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Is there a quick natural building?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 14
Location: Ozarks, Missouri
goat tiny house purity
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Our community is growing and with winter coming, people need to move indoors. For all of us at the commune to have a warm space soon, we need to erect a tiny house for my family to move into very quickly. As in....sometime during the next month. We live in the Ozarks which means we have four seasons varying from hot in summer to cold in winter, and it is very wet and humid here. We are going to raise the house up on a block foundation (we acquired concrete blocks from a demolition site we helped with) and the frame is going to be post and beam using 2x4s or 2x6s which we also procured doing some demolition work. We have enough wood to put a floor in.  The roof will be tin, we have loads of it. My main concerns are with standard industrial walling - drywall, plastic housewrap, silicone goop, insulation, joint compound, and paint. Im not cool with any of that stuff, but I do know how to use it all and I know it gets the work done quickly. I live in a consensus community and I have been very accomodating to the needs of others, but at the same time I dont want to continue our reliance on the industry. Im not sure if there are options that will get this house up before winter really sets in. I hear its coming by the end of the week.... Yikes! Any suggestions?
 
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Me and a handful of friends put up a 400sf house of exactly the same materials in about two weeks (plumbed and wired). You need a few strong backs and a positive can do attitude.
Are you looking for natural insulation? I wouldn't skip Tyvek or some sort of wrap in your environment. I have seen people use recycled newspaper and even jeans to insulate.
 
Desiree Fleck
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Location: Ozarks, Missouri
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I know we can get a pretty standard constuction tiny house built in that small amount of time.. but can we do it using some natural elements? Can we nix the joint compound, drywall, fiberglass, and goops? And still get it done in 2-3 weeks? Its going to be about 150 square feet or so.
 
pollinator
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Do you have access to any hempcrete or other lime based natural concrete making material? from what I understand slabs of that can be formed fairly quickly.
 
pollinator
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log cabin ?
 
gardener
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Perhaps a Yurt? Those go up rapidly. Toss a wood burning stove in the center and you should be ready for winter.
 
Desiree Fleck
Posts: 14
Location: Ozarks, Missouri
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We have a tipi up the hill that my partner, me, and our son have lived in before but my partner really would rather have a house that is more warm and comfortable and we also have an infant baby to care for. So the tipi is out of the question for now. We have been having some talks and throwing ideas around here. We want to do it passive solar to the extent that we understand. Any good links for passive solar made simple? For the north wall, we are talking about doing it with straw bales. I know that cob can have problems when applying it in the winter because of the freezing and thawing temps so we are talking about putting metal siding on the outside of the straw bale and doing a lime cob mix for the inside wall. The rest of the walls we will probably do more conventionally and side with wood, because we need to finish the job quickly.
 
gardener
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Im not sure if there are options that will get this house up before winter really sets in.

Strawbale is probably your best bet.  It's extremely quick, especially if you are framing as well, and especially in a tiny house.

One thing to keep in mind is keeping your bales dry; keep them out of the splash zone, or guard it, and make your roof extend past your house as much as possible.  The other thing to do, for sure, is keep your bale walls plumb (vertical); the more you concentrate on making them perfectly straight, the easier it is to finish later.  Your biggest problem will be rodents.  Get a cat, get traps, and mud the straw when you can on warm days.  

Can we nix the joint compound, drywall, fiberglass, and goops? And still get it done in 2-3 weeks? Its going to be about 150 square feet or so.

 Definitely.  Seal any drafts with loose straw pushed in with a blunt stick, then mud it.
The next best insulations that I can think of is sheep's wool, followed by rockwool, to use as framing and ceiling infill.

We want to do it passive solar to the extent that we understand. Any good links for passive solar made simple?


Passive solar is probably going to look like having a couple or three 2X6's laminated together to make posts to support both your bales outside of them and the frames for some windows which will encompass all or most of your South wall.  Frame in above your glass with a proper lintel so that you do not stress your glass.  If you are going to use non bale insulation at all, put it in your ceiling, and above your glass.  Use the best quality glass you can get, so that they don't let out too much heat.  Opposite this wall (walls, floors, RMH bench...) you will want to have thermal mass; any stone, cob, et cetera will absorb the incoming sunlight, and thus passively moderate the house's temperature.  If your overhang on your roof is the right amount, the summer sun is blocked, but the winter light enters.  In the summer, your thermal mass acts as a cooling agent.  You want your house to run more east/west than north/south, so that you have the largest walls on the structure facing South.    You should place most or almost all of your windows on the South, and any other windows on other walls, if you do have them, should be small, and operable, so that you can ventilate. Passive solar is as simple as that.  If you have a choice of where to put your door, put it on the least winter windy side (usually west or east), and make a covered porch with a door so that you envelope your primary structure door to further reduce heat loss (even if this is recycled plywood shack attached to your house, it makes a huge difference every time you open the door, especially in a small house).  Put a couple pails of mud in the porch, so that it is immediately available on warm days to get the project complete.  
 
gardener
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Roberto pokachinni wrote: Opposite this wall (walls, floors, RMH bench...) you will want to have thermal mass; any stone, cob, et cetera will absorb the incoming sunlight, and thus passively moderate the house's temperature.  If your overhang on your roof is the right amount, the summer sun is blocked, but the winter light enters.  In the summer, your thermal mass acts as a cooling agent.  You want your house to run more east/west than north/south, so that you have the largest walls on the structure facing South.    You should place most or almost all of your windows on the South, and any other windows on other walls, if you do have them, should be small, and operable, so that you can ventilate. Passive solar is as simple as that.



