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Cob house, insulation and TN

 
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Hello! So I’m starting my journey of preparing to build my own house with self labor. It’s gonna be a while. Before I ask questions tho, let me tell you the plan. Next year I plan on buying land and living in a travel trailer while I build. The whole first year of living there, I’m not really gonna build and just try to source as much material as possible. I’m gonna try to find as much reclaimed as I can and what not and prob do a few small experimental structures to test out the feel and all that.

I was interested in Cob at first tho my dad says he wouldn’t bc if the climate. I’m from Tennessee and it get very humid there. It also gets hot in summer and cold enough in the winter to want insulation. Would con be something y’all would consider in that kind of climate and would adding the extra work of sandwiching cob wall with insulation be worth it?

I’ve also considered earth bermed  earth bag building. However, I would still want insulation, even in the bermed walls. What would be the best insulation for those buildings? Could I maybe add loose cellulose to the earth bag mix? Would that effect the integrity of the mix?
 
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I’m looking in building my cob house in Tennessee as well I want a two story home with a nine sided Centeral area but. Everyone around me keeps saying no to everything I want to do I just want my home 😞  
 
gardener
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
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For cob, I don't think the Tennessee climate would be a big problem - cob is an ancient tradition in England where winters are chilly and damp. Just follow the adage of "a good hat and boots" - wide roof overhangs and a high foundation to keep splashes away from the cob. What is the typical winter day/night temperature range? If you seldom get prolonged cold spells below freezing, cob would probably work fine with the use of a rocket mass heater to offset the average. The thick mass walls with their moisture-moderating effect would likely be beneficial for hot humid summers, as long as it is not typically near 100% humidity. Nighttime cooling would carry over to the daytime and make the space very inviting.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I think cellulose in earth bags would either compress so that gave no real insulation, or be squishy and poor structural performance. You would want something uncompressible like perlite or pumice.
 
pollinator
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We have built several houses in Tennessee with cob. It works well, but is about as far north as I would go without insulating at least the north side with straw bale.
Check out https://patreon.com/unclemud for videos and such.

--Mud
 
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Hey Krystal! I'm Jen, moving to Tennessee this summer and thinking the same thing. Let's rap! You can email me at julietmikeecho.com if you'd like!
 
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