My husband and I bought some land and dug a 1,000 square foot basement, 8' deep on the high side of the hill and about 3' above the wash (dry until it really rains!) on the shallow end. The deep corner its the southeast corner, shallow on the west (at the wash) and about 4' deep on the north. My husband left me soon after and i left it alone, but now I'm working on a cob house (i finally found an answer better than a dilapidated) trailer. I have 2 walls dug, I'm thinking (not the best sides I know) and its been sitting for 7 years without sliding. I have something that looks like bamboo but the Cherokee tell me its not and they told me the Cherokee name, but I forgot. I know its clay, and quite athiest as it its because a neighbor got his trac-hoe and dumped "dirt" in our driveway to make it drivable and assured us it would wash away after the first rain. But that never happened. Every rain floods over the dirt in the driveway but the dirt was still there until a friend "fixed it" 7 years later.
Anyway I'm thinking i could build a cob house in the deep corner of the cob house. It stays dry after floods, although I know I'd need a drain for the hillside. I'm studying, but I've never done anything like this before. I'm on my own, can't find anyone to help. But I've got some rock, something like bamboo, a whole lot of clay with pebbles and rocks, and a basement. I'm only planning on about 100-200 square foot since its just me. So can I build in this basement (always in the shade). Any advise would be nice!
Hi Kathy, where are you located and what kind of soil/climate. Natural buildings need to be tailored to your site.
Cob is best above grade, stone set with clay or clay/lime is a very good foundation material. Once above grade, then cob is wonderful!
Pics and details please.
posted 5 years ago
This is the corner I hope to bills some kind of shelter in. The corner is 8'tall. Facing west is a wash
Location: Richmond, Utah
posted 5 years ago
Well first you will need to lay out an interior space and an exterior wall about 20 inches out past that.
Excavate a trench that is 3" wider on both sides and starts at 2 feet deep and goes to 3' where it meets the wash, ensuring proper drainage.
Fill with stones; using smaller ones as you go up. Tamp and level the rubble surface. Re-tamp till it seems pointless to tamp anymore. Your final level should be 6" below grade.
Build the foundation with stone and clay. This is hard and where most will fail.
If you get it right, you will know because it will be sturdy and strong.
If the foundation is not right, do not proceed.
From the dense pine saplings and leaf litter in the pic, it looks like you are somewhere in the Southeast. Where exactly are you, and more importantly, how hot/cold does it get, and how much rain do you get? Those answers will guide the best advice of the experts. Cob can be built in any climate, but the damper and colder it is the more it needs to be protected and the less effective it will be at keeping you comfortable.
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