If you'd like to embark on an eco-friendly and fun project, try building a cob house or cottage. Cob is a mixture of mud and straw that isn't typically formed into bricks. Instead, because it contains a high percentage of straw, it's simply laid down in large globs to build walls. Cob houses are cost effective and efficient for heating and cooling so they're a great choice in the expensive modern world.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Draw out an accurate and detailed floor plan ahead of time.
Grade the soil away from the intended site of the building so that water runs away from the building. Save the soil that you take away during the grading process to use in making your cob.
Mix soil and straw with water to make cob. It should have a higher percentage of straw than dirt.
Build up each level of the walls slowly. Give each level enough time to dry before adding a new level. It's best not to add more than one foot of new cob to the walls each day. If you're in a wet climate, you might need to build more slowly.
Hire a professional contractors to build your roof and help you with things like plumbing, electrical work and window installation.
Tips and warnings
- Build a roof with wide eaves if you're living in a rainy climate. Although cob houses can withstand quite a bit of rain, they'll begin to decay if they're constantly drenched.
- You can have a lot of fun building a cob house by inviting your friends to help you build up the walls and encouraging their input for design ideas.