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A Question about mortar  RSS feed

 
Sherry Willis
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
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So.. 

We bought a place in the Ozarks which, thankfully, has no building codes with the express purpose of building an earthbag shelter.  While the county has no restriction, the electric company does.  Before they will run the line, we must have a concrete foundation for at least a 1000 sq. foot house in.  My idea is to build a psuedo foundation of block with very weak mortar so we can break it apart and use the blocks for my smokehouse.  Any recipes?

Thanks,

Sherry
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Hum... a cob mix without straw and heavy on the sand would be easy enough to bust up once the inspectors are gone 

Do a ball test - make a test ball and drop it from 3' your looking for big cracks or the ball breaking. 
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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earthbag - quick and reusable.  Tell them the foundation is buried under the bag walls.
 
Sherry Willis
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
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velacreations wrote:
earthbag - quick and reusable.  Tell them the foundation is buried under the bag walls.


That would be great, but we aren't building a 1000 square foot house.  It irritates me to be told I have to have a bigger house than I need. 

Thought about the cob, it might look enough like mortar.........

Sherry
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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I've made cob with grey sand and off-white clay, and it still doesn't look much like cement. I've never made mortar, but from what I've read, I think your best move is to make mortar that's strong but brittle, rather than crumbly. Then it will be easy to break and good for blocks. In a Google search for weak mortar mix, I found this line: "Rich mortars (high cement content) will crack more easily than weak mortars."

Good luck!

 
                        
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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Can you tell them you need to have power run to the shed so you have something while you're building the house?
 
Sherry Willis
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
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Muzhik wrote:
Can you tell them you need to have power run to the shed so you have something while you're building the house?


Oh they'll do that........for $1800 per pole....x 6 poles.  With the 1000 sqft foundation it's $450 a pole...first three poles free.  Oh, and we don't have any sheds.. 

Sherry
 
                        
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Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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OK.  So you know about how many blocks you'll need to build the smokehouse?  And I'm assuming you're talking about those concrete blocks with the two big holes in them (never can remember their name).  Take the area of one of those blocks and figure out how many blocks you'd need to cover 1000 sq. ft. (that's a square about 32 ft on a side).  Is that number more or less than the number of blocks you'd need in your smokehouse?

So, something you can do is to get plastic (I was going to say OSB, but I think the plastic will be cheaper) and tape enough together to form a square 32ft by 32 ft.  Level out the ground you're going to be building on, lay the plastic down, and use the blocks to hold it down.  Line up the blocks like they're forming a wall (this may affect the size of your plastic, but as long as it is at least 32ftx32ft, you'll be fine.)

Next, mix up enough thin concrete to cover the plastic to about 1/4 inch.  Let it harden, and you've got your 1,000sq. ft. foundation.  If push comes to shove, you can cover your "foundation" with a tarp "to protect it from the weather and let it cure".  After the power company's gone, you can cut up the concrete to use for a rubble trench or whatever your next building project will require.
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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I'm assuming you're talking about those concrete blocks with the two big holes in them


Ahhh, I was imagining using the actual broken mortar pieces as blocks, like urbanite. Now it makes more sense.

Again, going from what I've read about what not to do, you should be able to get crumbly mortar either by using too much sand in the mix, or not enough water.
 
solomon martin
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I am a mason, here is what I would do in your situation: Make a mortar using 1 part fine clay to about 3 parts coarse sand, add a handful or so of lime, just enough to kick the chemical process when you add water.  Lay your blocks when the sun is shining and the blocks are dry.  The idea being that the porosity of the material and the heat will flash cure the mortar before it bonds really well to the masonry.  Using clay (greenstripe if you can find it)
instead of portland cement will give you short term adhesion and pliability when it comes to using a trowel.  When it comes time for deconstruction, the blocks should readily pop apart with blows from a rubber mallet.  Good Luck!
 
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