is it possible to add cob walls inside an existing standart home or to add on a porch type room to the back made from cob? i just finished tearing out all the walls in my basement, the foundation is being rebuilt soon and then we will be left with an unfinished basement. i really love the look and practicality of the cob and the little niches you can add, and the creativity involved. there will be plenty of clay dug up in the process of doing the repairs which i think i could ask them to leave me a big scoop or two to use.
Kristine Walker wrote:is it possible to add cob walls inside an existing standart home or to add on a porch type room to the back made from cob?
Yes, but you'll need a structural engineer to sign off on your plans making sure you are not adding to much weight to your walls or foundation. And it's best to find one that specializes in Natural Building like these guys Precision Structural Engineering, Inc. http://www.structure1.com/html/services.htm It is easier to do an add-on that way you can build for the cob from the foundation up, and if you do a post and beam add-on you can build under the roof.
As for the basement question -
It sounds like your going for aesthetics more than the functionality of cob - right?
So then the answer is yes with some considerations, such as is your basement dry? No moisture issues of any kind? Crack free? Most basements are not.
Questions become - Can you seal your basement walls and floor making it dry, water tight? You may want to consult with whom ever repaired your basement about these things.
Next, assuming you have a dry room to work with you may want to consider adding a layer of slip straw between the cement and cob finishing for insulation, or maybe use some type of other insulation. And because you don't need the cob to be structural you can have a skinnier wall like the typical internal cob wall. The most important thing is how to attach your insulation/cob wall to the cement walls. This usually isn't covered in cob books, as they don't go into much on remolding standard buildings. But any carpenter will be able to help you with bolting some wire or other frame work to your cement walls. This frame work would then be completely covered by the cob, holding it all in place. This is especially important if your area has any kind of tremors or seismic activity. And a cob floor would add a nice soft feel to hard concrete, but again you want to first consider your insulation options.
There are many resources covering the details of cob, for example building with COB: a step-by-step guide.
it will definitely be a dry basement. it is actually dry right now, but not structurally sound because whomever re-did it didn't know what they were doing. right now we are fighting insurance because the previous home owner hid the damage and sold the house rather than doing the necessary repairs. it is going to be lined on the outside with a moisture barrier. insulation is a must, as i live in Canada and it gets pretty cold in the winter time. i am thinking to get spray foam insulation if i can. i am going more for asthetics but also because i think it would be cost effective. i am on a fixed income and i am going to be up to my ears in debt after this is finished so it's either diy something or keep it unfinished. i think the cob is probably the most appealing option for me. thanks for your advice. i'm not too keen on getting a engineer so i guess i will pass on the addition.
i will look into if there are any natural builders around here. i highly doubt it. there is one couple who has an earth ship about eight hours from here who do work shops but there are no buses that come here and i don't drive so i'm pretty much stuck where i am...lol.