baskets are needed/advisable.
- Car tires are probably harder to mess up
and soil is more readily available in most places than gravel.
- I would read up on drainage, though, because if you experience periodically heavy rains/snow melt/etc and depending on your soil you might want to guard against having your foundations washed away.
- For underfloor insulation you could look at foamed glas. This is usually made from recycled material, it is chemically inert and thus very sustainable (your can reuse it almost indefinitely or dump it somewhere without ill effects).
Eric Hanson wrote:I am certainly no expert, but my understanding was that in a cold climate (or any climate), a key concern was to make certain that the foundation was below the frost line,
Eric Hanson wrote:
That 1.4 meter deapth sounds pretty close to the 6 foot deapth according to my highly imperfect mental standard-to-metric calculator.
The protected frost pocket sounds like the idea of resting on permafrost.
Is it ok for me to ask where/how far north we are talking?
In terms of insulation, I have grouped the wet places (bathroom, toilet, kitchen) efficiently. We'll use untreated sheeps wool in the floor that limited area, and cheap local blown in cellulose fiber elsewhere.
Peter Dörrie wrote:Why don't you use straw bales? You can use them for both floor and walls (as long as there is no constant source of dampness). A standard bale has good enough R-value to build a passive house, it is quite conductive to amateur builders and is quite cheap (surely cheaper than sheep wool). You an use them in standard wood framed construction (just make the walls a bit wider) and it plays really nicely with a an earthen finish.
Catherine Windrose wrote:Might stabilized earth with basalt fabric and / or rebar work as a foundation?
Catie George wrote:I wouldn't use gabions. In practice, we normally consider gabions to have a lifespan of 15-30 years, on the lower end if we expect there to be a lot of wet/dry cycles. I assume you want your house to last longer than that.
You can usually significantly decrease the required depth of foundation by using insulation (foam).
If I were to design a rubble trench foundation, i would probably use some sort of geotextile to prevent the transportation of fines from the surrounding soil into the rubble (or clean gravel) trench, which will prevent heave long term.
Another alternative to the gabions or car tires would be concrete blocks.