Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hello Everyone,
It has come up, as of late, the topic of "foundation vapor barriers" which is commonly recommended by many facilitators and schools now teaching natural building methods. Especially those of earth, (i.e. cobb, adobe, etc.) This common thinking is logical, and also based on what could be called a "normative constructure behavior of modernity." In other words...its a habit based more on, "everyone does it." When asked, "why do you do it?" the most common answer is to stop moisture from coming up into the building. In that respect, these barriers "try" to work, and often do...for a while. Yet few ever ask themselves..."what did humans do before plastics?" I assure you they did not live in wet or damp houses, though some experts suggest that is the case.
The answer is proper design and well planned and executed...DRAINAGE...and the many forms this can take.
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hello Topher, et al,
I think we can only glean a glimmer of understanding of how these people lived in there homes in the past. There is some agreeance that our forbears perceptions could well be more hardy and enduring of temperatures than what we find today in ourselves. Yet, to state definitively as what they could and would tolerate is folly unless we can time travel and observe them for ourselves.
I would also ask what experience and knowledge you personally have and could share about these vernacular architectural forms of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia that would suggest that they are not as good or perhaps superior to what many "modern builders" are practicing?
The conclusion about "condensant moisture" and "earth perspiration of moisture" could be a little generic in nature and conclusion.
If "all ground" radiate moisture in the degree suggested by your post there would indeed be considerable interstitial issues with vapor moisture condensing in many builds.
Topher Belknap wrote:Fortunately, my fore-bearers left written records.
Topher Belknap wrote:I would ask in return what knowledge you personally have about moisture transport in building materials, psychrometery, and vapor pressures in buildings.
Topher Belknap wrote:And such do exist. Should I provide pictures?
Condemning modern buildings because they are modern is just as big a fallacy as condemning old buildings just because they are old. Similarly with praising them. Specific details are what matters. Generic statements like " The answer is proper design and well planned and executed...DRAINAGE...and the many forms this can take." are always wrong for some conditions, and should thus be avoided. There is no 'The Answer'.
Architect Didi Contractor wrote:Sustainable design and ideology which embraces the natural processes of the earth as its reality MUST replace conventional design practices...
Philip Nafziger wrote:...modern manufactured building materials are unnecessary to build a solid, comfortable, and attractive building...
Jay P. wrote:I'm getting a pretty good picture of what the Djigyō consists of..but am having trouble understanding exactly what the process of Warigurichigyō is. Generally it looks like making a very well drained, raised area. Is it that simple?
Jay P. wrote:About this rising damp thing...at least it seems to be generally accepted as being a thing though not without its detractors: wiki
Jay P. wrote:Why does Warigurichigyō work against rising damp AND vapour or moisture infiltration?
Jay P. wrote: Am I to understand that to combat the latter it condenses water vapour in the maze of packed stones and allows it to drain away? Or are you and several thousand years of happy customers saying that moisture/vapour rising is just too little in the context of Djigyō to be a significant enough source of moisture to cause problems (health or structural).
...concrete foundation...a very humid climate...
Is that all there is to it?
Brian Knight wrote:Water vapor, Radon and other soil gases are the main reason modern construction recommends and requires vapor barriers/retarders.
Brian Knight wrote:Polyethylene is very affordable, available and proven to be effective to separate the ground from our built structures.
Brian Knight wrote:Our elders and ancestors did not know about Radon and we may be in our infancy in beginning to understand its impact on our health.
There are many ways that these raised foundations can address radon and other soil gases. However, I think that the amount of materials and labor needed to build them need to be balanced especially when it comes to the on-going monthly energy costs of doing so.
Brian Knight wrote:Plastic vapor barriers are dirt cheap compared to some of those methods, more proven in my opinion and readily accepted by building codes and future buyers.
Brian Knight wrote:I think a layer of plastic is better for the environment than some of the material intensive techniques above depending on what's available on site. Some building sites make a lot of sense for raised foundations many do not. Raised foundations also tend to complicate access and outdoor living areas.
Brian Knight wrote:To say that old structures perform better by breathing or not being airtight ignores the fact that most people in the modern age use un-renewable energy sources to condition their structures and keep them more comfortable.
Brian Knight wrote:I guess starting your post with bashing foundation vapor barriers is what lured me in.
I can understand the concerns with above grade construction but why go to such lengths to avoid them subgrade?
Brian Knight wrote:Is it possible in your views to allow them on sites that may have higher vapor drive and radon?
Brian Knight wrote:Plastic vapor barriers are featured in many pictures of the Warigurichigyo which you say is the heart of why they are avoided?
Brian Knight wrote:They are very cheap and use very little resources so what do you gain by not using them at least as cheap insurance in grade contact situations?
Chris P. wrote:I'm doing google searches but the majority return the typical grading process and I don't know how much land modification is made while digging the trenches for these foundations.
Brian Knight wrote:I think its mainly the indulgent and delicious food selection that would be so hard for me to give up.
Rufus wrote:Not to mention skill sets and social barriers.
Rufus wrote:There may not be enough traditional materials available in quantity at low prices to allow them to be widely used in urban areas. This means traditional methods might be relevant but would need to be applied using non-traditional materials.
Rufus wrote:Observation: Traditional technologies established because they were the clear winner in their time and place, being effective enough at a low enough cost to benefit many people.