The surface bonding technique is 3 times stronger than traditional concrete block construction, bug and rot proof, relatively inexpensive, huge thermal mass, low skill.
Perfesser, we looked at straw bales, slip form, poured in place, dry stack, and bought the Natural Home plans and video. In the end we settle on ICF's.
Our plans were done for pip, and our inspector said if we had left it without insulation shown he would have had to reject it.
If you have any questions I would be happy to try and answer them. Pictures here: http://luckydogfarm.wordpress.com/
What Vela said. I'm scared enought building anything myself but the thought of a permed house with drystack was too much to worry about. To do it right you have to fill every 4th hole in the blocks. That's alot of concrete to mix by hand, and if you have a truck bring it in you will need special equipment which makes the concrete more expensive.
Len: We used a company called ARXX Blocks out of Canada (we are in NY).
If you look at the pictures on our blog we have begun to stucco some sections of the exterior, and will do alot of areas inside as well. Our house is 24 feet deep and the sun even on 12/21 won't make it to the back wall.
I've built with this technique, and I was NOT impressed.
A few things:
Don't do it with regular concrete (cinder) blocks. Uneven edges and stacking creates issues. You can't get any levels plumb, even with shims. Not using a standard block increases cost.
These walls are not as strong as they say. 2 weeks after completing a 2 ft tall wall, we backfilled behind the wall, and several bricks shifted and moved out. It was very disappointing. We remade a section with mortar, backfilled it, and didn't have any issues.
It is NOT fast, not low-skilled. I found it faster to set blocks in mortar than mess with leveling and adjusting to keep things in line. A lot of time is wasted by adjusting the blocks, whereas mortar absorbs imperfections. Having really nice blocks ($$$) might help with the speed.
I thing earthbags beat this is nearly every way.
You mean to tell me you filled every core with concrete (rebar?) and after a month of curing it still pushed blocks out?
I think the cold joint may be the issue. If there isn't a solid beam of concrete, filling the core doesn't really help, there is a clean break right there.
The whole reason I liked dry stacked was you could fill a core at a time(DIY) and not worry about cold joints.
I had planned to fill every other core with concrete and rebar and the rest with sand.
I wonder if it'd be cheaper to make or buy your own brick maker rather than buying the bricks. Anyone else familiar w/open farm tech?
Ed Waters wrote:Perfesser, we looked at straw bales, slip form, poured in place, dry stack, and bought the Natural Home plans and video. In the end we settle on ICF's. The house we are building is bermed. We bought are ICF's from ARXX. They were around 22 dollars a piece for 48" x 16". Concrete was 92 dollars per yard for 3000 PSI, and rebar for the whole building was around 500 dollars. Codes are going to become a huge issue going forward. The spike in building permits witnessed in 12/10 was due to new Federal laws mandating specific r values in building structures. Traditional construction like logs is going to have a problem going forward. Our plans were done for pip, and our inspector said if we had left it without insulation shown he would have had to reject it. If you have any questions I would be happy to try and answer them. Pictures here: http://luckydogfarm.wordpress.com/
steve pailet wrote:There is nothing positive in using an IFC if one expects the house to operate as a passive home.