Build a house for $5000

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Build a house for $5000

Post by greendragon on Sat 13 Dec 2008, 2:33 pm

http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/12/01/hand-build-an-earth-sheltered-house-for-5000/

http://www.simondale.net/

I saw this and thought it was pretty cool and illustrates what can be done.
However I think there is a better way for near as cheap which I touch on below.

But you could do something very similar for close to the same price using ferro
cement (stucco) and rebar and steel mesh and have a much stronger house and
less maintenance. Cement and steel are still one of the cheapest building
materials around. Low maintenance, very strong, long lasting, and easy learning
curve.

http://www.geocities.com/flyingconcrete/

These kinds of houses like in the original article are can be livable but are
high maintenance and you must be careful especially of they are earth covered
and burmed. Moisture, leaks, and rot are a constant concern and require
vigilance and immediate attention if found. Straw bales have been known to compost
over time and also mold if moisture is present

I question his roof with being just plastic covered for his moisture barrier
then earth covered. If you get a leak it is a major operation to fix it since
its earth covered.

As for permits yeah your never going to be able to build something alternative
in a subdivision of box stick houses. You have to get out somewhere where the
building codes are lax or non existent. There are places like that in Idaho
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Re: Build a house for $5000

Post by Maureen on Sat 13 Dec 2008, 10:14 pm

Thanks for this posting! I dearly love this little hobbit house (see first link) but I had lost the link to it. If anyone is planning to build something like this I STRONGLY recommend following the rules for underground houses set down by Mike Oehler, author of "The Fifty dollar and up underground house book." His DVD set is better because it was made after an addition 25 years of experience. Also, see "The hand-sculptured house," the classic treatise on building with cob. It's ok to combine techniques intelligently.

In Idaho, I think ferro-cement should be covered with some kind of membrane like butyl rubber (pond liner) or at least builders' plastic (polyethylene). Otherwise you will get freeze/thaw cracks and have leaks that can't be repaired any other way than covering with a membrane. Protect the membrane with soil, grass, moss, etc. and your house will gain insulation, thermal mass and near invisibility.

The combination of cob and strawbales is much better than either alone. The cob protects the straw from moisture, mice, etc. Bales are spiked through with sharpened willow sticks (works better than rebar). Bales are competely covered in cob. Cob is a very high quality building material, but it is slow going. Bales go up fast and provide fabulous insulation. The composite structure (bale/cob/willow stick) is very strong so you don't need the redundant post and beam structure so often seen on strawbale houses. The main downside to bale/cob construction is the need for such a wide foundation. The ideal foundation is not standard poured concrete, but rather stacked broken concrete (better earthquake stability and resistance to moisture wicking).

I envision putting all this together into a solar/bale-cob/semi-underground hobbit house.

Maureen

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Re: Build a house for $5000

Post by hawkiye on Sat 13 Dec 2008, 11:40 pm

Putting lime in the cement and using the proper size mesh will keep a ferro cement structure from cracking ( grew up doing masonry. 3rd generation). I agree that for the roof it needs to water proofed but I do not agree that Cob water proofs straw bales. The bales will have a percentage of moisture in the fiber if nothing else and cob absorbs moisture.

Either way a proper size roof is the most important to keeping water out and off the structure.

fero cement can be water proofed once and forgotten about. Cob and straw bale cannot they need to be constantly mainatined and checked.

I will check out the video you mention
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