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Cinder block stem wall
Hi Permie folks,

I have just recently acquired 100's of cinder blocks for free. I'm thinking of using them to build the stem walls for my house. The wall system above will be cob on the south and Light clay on the North, east and west. The walls will not be load bearing. The load will be carried by the timber frame sitting on pad stones set in foundation pits. 

I plan to insulate the cinder blocks on the inside with recycled ridged foam.

So I wonder what you think of using cinder blocks for this purpose? Any feed back is valued.

Thanks,

Jay
Wow, lucky you!  I don't have any hands on experience with cob, but read the book some years back.    I seem to remember the cob houses having a wider foundation and buttresses for more stability, but a lot of them are built on rubble foundations.  As long as you have rebar or whatever to help tie the two materials together, I don't see why you couldn't use them.
And welcome!
What do you plan on filling them with (the hollow part of the cinder block)? You'll need some form of insulation there, otherwise heat will leak out that way. I've read in some natural building books that you can use vermiculite, for example.
Marianne- I'll be doubling up on the cinder blocks to give a wider foundation. 

L8Bloomer- I do plan on insulating the cavity. Vermiculite, crushed glass, recycled packing foam are all options.  I also plan on using recycled ridged foam on the interior of the stem wall. 
Are you going to dry stack them, and then put something over the blocks?  I seem to remember something about lime slurry and then clay/lime... not sure that's right.  But you need something that will adhere to the blocks, and yet have properties that will allow the plaster slurry to adhere to that.
Sounds like you already have done some research on this.
There are people here who could add a lot of helpful suggestions to this construction project. Can you post a diagram of the idea? There are drafting programs that could be used, but a diagram on paper then photographed and posted would help quite a lot.

I get to scratching my head as to what you are using the concrete blocks for? You say that wood will be support for  the structure so what will the blocks be doing? Is any part of the block wall going to be underground?

What is a stem wall?
 
ronie wrote:
I get to scratching my head as to what you are using the concrete blocks for? You say that wood will be support for  the structure so what will the blocks be doing? Is any part of the block wall going to be underground?

What is a stem wall?


This is a quote from the "WiseGeek" entry on stem walls:

Stem walls are supporting structures that are utilized as a means of joining the foundation of a building with the vertical walls constructed on the foundation. The wall is often constructed with the use of concrete and steel, and works with the foundational slab to create a solid basis for the building. Along with establishing foundational integrity for the building, the stem wall also aids in minimizing damage to the materials used to create the vertical walls.


If you're building on a crawlspace, for example, you would build a stem wall with the cinder blocks to the height of the crawlspace.  Then, if you were building a stick frame house, you would attach a sill plate (essentially, a wooden plank) to the stem wall and use that as a basis for setting your joists, etc. for your building.
Thanks Muzhik, you for got sill plate sealer..   

I've never heard of that called a stem wall before, I thought it was the foundation wall.

image006-foundation.jpg
[Thumbnail for image006-foundation.jpg]
Some construction terms vary a little regionally.

A stem wall here in NM is a short vertical wall that goes around the perimeter and is usually used to enclose the poured on the ground, concrete slab. No basement. 

But when the rare basement is poured, the same thing, but taller is referred to as a foundation.

Both are placed on top of a wide steel reinforced concrete footer, below frost level.
ronie i have been in contruction for a wail the ellistration is a little wrong footer at the bottom  at grade level and the the stem wall on top of it then it is filled with sand and the slab is even with the the top of the stem wall slab is 4 inches most of the time 

thecheapguy
@thecheapguy. I think the illustration is correct.If I read your post correctly,you are describing a no basement foundations while the illustration shows a basement.

Jay,are you having a basement?Also,if I get it correctly the stem wall will just be carrying the cob wall load,not the timber frame/roof load.Is this correct??

glen
 
castlerock wrote:
Jay,are you having a basement?Also,if I get it correctly the stem wall will just be carrying the cob wall load,not the timber frame/roof load.Is this correct??

glen


That's the way I read his post, and if we're right, then really the stem wall may in fact be bearing a heck of a lot more load than the timber frame.  Cob is heavy stuff, and even lightclay is not so light.

Doug
Hey everyone, thanks for replying and for your questions.

I plan on dry stacking them. The weight of the walls will hold them in place.

No basement the cinder blocks will be holding the weight of the walls only.

J
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