• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Isolating stone foundation  RSS feed

 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We live in a sort of adobe house, fairly typical to central/eastern Europe from the 1950's. The earth bricks are not, from what I can tell, structural elements, rather there is some sort of post and beams hidden inside them. The walls are about 18" thick. At the bottom the first two feet or so are stones for the foundation, and clearly to prevent water from getting to the earth bricks. Around two sides of the house this stone foundation was covered with a layer of cement, I suppose to keep air from infiltrating and coming through the floor, though maybe just for decorative purposes. Two of the rooms of the house already have concrete floors, which seem to just push moisture to the walls which tend to get often get damp. The other three rooms have wooden floors filled underneath with coal cinders.

We currently have two problems:
1. Walls getting damp, presumably from moisture infiltrating from outside underground then having nowhere to go since the floor is concrete except to the walls. The most logical solution I have heard of this is to dig a drain around the house, fill with gravel and drainage and pipe, this should prevent water infiltrating.
2. The stone foundation wall has lots of holes running through it (perhaps from mice as well) and in some of the rooms with the wooden floors there is a noticeable draft in the winter coming from outside through the stone wall, under the floor, and into the room. When I will be digging the drainage trench around the house, I would like to somehow plaster this foundation wall. But my understanding is that concrete isn't really the appropriate material to coat the wall in. What would be the right sort of plaster/mortar to fill in the holes and also give a smooth covering that would block air infiltration without wicking up water? And should there be some sort of water proof coating where the foundation is underground?

We may also have a radon problem, possibly from the coal cinders, possibly naturally occurring. I've ordered a radon detector from the U.S. to investigate this aspect. If so, we'll be changing the floors somehow as well, and if the source is the ground, then it will further complicate things, but I'll know about this for sure in a couple of weeks.

It is hard to find sound advice around here, where the thinking is just to rip up old floors and pour in concrete and dig around the house and pour in concrete.

I would appreciate any input on problems 1. or 2. above. Thanks!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
May the Creator Save you from the "concrete fools,"

Hi Andrew,

There is good advice to be had here, and I will give the most I can. Concrete is a "demon," that I fight all the time. Seldom mixed well, often used improperly and seldon the quality. I personally would remove every bit of concrete from you structure that could be removed, especially those floors. Even if you have to do it in stages. Even just putting in expansion joints with a diamond saw in the floor every half meter or so, and removing the concrete by about 100mm away from the wall would be a vast improvement.

You should have drain tile around your perimeter, but this is hard work and you do not want to undermine the stone foundation. If you do it take your time, move with purpose, but with caution. If you hire the work out, vet their skill in working on traditional vintage architecture and by traditional means.

The "air leaks" can be sealed and the house can be better protected by a natural lime render parging, forget the use of concrete.

Photos would be of great help in adding you in your endeavors.

Let us know what else can be provided.

regards,

jay


 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I heard that euro houses had to have plastic sheet buried out 20 ft in all new home construction, to reduce moisture to foundation cooling.


Tucson, AZ used to have a great info program on radon, but don't see it up anymore. Prob went down when they gutted the EPA.


http://www.epa.gov/radon/rrnc/index.html

http://www.radonleaders.org/resources

 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:May the Creator Save you from the "concrete fools,"

... Concrete is a "demon," that I fight all the time.


A major exorcism would be needed around our house then...

In the linked gallery I've uploaded some photos with captions of our house.

http://andrew.freedomlives.net/piwigo/picture.php?/42/category/5

There is a creek running down the center of the village, so about 20 houses have small bridges crossing it. These are all concrete, and the hit-or-miss character of concrete work is evident comparing them. A couple are in great shape, many are missing bits to chunks of concrete, and a couple seem to be more rebar left than concrete. In fact, I am wondering what day I'll find one of the neighbors with his tractor stuck in the creek after his particularly waiting-to-collapse looking bridge finally does.

Behind the house (or really to the side that faces the neighbor's yard) there is already a shallow ditch about 1 foot from the wall that catches run off from the roof, neighbor's yard, etc. So I guess if I make the french drain there, it will be taking the place of this ditch? Or should I try to maintain a separate ditch to channel the runoff from the yard to the creek without bringing it into the french drain? Is there any particular rule as to how deep the ditch should be?

