liam loftus

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since Jul 11, 2015
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Recent posts by liam loftus

Hi Dillon,

Am I reading your first post correctly as suggesting that I should have two breathable membrane layers in both the walls and the roof?

This wouldn't be a huge problem, as enough membrane (tyvek equivalent) for the whole cabin is cheap enough here, just 70 euro.  Lots of other parts of the budget are much bigger, eg 450 for the corrugated iron, 450 for insulation.  

Does the quote from foursevenfive suggest that the outer layer should be much more vapour permeable than the inner layer?

The reason I am asking for advice on the net is that wooden houses are very rare here and even if I had the money to hire a carpenter, he/she would probably never have built a timber frame and timber clad house.



I am planning on building a small timber frame cabin , about 4.5m x 5.5m (15ft x 18ft).  It will be place on top of pre existing stone walls 1m tall, each wall 0.7m wide.  The walls will be lime pointed and the wooden cabin will attach to railway sleepers resting by weight on the stonewall.

So the wooden walls will only  be one 1m tall, and will not be connected to the floor.  I will be using similar framing of the top half of the attached drawing, except thinking of not having roofing boards on top of rafters.  Internal paneling will be reclaimed pallet boards, external cladding/siding will be similar, but cut to have a slight overlap.  Some sort of linseed paint or finish inside and out.  The plan is to have 100mm (4 inches) of rockwool insulation in the walls and between the rafters of the roof.  There are about 17m2 of wall and 40m2 of roof.
Heating by wood stove or solarization from windows.

The purpose of the cabin is to live there while we restore the large stone house beside it, and then to use it in the longer term for visitors.  So I want it to not get damp problems in a few years.
We live in Ireland, it is often rainy and cold, rarely freezes or snows.  For our american readers, it is like the coast in washington state.

My questions..............................................

The internet has a horrendous diversity of ideas on what to do in regard to what membrane to use and where to put it.  Could someone give me climate specific advice on this?  

My thinking at the moment is to have breathable membrane in the walls and in the roof, sealed with tape.

Roof,...from outside in......corrugated iron, on battens.  Between battens and rafters will be membrane.  Below membrane, rock wool, in between rafters.  Below rafters, pallet board paneling.  

Walls,.......from outside in.....pallet board cladding/siding....rockwool between studs....membrane.....pallet board panelling

I know this is membrane on cold side in the roof and membrane on warm side in walls.  Is this a daft or reasonable plan?

Any suggestions on membrane placement and/or specific membrane choice would be greatly appreciated.



Thanks Bryant.
Do you mean an exterior ring of mortar stopping water seeping in from the outside or a layer of mortar under all of the first layer of bags?  i.e. the first layer of bags resting on mortar?
3 years ago
Hi folks,

We are going to build a trial run earthbag cabin, 4m by 4.5m, that will be used as a home if all goes well.

We are considering build it on an almost flat section of bare rock, which is shaped so water drains away from proposed cabin.

Can one build with earthbag in this manner?  The stuff touching the bare rock will be either slate rocks as a stem wall or lime stabilised reject sand from the local quarry.

Any input, particularly with examples or photos much appreciated.

Extra info.......
Rock type, slate
Soil on site, rocky, almost no clay between topsoil and bedrock.
Location, ireland, climate like Oregon.
Wall material, reject sand from quarry

3 years ago
Hi Marcus,

I have rented the cabin, so it is no longer available. i suggest you have a look at the spanish buy and sell site,

good luck

5 years ago
Hi Stephen,

Yes it is still for sale, please PM me with any questions you might have.


6 years ago
Hello Jay,

Thanks a lot for the info. If I do opt for the LSC method and proceed to having plans drawn up, I definately will post blue prints for feedback.

Also, do ping me a message if anything good emerges from some editors desk...........

I read the blurb on the link you sent me for the Econest book. It does have rather a proprietary sound to it! I might well get the book, though, as I prefer to get a "bulk portion" of advice from one source. Reading these forums can make one a bit worried, as there is such a diversity of opinion. For example, if I come across one naysayer on a thread discussing a particular technique, I don't know if they totally incorrect or the one voice of sanity.

I am fairly familiar with cob, there are a few cob houses in this area (Cork, Ireland). I am less familiar with straw bale but will keep reading. I am leaning away from cob due to (a) the labour involved in the building process and (b) it not being that compatible with the interior aesthetic I would like, which is American Craftsman. I lived in the pacific NW and really like those interiors.

Anyway, off to do a lot of reading!


6 years ago
Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a book or download with detailed instructions, pros and cons for building a house with light straw clay?

I am trying a to decide if the method fits my needs. I will be building in Ireland, which has Pacific NW type weather.

A recent book or download would be ideal.


6 years ago
I did not mean to mention surf twice, I am not THAT obsessed.
6 years ago
Hi guys,

I have a place in Asturias, northern Spain for sale. Please see my recent post advertising it, with photos and details. But it has an off-grid cabin rather than a house. But on the other hand there are aboyt 15 seven year old fruits trees, and 10 mature edible chestnuts which produce vast amounts of chestnuts. A spring comes up on the land, which is now hooked up to a standpipe. Anyway, lots of detail and photos in my post.

Even if my place does not suit, I suggest looking into Asturias for your search. It is wetter than most of Spain, so good for food production. It is near the sea and mountains and the land is quite cheap. The surf is also excellent, which was a big motivation for me. I really like the scenery and it has quite an intact rural culture. The surf is also excellent, which was a big motivation for me.

Please leyt me know if you have any questions

6 years ago