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Earth Sheltered Cob House?

Andrew Asimus

Joined: Feb 28, 2013
Posts: 1
Would it be possible to shelter a cob house on the North and East sides with earth and leave the the South and West side exposed for passive solar set up? If the sheltered walls had gravel barrier that went up the length of the wall and at the base there was drainage pipe, would you be able to avoid moisture damaging the Cob walls?
dawn trueman

Joined: Apr 10, 2013
Posts: 13
I am not an expert but was recently trying to figure this out myself, everything I've read says cob won't work with berming or underground because it really needs to breathe. Even with gravel and a drain, moisture could build up against the wall since there is no air flow around it. Although maybe someone with more experience could tell you if there is a way to do it or not, maybe it depends on your climate. I live on the west coast, I wouldn't risk it here.
R Scott

Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 3011
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
Not recommended. You can put a giant berm near the house to create a windbreak.
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Jay C. White Cloud

Joined: Nov 05, 2012
Posts: 2384
Location: Thetford, Vermont
Sorry, the physics of the cobb just won't let that work. The cobb would turn back into soil.

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R Scott

Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 3011
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
You could do rock-filled earthbag for the ground contact portions. Scoria (lava rock) or unwashed 3/4 minus road base (crushed rock that is 3/4" at the largest and goes down to dust). If it is crushed limestone it will pack to near-concrete (as the lime powder hydrates and turns to mortar) and be a really good wall.
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