Living Earth Structures

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Avarice, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Avarice

    Avarice California Health Junkie

    I'm becoming obsessed with how cool this is. You can do research, but basically, cob building is clay, sand, and straw with sealant, and you can make it look real nice. If you watch the video, the guy some some pretty amazing things with cob.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    cob is cool, there are cob buildings that are several hundred years old and still sound
  3. sixfifty

    sixfifty Monkey+

    It looks and sounds interesting but I'm not sure how it would hold up in wetter climates. Up here in WA it would turn to mush in no time during 3/4 of the year.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The trick to making these type of structures work in Wet Climates, is to seal the walls, both inside and out so the moisture can't get into the interior. Many folks use a two Part Epoxy coating, to do this. It does increase the expense, but does work. ..... YMMV....
    Tracy likes this.
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    in the old days they made what was called "sand plaster"
    its a mix of calcium carbonate, sand, sawdust, water and sometimes salt
    this used to be the only true air and moisture proof coating
    if your tear out the walls in an old plaster n lathe house
    you will see sand plaster was used as a base coat before regular plaster
    sometimes it was used alone
    cisterns were sealed with it, walls, some well shafts part way down
    and rammed earth buildings like cob
    ive even heard of people making shingles out of it
  6. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

  7. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Must be nice, I don't see a single rock or stone in any of his dirt. Certainly not in PA, because we wouldn't be able to get away with that here; we would have to have the clay brought in. If you dig in your backyard, all you will get is rocks. The field my father tills has to have been used in one form or another for almost 100 years, but we still pull up 8-12" goonies every time we plow.
    Cephus likes this.
  8. Avarice

    Avarice California Health Junkie

    There are a lot of cob buildings up on the Canadian coastline, so I assume it will work in WA. We can find info on that.

    Yes, even in CA we need to seal the cob. Rain is rain.
  9. pmbug

    pmbug Golden Cockroach

    Cool stuff. There is a group selling books / videos on how to build "earthship" homes out of rammed earth tires that finishes the interior walls with this same material.
  10. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    ive looked at most of those earthship "how-to's"
    i tried building a barn that way, very time consuming
    the individual tires are like solid concrete once packed
    and they have ungodly thermal mass just left unsealed
    next time i do this i will use galvanized zip screws
    and screw each tire to the finished ones it touches
    id say like 8 to 12 screws in each tire
  11. Avarice

    Avarice California Health Junkie

    Earthships are amazing, but they require a lot more time and effort. They also require non native materials, though coming upon tires wouldn't be a problem now or in a shtf scenario. It requires a lot of effort to pack the dirt into the tire.
  12. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    you forget the original living earth structure
    the soddy house
    just cut sod into blocks, stack it like bricks
    lay stout poles across the top, cover with brush
    then lots of long grass
    cover the whole thing with more sod
    it may not be totally waterproof
    but its warm safe and fairly dry
    and you can build one in a day or 2 depending on how many hands you have
    Kingfish likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary