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Foundations to hold heat in cold winters  RSS feed

 
Rob Irish
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Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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I'm looking at doing some foundations for a new home and I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the options.

Here in Estonia, winter temperatures often drop below -20 celcius (-4f) and keeping warm is basically the theme of the 14 months of ice.

We want to lay down some some sort of stone or clay foundation and then have a wood floor over the top in some areas of the house.

What sort of foundation mixes work best in these really cold winters without cracking with the freeze / thaw?

Thanks for any links / pointers

Rob
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Rob,

What is the traditional building methods of the region?

What are the oldest homes in the surrounding area sitting on?

As a traditional timberwright, and student of vernacular architecture, I am astounded how often the modern generation tries to, "reinvent the wheel," on a subject. Our forbears had centuries and, in some cases, millennia to figure what the best domicile solutions are. Folks often try to "buck the system," with a building project by doing what they want, not what the land wants and then fight hard to make it work, which is futile, as nature will always when in the long run.

Answer the first to questions, (I am sure I know the answer already.) Think about what you see, then ask more questions, I will be glad to help. A link to you geographic location will help me give you some vernacular building advice for that region, and climate, with options you might find employable.

Regards,

jay
 
Rob Irish
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Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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Hi Jay, thanks for the response and thought provoking questions.

I'm not sure there are too many traditional buildings left in Estonia considering they've been invaded that many times. A few castles and churches built from stone.

Many of the old buildings have foundations of whole tree trunks. Some sit on stone with some sort of cement keeping it all together.

What does the land want? Probably for us to be hunter gatherers with dwellings that last only 1 season. Unfortunately as humans we have our wants, and I have a wife who also has wants such as wood floors. Well the best we can do is strike a balance between doing what earth probably really wants, which isn't permanent dwellings and agriculture, and what we want, wouldn't you agree?

Thanks,
Rob
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Rob,

Give me a Google map location for you build site, and I will do some digging on vernaculars in my files and "memory banks," then we will go from there.

How handy are you with tools?

What tool (mechanical, human and animal) assets do you have?

Budget?

Regards,

jay
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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build the house out of ferrocement then insulate the inside with foam then cover with ferrocement.

Build: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJekgKmro_Y
Panel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9nHNukj6o
 
Rob Irish
Posts: 225
Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Rob,

Give me a Google map location for you build site, and I will do some digging on vernaculars in my files and "memory banks," then we will go from there.

How handy are you with tools?

What tool (mechanical, human and animal) assets do you have?

Budget?

Regards,

jay


That would be really great Jay.

This is not exact but within a few km's as it appears our property is off of Google's grid: https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!q=Kase+tee+26%2C+Tali%2C+86101%2C+Estonia&data=!1m4!1m3!1d96941!2d24.7941799!3d58.0513473!4m28!2m15!1m13!1s0x46ec5e72e2465613%3A0xfaad5f5989cef1c7!3m8!1m3!1d96941!2d24.7941799!3d58.0513473!3m2!1i1921!2i1102!4f13.1!4m2!3d58.07058!4d24.7717237!6sparnumaa!5m11!1m10!1sparnumaa!4m8!1m3!1d37424384!2d-95.677068!3d37.0625!3m2!1i1921!2i1102!4f13.1

How handy with tools? I'm no expert. I have basic woodworking and metal working experience from highschool. My father was a carpenter so I did grow up learning the basics with building furniture and wooden boats.

What tools / assets / animals do we have? At this stage we have none. We are really starting from scratch.

Budget We are aiming for around 50,000 euro, but if it costs more then it costs more.

Any insight you could give us would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Rob
 
Debra Lyndley
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I'd recommend reading 'The Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home: Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool Your Home' by
James Kachadorian. His designs have been tried & tested in various different parts of the USA. His floor design is basically a concrete slab with insulation under it, that incorporates hollow tubes running north/south within & around the edge of the floor slab, so that the whole thing acts as a giant passive storage heater. Well worth considering as it needn't cost more than any other floor & I'm sure it would be possible to use the same principles & use reclaimed brick, local stone, rubble etc to reduce the concrete required if you want to.

Good luck with your project!
 
Rob Irish
Posts: 225
Location: Estonia, Zone 5/6
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Thanks a lot for the recommendation Debra. That sounds like it could be the way to go.

I am looking for the book now.

Many thanks!
 
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