We have finally started on our house renovation and hoping to get enough done before the rain sets in. We’ve done lots of clearing, laid foundations and dug a huge pile of clay for the cob. It will be mixed with straw from our field and local sand. Our neighbours can’t understand why we want to build a house out of mud! Most of the houses around here are made from stone and part of our house will be stone too, but we want bigger windows for more light and we want the house to be reasonably warm in winter, as well as cool in summer. We’ve spent weeks chipping off old cement mortar that covered the stone and didn’t allow the house to breathe and the smell of damp has finally gone – even with most of the walls and roof gone the old part of the house still smelled damp. Eventually we dug out most of the clay floor and laid gravel to go under the limecrete floor.
The foundations are 60cm deep and there will be 50cm of stone on top before the cob starts.
The access to the house is down 500M of dirt track and not accessible for large lorries. The first guy we ordered concrete from said he couldn’t get his truck down the track so we had to find some one else. Dean and Kiki then had to go down the track and cut some of the branches off before he would come.
The track is also slightly higher than the house and that’s why it was so wet and damp. We’ve put a lot of effort into drainage further up the track, opening up old and digging new ditches, as well as into waterproofing the vulnerable part of the house with lime cement and EDPM. The whole house has been raised too.