I'm planning to start on that side wall this week, as its simplest, being without any concrete sidewalks in the way.

Thanks for your advice and any more you would have.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Andrew,

It will help me, help you, if you could go throw and tell us what we are looking at, what you plan, and what questions you may have with each picture. I will then respond accordingly if I can.

Regards,

jay














 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had captioned the images on the gallery, but I will do here and elaborate. Thanks for copying all the image urls.

0 Tile pathway on concrete next to one wall of house. Pink painted part is appx. 2" thick layer of concrete over stone foundation. It rained earlier that day, and as can be seen water goes against the wall due to the sidewalk.


1 Front wall, showing concrete "ledge" which seems to have been poured to just the level of the soil, leaving cracks for ingress of air at bottom.


2 Back wall of house. Under the thick white paint is just earth render/plaster, unlike other walls with cement stucco stuff. The stone foundation here is not covered with concrete, just a filled in between with some mortary, lime containing stuff (it can be broken off and crumbled with my fingers). The yellow pipe is a natural gas line, which now is used just for a kitchen range, as heating with gas here costs a small fortune compared to wood.


3 Not-helping-anything location of downspout that before lacked even this crude ditch.


4 Steps of concrete to veranda, which has concrete foundation and was a later addition to the house. Also, the veranda walls are built of bricks. Hole in wall is where apparently wooden beam was that rotted away from water that improperly sloped steps directed against wall. Until a couple of months ago there were poorly done tiles over some extra poorly done concrete. The concrete under those tiles stayed always damp and was "rotten".


5 "Front" porch, also a later addition to the house, leading into kitchen. This too is apparently a concrete slab.


6 The one unfinished exterior wall of the house, showing at the top part of the timbers making structural support for the roof/attic, earth bricks, stone foundation, and of course more concete that makes a rather uneven floor in the šopka (sort of like a carport).
crude_plan.png
[Thumbnail for crude_plan.png]
Layout of house with location of photos.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I realize that the tile/concrete pathway (0) has to go, as part of it creates water that stands against the wall, and to dig the drain Jay suggested it would have to go anyway. The creek bed is only 15 feet from the front of the house, and about 6 feet below it. Drainage would then be running out and draining into it.

I would first dig drainage (french drain-- geotextile, drainage pipe, gravel) in the area shown in photos (1 & 2), the front and right side of the house, as there's no concrete walk in the way. I understand drainage should follow a rule of 1' drop over 100', but at what depth is it typically started? Two feet? Should the ditch be dug right next to the stone foundation, or some distance away?

Once the drainage is installed in those places, then I would remove from the front of the house the concrete (pink painted) footing, and fill all the gaps between rocks with lime mortar (lime putty and sand?) and smooth out, likewise along the back of the house to stop drafts of air during the winter. With this plaster over the stones, can it go a bit below grade?

The steps (4) I will leave in that, just redoing them and then overhanging a roof to prevent rain from falling onto them. The tiles will be removed there as well, and drainage will run around the perimeter. When I get to putting drainage here, I will also be removing the concrete ledge and replacing as described above.

The back wall that is unfinished (6) I will use lime plaster on the stone foundation part, and maybe earth render above. It can be seen in the photo that I tried some lime plaster on the earth bricks, but it cracked a lot. However, it was just lime and sand, 1 layer, and I have read that the first layer should also have horse hair to strengthen it. This particular wall gets very cold in the winter on account of all of the gaps, and tends to get a lot of condensation therefore on the inside (plus, it is one of the walls in the bathroom, which doesn't help).

The hatched areas in the photo above represent areas with concrete floor. Most of these areas are tiled, so I'm inclined to see if the french drains around the house solve any interior moisture problems on the walls before I tear up the tiles. The green rectangle represents the location that my wife wants me to make a new bathroom (just with shower and sinks, no toilet), so that it is next to where we sleep (front of house) and we don't have to go all the way across the house. The existing bathroom would then be just more of a laundry/mud room.

The concrete floor in the šopka will go, because it is just miserably uneven, half-broken, etc. Other than the wall shared with the house, the rest of the šopka is just timber framing. When I put in a new concrete floor slab there, I will leave a gap between it and the walls. (If I would just be parking a car there and storing things a gravel floor would be enough, but I will also be using the area to fix cars, and gravel isn't so nice for jacking on, etc.)
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand drainage should follow a rule of 1' drop over 100', but at what depth is it typically started?
That can very on multiple factors. Foundation type, forest in clay soils, grade pitch away from house, etc. In your case, this is not a guarantee, it looks like 600mm down and 600mm out would be sufficient. Line the trench with filter cloth, backfill with clean stone, and fold filter cloth back over the top, and cap with 100mm to 200mm of more gravel to grade level.

Two feet? Should the ditch be dug right next to the stone foundation, or some distance away?
Typically it's at the drip line of the roof, but I am concern that you do not have much of an overhang and water is splashing back onto the house. You really should have the foundation looked at when/while you are digging. You should also get rid of all the concrete parging/stucco and replace with traditional lime render.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand drainage should follow a rule of 1' drop over 100', but at what depth is it typically started?
That can very on multiple factors. Foundation type, forest in clay soils, grade pitch away from house, etc. In your case, this is not a guarantee, it looks like 600mm down and 600mm out would be sufficient. Line the trench with filter cloth, backfill with clean stone, and fold filter cloth back over the top, and cap with 100mm to 200mm of more gravel to grade level.

Two feet? Should the ditch be dug right next to the stone foundation, or some distance away?
Typically it's at the drip line of the roof, but I am concern that you do not have much of an overhang and water is splashing back onto the house. You really should have the foundation looked at when/while you are digging. You should also get rid of all the concrete parging/stucco and replace with traditional lime render.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand drainage should follow a rule of 1' drop over 100', but at what depth is it typically started?
That can very on multiple factors. Foundation type, forest in clay soils, grade pitch away from house, etc. In your case, this is not a guarantee, it looks like 600mm down and 600mm out would be sufficient. Line the trench with filter cloth, backfill with clean stone, and fold filter cloth back over the top, and cap with 100mm to 200mm of more gravel to grade level.

Two feet? Should the ditch be dug right next to the stone foundation, or some distance away?
Typically it's at the drip line of the roof, but I am concern that you do not have much of an overhang and water is splashing back onto the house. You really should have the foundation looked at when/while you are digging. You should also get rid of all the concrete parging/stucco and replace with traditional lime render.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Typically it's at the drip line of the roof, but I am concern that you do not have much of an overhang and water is splashing back onto the house.
I put up a standing seam roof last year, but some finishing touches like gutters and a bit of the folding work still need to be done. I've realized that part of the problem we had in one room where there was a particular amount of moisture appearing on the wall and floor was due to a fir tree the neighbors had planting next to our house. My wife and father-in-law supposed that the roots were leading water under the house, but I suppose that the branches (which touched the walls) were dripping the water there. In any even, the neighbor cut it down and that place seemed to improve. I have noticed in houses of this age in the village that there is a tendency to make the roof overhang more on the side with doors and windows and less on the side without for some reason.

600mm down and 600mm out would be sufficient
I don't understand exactly what these terms mean-- do you mean start the ditch 600mm below grade level, and then have a slope with a change of 600mm over 100m?

Thanks!
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Radon
The radon detector (Safety Siren Pro Series 3) arrived last week. I had problems at first (and still a little bit) with EMI, due to our house's outlets being electrically connected to those of another 50 or so houses-- two big transformers supply each half of the village with three-phase 240 volts, which means that we get the electrical noise from huge three phase motors for sawing firewood, computers, TVs, etc. of all those houses. The two line filters I connected going into a toroid transformer have reduced getting the Err3 from the device to once a day. This maybe affecting the accuracy of the radon reading, but I let it go without a hard reset yesterday because I wanted to get some reading (it needs 48 of readings before it reports anything).

So today, right when I was telling my wife about the idea that had crossed my mind to build a log cabin up the hill in our field if the house is hopelessly engulfed in radon, the alarm went off with a reading of 86pCi/l. An hour later I got 80pCi/l. This is 20 times the US EPA limit, and puts our exposure on the level of Uranium miners in a ventilated Uranium mine-- not what I want in our house.

The detector is in one of the rooms with the wood floor over cinders. I'm going to move it tonight into the pantry which is built over one of the concrete floors, as this should give me a pretty good idea of whether the radon comes primarily from the cinders or from the ground, and later I can leave it in a shed with a dirt floor to compare as well.

Right now I'm betting on the cinders as being the source of the radon, which means the wood floors need to come up and all the cinders be removed.

So the question is, what should be done after that (assuming that was the source of the radon)? I have this idea to put back wood floors and fill the space between with loose perlite (to provide insulation and discourage rats/mice from living in that space). But then I also want to build rocket mass heaters in these rooms, so I wonder if a wood floor will be strong enough or if something else should be done where the RMHs will be. I have thought before about earth floors but fear that these would have the occasional mouse tunnel popping out!

If the radon is coming from the earth, then I would imagine building a wooden floor with open space underneath, ventilation through the stone foundation to outside, and some sort of plastic anti-radon layer to block entry through the floor. Of course, this also means that radon would be concentrating under the rooms with concrete floors and pushing through the walls into living space...
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't understand exactly what these terms mean-- do you mean start the ditch 600mm below grade level, and then have a slope with a change of 600mm over 100m?


Sorry Andrew,

It's building season here and I have way too many pots in the fire, I might be slow getting back to you, but I will get back. If it's an emergency, feel free to email me direct. I am sorry I was not clear about the ditching. Let me try again:

Come out 6oomm to 1m from the side of the house and start digging. Soils and aggregates have something called "angle of repose," that is the natural slope that forms. I don't want to see you undermine the house foundation, or at least not accidently.

I do not care for gutters in general as they cause more problems that help over there general service life. I do like extended overhangs and eves, to carry the rain as far away from the structure as possible.

Now it sound like we have a more pressing concern with the Radon!!! It is most likely coming from the ground and not the cinders, but you may need more advance analysis of this situation. Do you have granite bedrock in the area, or granite soils? This sounds like a very serious Radon concentration, but before you get to concern, you must make sure that you are not getting false readings. Can you get someone from the local government or university to confirm your test results? At those concentrations this is a civil concern for the entire village. You have to get this cleared up before other concerns, or yo will have to relocate for your families long term safety.

As for the rock stove, if that is a goal, then I would do a traditional earthen floor and then wood on that perhaps at a later date, but that is another conversation completely and has many moving parts to it.

Regards,

jay
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:It's building season here and I have way too many pots in the fire, I might be slow getting back to you, but I will get back.

Well, and I've been slow. Thanks for all of your advice so far. Lot's of open windows at night, but we had the major pilgrimage in Slovakia to go to two weeks ago, and cherries were not waiting to get picked, and gardens, and broken cars, and finally we got one room cleared out of the cinders today.

Can you elaborate on what problems gutters would be causing? I have the hooks for them installed already, and as it isn't very feasible now to extend the roof, I plan to put them on, but maybe I can avert some of the problems beforehand.

With the radon, I took readings in several different places. In the rooms which have (had) cinders under the floor, readings were 80-160 µCi/l with the variation probably having mostly to do with how much the windows and doors were kept shut during the two day period needed to take a reading. In another room inside the house as well as in a shed, neither of which have cinders, the readings were 8 and 10 µCi/l, which is about twice the action limit for the U.S. (US- 4µCi/l, Canada 5.7µCi/l, EU 2.7 µCi/l). As well I took a reading of outside air, which was 0.2 µCi/l. So I feel pretty confident that these coal cinders / ash has some Uranium and is the source. But now that one room is cleared out to the subsoil below, I'm doing another test, and in two days hopefully see a low reading. The bedrock around here is Andesite, which is also the stone used for the foundation walls, quarried about 200m away. This area several hundred years ago did have coal mining of some sort I have a bit of worry now that I should choose the gravel I want to put on top of the subsoil carefully to hopefully avoid granite.

Unfortunately, there isn't much government or university help that I could find. Part of the reason I bought the meter was because one test from a private firm would cost more than buying the meter on eBay, shipping from the U.S. to here, and paying customs on it. I have already been telling people who have old homes about the risk of Radon, and have a few friends already lined up to borrow my measuring device.

In these intervening days while that test will be going in that room, I'll be finally digging the drainage ditch behind the house. The subsoil under the coal ash has a dampness similar to what one would want in ones garden for plants, not what one would want under ones house!

This leads to another problem-- how dry does the subsoil need to be before packing it down and adding something on top? Right now, if I take a handful, make a ball, and throw it with moderate force against the wall, the ball stays intact. This to me seems too damp, but I really don't know.

I would like to do the earth floor in the room that we've cleared out, but in the other two rooms my wife is insistent on a wood floor. Either way there will be a base of packed "road base" (or some similar mixture of gravel and sand) over the subsoil and then some sort of thermal insulation. I lean toward Perlite, as its readily available here. In the earth floor book I found online it talks about a perlite-clay mixture. I have also read that perlite concrete breathes fairly well, so I am considering this for more resistance to rats.

As far as the Radon goes, I plan to add more ventilation to the house and in the short term not worry too much about it, if the level comes down to 8 µCi/l. In the future (5-10 years) I would look at building another house further away from the center of the village, but for right now we are stuck here.

Sorry this is a bit rambling, I usually edit my posts more, but I'm quite busy these days and writing at night when I'd rather go to sleep!
old_floor.jpg
[Thumbnail for old_floor.jpg]
In process of removing the coal ash and old floor.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Quick update of good news. The removal of the coal ash/cinder stuff fixed the Radon problem. The reading in the room is now 4µCi/l.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Andrew,

Please just ramble. I get to understand how you think better. You have asked some good questions and have some really good planning you are thinking through. I like the idea of you building fresh in a five to ten years, who knows, if you plan it correctly, maybe I could come and see that part of Europe again for a summer and help you build. I think a nice moderate traditional timber frame would suit you just fine....

Gutters are challenge on most architecture because they are usually of lower quality and poor design not having a good 'trough' or 'slope' established during installation. You also have a lot of maintenance as putting screens on them is futile in keeping debris out. Unfortunately they almost alway rot out the fascia and attachment points. These become troubled areas as this is where water starts to migrate into the structure. All in all, very much a challenge. I have made some rather robust and large hand made guttering in my time, but these are stone and copper designed with the structure. Very well made and still after ten years we had some issues to repair (ongoing.) Water is best freely run off the architecture and away. You will have to stay on top of them to keep them working properly.

If you do a really good earth floor and seal in naturally, your wife will probably fall in love with them. It's like walk on leather. I generally like you discription of laying the floor. I do want to see the finished floor a minimum of 300mm to 400mm off of where exterior grade is, or you will have 'damp' and 'moisture' issues. If you don't plate compact 40mm stone down at least 150mm thick, in you case, you will have to put down a physical barrier like heavy wire mesh to keep the rats out. Forget any kind of portland additive or cement, they can chew and dig through it, not to mention the water issues these mixes can facilitate.

Your soils read like they are heavy in clays, which will be good for making cobb and doing your floors. You need to do a jar check for clay content (found all over the internet.) The damp nature of the soil is telling me the house has high ground water near it and/or springs. Your home is built to close to the ground, and you have a water mitigation issue with from improper drainage. Address those and it will begin to dry out.

Keep me up to speed, and I will help where I can. You should down load Sketchup and start 'fiddling' with it.

Regards,

jay
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Andrew,

How does the progress go?

Regards,

j
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hello Andrew,

How does the progress go?

Regards,

j


I started writing a reply a week after you posted this. But I never finished and the "tab" got closed...

My wife insisted on the wood floor. The material used is 30mm thick pine boards with a tongue-and-groove. The way I did them, which I don't necessarily recommend anyone else follow:
1. I removed clay down to accommodate at least 30cm of gravel. I loosely mixed dry, unslaked quicklime into the top layer of clay (this following "Building with Lime", Holmes & Wingate) to stabilize the clay and then used the vibratory plate compactor to firm it down. (The lime maybe was overkill, but it was only a few extra euros). Then I added gravel, leveling, plate compacting, etc.
2. I drilled, in three or four places, into the groove almost to the tongue of each board using the step drill from a Kreg jig. Eventually I used the horizontal boring setup on my Shopsmith which worked a lot better than a hand held drill.
3. Each board was laid directly onto the gravel.
4. The next board was screwed with the goal being to firmly secure all of the floor boards together and reduce cracks.

The only problem with this was the first room (the one also with the newly redone earth/lime plaster walls and lime plaster ceiling) was hastily done (my wife started with contractions while we were finishing the walls, so the new infant pushed me on to finish quickly that room) so the floor has a bit of a slope and the gravel wasn't perfectly even. But after a year it is OK. The other minor problem in that room is that the walls turned out very uneven, so it wasn't possible to put a wooden kickboard around the perimeter of the floor. I'm still not sure what I'll do there, but there are bookcases and stuff hiding most of the wall anyway.

Your advice to buy a compactor was good. I found a Chinese made one here for 350€ or so. As the rooms were done one after another, not one day for room, spread over the course of months, I would have paid nearly that much with rental fees and needing to drive 25 miles to the rental place. I expect further use out of it in the future when making a foundation for an outside gazebo. It has already gotten extra use packing down gravel on the driveway as well as by a neighbor who needed to pack down gravel on a parking area.

In one room, even after removing the coal ash, there were radon levels of around 15µCi/l. I placed my radon detector into our well and discovered high levels there (can't remember precisely, 50-100 I think), so some radon in that room was also coming from the ground. My solution to this, which seems to be working, was to make a 5 inch hole in the outside wall below floor level going into the gravel with a vent screen on the outside. As radon is heavier than air, I hoped this would help it diffuse outside. After installing the wood floor in that room the radon levels dropped to 8µCi/l, and now after we siliconed around the edge of the floor and the wall it has dropped to 5µCi/l. This is below the EU "action level" but above the US... since we aren't smokers and this is a lot better than 150µCi/l I'm leaving things like this for now.

The only problems we've had with dampness since doing the outside drainage ditch have been due to condensation against the wall from too much humid air from the kitchen getting in. The immediate solution to this has been to keep the door from the kitchen closed. Gutters haven't been put on anywhere. I will eventually put them on the front of the house to keep from getting dripped on when coming in from the rain and splashing onto the porch, but on the back it doesn't seem necessary.

The clay soil worked great for the plaster. I did add lime putty to it, which seems to make it harder. The downside of course is that the caustic nature of lime made the plaster rough on bare hands. I also painted the walls using natural red pigment suspended in lime wash. The walls were then sprayed every few hours for a day or two to ensure good carbonation, so you can rub your fingers on the wall and no dust comes off!

In the front room I build a rocket mass heater, using a pure clay - perlite mix for the core. Open using the core the heat from the fire caused the clay to burn into brick-like red material (it is brown when dug from the ground). The whole rocket stove is earth-plastered.

Sorry for such a late reply, and thank you for all the useful advice last year!

I'm attaching some photos of the rooms.
rocketstovefloor.jpg
[Thumbnail for rocketstovefloor.jpg]
The completed rocket mass heater
janredroom.jpg
[Thumbnail for janredroom.jpg]
nearly installed floor, red lime paint walls
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
46
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Andrew,

Congratulations on the new arrival to your family!

I am very happy that some of my advice was of use to you and that your plans turned out so nicely. I really enjoyed the photos, and look forward to other future projects. "Floating" a wood floor is something most here in North America have never heard of and/or would never do. It is about the only way I do them, unless it is a historic restoration project with defined parameters.

The only difference between what I typically do and what you did was where you employed screws I use traditional wood "toggles" (small free tenons) that are 10mm by 40mm by 120 mm long or 60 mm, about every 400mm to 500mm, that are mortised into each board anywhere from 30mm to 60mm along the edge of each wood plank. It rather creates a solid wood slab all jointed together that can then freely expand and contract with the seasons. Wedges along the wall secure it well from shifting. This is but one of several traditional methods.

All and all, your project looks fantastic!!

Regards,

j
 
Don't touch me. And dont' touch this tiny ad:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/digital-market/digital-market/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!