I didn't see this topic anywhere in the forums so I'm asking it myself. I want to build a small cob hut near a large tree, but I'm concerned about the root system and how it would affect the foundation and in turn the walls on top. Am I looking at vertical cracks making their way up the walls and ruining the whole structure, or just slight shifting over the years. How flexible is cob in this sort of situation? Would I be better off just moving the site elsewhere, or is it low risk? Any answers would be oh so helpful
posted 7 years ago
There's got to be somebody out there who can help me out . . . O__o
Any large tree roots under your cob house will damage and/or destroy your foundation and your foundation is the one of the most important elements of a cob house (the other being the roof....good boots and a good hat make for a happy house). It's best to take out the trees first.
If you are doing a concrete stem wall below frost line you could get away with more than a simple rubble trench, but invasive roots can take out concrete foundations.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
you will want a minimum of 20 feet of clearance around your house, free of trees and other combustibles, as space allows. the roots will damage your foundation and waste all your hard work. If you want you could build a tree house. I would move the house or cut the tree.
posted 7 years ago
Thanks all for responding. I have since decided to move the hut from the original spot, which was much too close to the tree (like right next to it). What I was going to do was dig a foundation about a foot into the ground and fill it with stones/gravel, and then place boulders on top of the gravel at ground level. The reason I even thought there was a chance the roots might not be an issue is that digging a foot down might leave the roots untouched. But, I realized that the roots closest to the tree were closer to the surface than I had anticipated. Also, I found out that the tree was only about 25-30 years old, despite its surprising size and I assumed would grow at a faster rate than an older tree. The new spot is about 20 feet away from the tree and should be safe; for both the hut and the tree. Unfortunately, I never gave myself a chance to get started on it. Now I'm going to school full time and the cold is setting in. I'll be waiting til next spring before I start it up again.
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob: