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Foundation Advice: Cob Home build  RSS feed

 
                                      
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OK, so I am preparing to build a home. I have been blessed with clay soil from which to make brick and cob. There is plenty of wood everywhere.
the big box hardwares provide me with a lot of free culled lumber and thanks to friendly relationship with some construction supervisors I am being given about 8 pallets worth of cinderblock and another few pallets of brick (wire, rebar, yadayada too). I have two beautiful glass tabletops for winter sun windows, 2 leaded glass panels for accents, and crank-opening casement windows.\, in addition to a few thick glass jugs that will be corked and set in as lights. I do need urbanite fill, sand and gravel, and I know that will also come. Yay to CL for that.

So, with that background, I need advice. I have heard such horrid things about cement…does that include the blocks? I plan to fill them with cob slip and use for the foundation walls, adding structural supports to tie in the cob. There will be a trilevel earthen floor, passive solar design (adding solar panels for battery power) ), and a mass heater with cooktop, a fireplace (where I will add a rocket cookstove for cooking fuel conservation) and two ovens. (As a mom of 12 - pus grandkids, friends and partners - I still use my great-grandmother's iron cookware and dutch oven, will continue to be serving many great meals in my new, purposefully SMALL abode).

The basic interior footprint will be a diminutive 600 sq feet (20 x 30), open on the main level with tree post beams for support and function (will have hooks for curtains, drying rcks, coat hooks, etc.) with a 200 sq ft walk-up (stairs, not ladder) loft comprised of two sleeping areas and closet wall dividers. There will be a bathroom/shower inside that uses solar heated and purified rainwater which drains into a gray water collector for use elsewhere. There will also be 2 humanure composting toilet systems. There will be a covered patio and outdoor seating/entertaining/fireplace-kitchen that will have another heated bench and can be used as a sleeping porch for anyone choosing to hammock over.

I was planning on using some of the cinderblocks to make cold frames, a solar oven, and perhaps a shed, but most of the cinderblocks were going to be dedicated to the house foundation. Bricks will be used around the entry and hearth. Will the plan result in headaches, draftiness and moisture problems? I plan to use bluemax coating inside and out on the cinderblocks and attach chicken wire to secure the cobble outer layer (for aesthetics and mass value).

I have built wooden-framed cabins in the past using local rock for piers and a pier/beam construction. I am excited about this hilltop retreat with an exquisite view, which will be my forever home (unless I am selected to go to Mars in 10 years s my backup retirement plan). Advice from this community will be greatly appreciated.

 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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I think concrete as foundation wall is generally considered a no-no, because the concrete wicks moisture upwards, and this will melt or rot your cob over time.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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SurvivorMaMa Miller : I try to check the Cob Forum threads as much for what I can learn as what I can Share, In this Case The best I can offer is Two books out of Cob Cottage

The First book is : The Hand-Sculpted House Evans, Smith, and Smiley, reads like a very good text book, thorough and friendly with a good resources section!

The Second book : The Cobber's Companion M. Smith, reads like a good friend who knows you need help, is a great organizer, and will still around days till the job is
done ! Good finish plaster, good resource/reference section and appendixes

Both of these are available through Cobcottage.com , through your lending library, or used thru Amazon and/or Alibris!

Warning, If you try to buy used and an Instructor or Two has workshops starting, you will bid for the book at X dollars, and be told that you missed and the back-up books are
XX dollars, three weeks later the price is back down to around X + 1/2 , It happens, it happened to me, there is nothing wrong going on, it is even possible that 20 more used
copies came into the system and the price is actually less ! Good luck, come back here often usually the turnaround time for an answer is not this long ! Big AL
 
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