Hi I was wondering if any of y'all knew if dry stacking a rock roundhouse and then applying a cob or earthen plaster to most likely the inside but also possibly the outside too is a possible reality or it that just too primitive? I live in arkansas and have quite a bit of rock and clay on my property, and don't have much money to work with, and was hoping to build a house for practically nothing besides my own back and possibly some straw for making cob. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thank you!
First off, Welcome fellow Arkansan. For a structure (in our high humidity/ high temp summers) I would look at some of the very old (mid 1800's) house photos.
Many of the first structures built in Arkansas by settlers were "board" cabins chinked with limed mud, lots of these are still standing if you go hunting for them.
These are built similar to a log home but with 3-4 inch thick "slabs" they are notched together at the corners.
I have seen a couple of first build rock houses that used limed clay for the mortar, but I've not seen any dry stacked complete houses.
There are some dry stack foundations but most are mortared with a type of cement mortar or limed mud.
Depending on where in the state you are building, you have opportunities for earth quakes (usually not violent enough to do damage) and lots of high velocity straight winds (most of the housing and building damages come from these).
When I lived in Up State NY, I never saw any dry stacked houses, but I did see lots of dry stacked foundations and timber framed barns and homes from the 1690's into the 1800's.
I would recommend you use a stacked and mortared technique instead of dry stacked for a house, it will be stronger in high winds and it will have less air leaks to deal with (once you plaster the inside) in our winters.
Winter in Arkansas is a treat, the humidity level is higher than most of the US and that makes for bone chilling cold that even Canadians find worse than -40 temps (we only get down to single digits once every few years, minus temps never get here except by wind chill factor).
Thank you Redhawk! I love arkansas, in from a rural community called alread 20 miles west of clinton. I like the idea of thick boards weather proofed by lime mud, though I'm really set on building in the round and thought rocks would be the easiest and cheapest way to do that. Since I have so many rocks lying around the hillsides around my dads. What do you think? And do you know What the mud lime mortar is made of ratio wise? It would be great if my only expenses were lime and tin for the roof which I might even be able to salvage!
Franak, is that Polish for Frank? I plan to build with cob in southern Mo. I was experimenting with clay and portland and made some bricks with 5 to 10 percent cement and so far have held up great in rain and freezing weather and has been cold so far this year. I would recomend using it at least for foudation to 18 or 24 inches then cob the rest. If it is solid dry stacked cob should make it stronger. Would use flat rock and overlap the joints.I would also recomend an earth roof for insulation and comfort. Look up recypical roof if you havent already.Hope this helps, I know this is an old thread butif a wall is already dry stacked cob worked into both side would really help. Good luck and have fun building.
One thing to be aware of if building with stone is that it is a great temperature stabilizer if you have daily temperature swings, but if it is always cold outside, the wall will get cold and stay cold. You could insulate inside it, but then you would lose the benefit of thermal mass tempering the inside. Probably the best bet would be a double wall, an outside layer mortared with clay, an air space (with water-resistant insulation if possible), and an inner wall to be finished as desired on the surface. You would probably want occasional through-stones to tie the walls together, as is common with traditional brick cavity wall construction. What is the character of the stone you have available? Jagged, smooth, flat, round...? That will strongly influence the possibilities.
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