Yes, that's passive solar for the northern hemisphere in a nutshell!
 
steward
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A Hogan, if you have access to logs, would be really quick.
 
pollinator
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An old saying comes to mind.  You can have good, cheap, or fast.  Pick two.
 
gardener
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Straw bales covered with a cob finish would go up fast, the cob wouldn't take as long to dry as a solid cob wall, and it would be more insulating. I might be wrong, but I think this is the time of year when you could get your hands on straw too. You might need something other than those blocks for a stem wall under the straw to prevent moisture from wicking up from the ground. Maybe you can find some urbanite for that?
 
master pollinator
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The fastest building I saw go up was a premixed concrete home poured over an inflatable bag. After the concrete hardened the air bag is deflated and used on another home. By the next day concrete saws were cutting doors and windows. Within a week the entire structure was completely built.

Now with that being said, concrete is not exactly earth friendly. However there may be some slight alterations that could improve upon it. To make a very lightweight concrete, the University of Maine came up with sawdust concrete which uses sawdust instead of gravel for the makeup of the floor. We used it successfully on our farm for a 50,000 broiler chicken house for 30 years! Earthcrete, which uses earth instead of gravel would also work with a lot less mining and thus fossil fuels.

I still cannot get around the necessary need for portland cement as a chemical binder, but I have never put it out of my head how pouring concrete on an inflatable bag could produce a waterproof home literally overnight. After that it would just be the refinements that make it more livable.

 
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I have helped build earth-bag buildings. They go up fast if you have a community effort.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2185
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Given the materials you have on hand, perhaps light clay straw infill would be good.
Here is a pretty detailed description of the process.

http://www.theyearofmud.com/2012/03/01/light-clay-straw-house/


At 12" thickness its said to have 19 R value.
Big roof overhangs are recommended,just like with cob, but in your shoes I would also side the exterior with tin.
Here is a photo of a house in progress:
download.jpeg
[Thumbnail for download.jpeg]
 
Posts: 48
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I'm thinking you left it too late....

so build something temporary for this winter, and next spring, already have your plan for a permanent structure.

for now, I'd look at going DOWN as opposed to up, and once insulated and waterproofed, cover with snow.  You should be able to stay warm.
 
Posts: 19
Location: Edge of the World - PNW
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Too late this year I suspect.  Buy a large yet inexpensive surplus military tent and tent stove, then rough it till spring has sprung and winter has went.  You might find tent living suits you.  About 20 years ago I did this and liked it so much that after a few months I built a simple elevated wood platform to keep the tent high and dry, reinforced the frame, and converted it into a wall tent.  Lived in it in Oregon for two years.  Very cozy and comfortable.  Ah, youth...
 
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We are nearly finished transforming a shipping container into a 2 bedroom, kitchen, bathroom bunk house with a separate office for the farm. Although we have considerable mechanical systems (solar thermal, graywater treatment, composting toilet), the benefits of the shipping container is that you can drop it onto your land and it comes completely weatherproof. It will take quite a lot to heat it as is, but you can slowly insulate the inside and not worry about the weather. Come spring you can start cutting out windows and doors. All that is needed is an 8 -foot timber on one end and an 8-foot at the other end 40 feet apart. Pretty simple foundation. If this is intriguing, I suggest getting the undercarriage spray-foam insulated while in transit - we had the container placed atop two others to easily access the bottom for the foam insulation. Some spray-foam materials are more kind than others,. so you should do your research, unless you are on a tight schedule, then use what's available. Insulation is the cheapest element of the process that has the most benefits. Don't skimp on it.
 
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Desiree Fleck wrote:We have a tipi up the hill that my partner, me, and our son have lived in before but my partner really would rather have a house that is more warm and comfortable and we also have an infant baby to care for. So the tipi is out of the question for now. We have been having some talks and throwing ideas around here. We want to do it passive solar to the extent that we understand. Any good links for passive solar made simple? For the north wall, we are talking about doing it with straw bales. I know that cob can have problems when applying it in the winter because of the freezing and thawing temps so we are talking about putting metal siding on the outside of the straw bale and doing a lime cob mix for the inside wall. The rest of the walls we will probably do more conventionally and side with wood, because we need to finish the job quickly.



Tipi type structures can certainly be warm and comfortable.  Mongolian reindeer herders, for example, have comfortable and warm traveling homes. It seems unreasonable to build so quickly or decide it's necessary immediately, when the current tipi structure could likely be made more warm and accommodating with a great deal less work, stress, and within a more reasonable time scale.

Since this thread is a month old, I assume you've found some compromise.  Building a house with a new baby and winter approaching does not sound reasonable, to be frank.  A less permanent structure or making use of what is already had is simply acknowledging reality.  No doubt you've already picked a course of action, and I hope it's worked for you!
 
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