Building Suggestion

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bearkiller, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Northern California
    Hi all,

    Been thinking about the many construction vs price issues that keep cropping up here and wanted to throw this out for cummunity digestion.

    Many of us have little cash to spare for building. But many have smaller "poles" that can be used for building structures for various uses. How can we use those poles for an economic building?

    In spite of the costs, concrete or cement remains one of the cheapest building materials. My suggestion is to follow practices that are very common in so-called third world countries. One of the best is to build a pole frame for whatever building you need. Once that part is done, wrap the structure with 15lb felt, then wrap again with chicken wire. Follow up with a plaster/stucco coat. There is no need to sheet the structure with plywood before applying the felt/stucco. Stucco is pretty forgiving in use and lends itself well to many creative finishing technics. And it is very durable and lasting.

    Floors are often difficult to build cheaply, perhaps one of the hardest areas to economize. So here is one way I have solved this problem using poles. Instead of setting poles on larger centers I simply place them close together and use smaller poles to fill in any voids. Around the perimeter set up 2 X 4 on edge for forms. Place 6 X 6 10 ga concrete reinforcing mesh inside and fill the form with concrete. This is the cheapest floor I have built yet and worked well even several feet off the ground.

    This method offers buildings as low cost as I have been able to create and may well help many of you here on the board.

    bearkiller
     
  2. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

    Messages:
    1,436
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    illinois but i have a homestead building in missou
    I dont remember where I read about this method. It may be in the original book about slip form construction by the Nearings, but they made interior partitions by stretching burlap over frames and then plastering over the burlap to make very thin screen like walls that they claimed were quite durable. Cant say Ive ever tried it, but it would seem to be a relatively inexpensive though messy process. A bit like using that stuff they used to make casts for broken arms and legs.

    My house in missouri is basically a pole structure with conventional framing inbetween the poles. I considered concrete floors too, but they were too expensive to have them done for me and I didnt feel physically capable of mixing small batches myself at my age. However since then I saw some workmen on campus pouring large sections of sidewalk and they did it in alternating sections.
    They would form up and pour one big square, then skip the next square and form up again and pour. Then they went back and poured the squares they had skipped. Each square had a nice incised pattern in it.
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    wood frame flooring would be cheaper here than concrete.

    on a side note, I had a building put up by method called 'blue max' where concrete is poured between the styrofoam walls. The best thing about this is you can make irregular height walls as you just add another 20" frame of styrofoam that interlocks with the layer below and fill in with concrete. Also, once the frame is interlocked by 3 guys took about 3 days, and the next day concrete pourded and was finished to the roof stage. It makes fast work to save labor or time. We needed this building up within 3 weeks to a storefront, and it was accomplished. A standard wood framed building would have been about 30% cheaper and took longer, but not as strong, nor as finished, nor as well insulated. The floor is concrete covered by vinyl tile, but the floor is cold in the winter. The concrete/styrofoam building is ultra quiet, too.
     
  4. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    Hey Folio Mark,

    When are you going to update your Missouri House Journal already? I've been following it for a couple of years now and I'm getting antsy for some new pictures. Have you built that tower yet?

    -Jack
     
  5. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    On that floor idea, I've done the math for my area and figured that it's usually cheaper to just use a beefy sill girt and lay wood joists across it. Cover with subfloor grade plywood or OSB, stain or polyurethane it later if you want. That gives you a more comfortable finished floor for less money. Of course that could change if lumber prices shoot way up.

    The thing about a concrete floor is that a slab like that is not going to be a DIY project. You've got to mix so much concrete at once that you don't have much choice but to have a professional come out with a big truck and do the pour for you. You need a bunch of people there to help with the pour and finish it quickly before it sets up. It all adds up to a good pile of money. Wheras with a wood framed floor you can deliver the materials yourself piecemeal in a pickup truck. One person can build it himself over whatever schedule he wants without having to hire a bunch of day laborers. When you start figuring in those cost differences I think that wood wins out.

    Your felt/wire/stucco idea is interesting. How long does it hold up in most North American climates (non-desert)? I always worry about cracking with stucco over anything but masonry. The stucco or cement contracts and expands very little with changes in temperature and moisture, but the wooden pole frame does move significantly as those conditions change. Leading to fractures in the stucco. But if we're accepting that it's a low-cost, temporary building method then that might be all right.

    -Jack
     
  6. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Northern California
    Wow, Moonwolf and Jack, I'm not impressed with that response at all. I use a one sack mixer on the back of my tractor and have mixed more mud with it than you'll likely see in a lifetime. And I'm an old fart. Absolutely no need to subcontract that amount of work...what is needed is some thought about how to get it done. And then to get to work.

    Perhaps part of the problem here is (and I am NOT trying to single you out Jack) the age old problem I ran into as a young man, namely "I'd sure love to have a place like that, but I could never afford it." Definitely not so...first you have to want it and then you have to be willing to work for what you want. I've seen so many who "love the concepts", but are too darn lazy to do the work to get what they want. Perhaps there is some of that here, as well! And you've got to think "outside the box", which I'm not seeing much of here. Do you all expect low cost alternative construction methods to meet state of the art stick frame construction and finish...if so quit dreaming!

    Gosh, let me think, here. First you lay out posts and headers, then you lay joists...in my case, ALL out of poles. I actually paid for a few 2 X 4's for a perimeter form and laid in the reinforcing wire (which I already had). For the size building I had, the mud needed was 4 cu yards. So I actually spent the cash to buy 24 bags of cement. You figure what that cost. Sub it out to a transit mix truck and crew, no way!!!!! More than a frame floor, I don't think so. C'mon guys, use your noodle as my pa used to tell me!

    bearkiller
     
  7. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,510
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    I'll second that.

    I got as far as AUGUST 25, 2003 and couldn't find any more. I thoroughly enjoying reading about your adventure. Can't wait to read what has happened since then.
     
  8. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

    Messages:
    820
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    SW Ark
    How many inches or feet apart would you place the poles in order to provide enough support for the felt, wire and stucco?

    We have a metal carport up here that I would love to wall in for a storage shed and I am looking for ways to do it that won't cost a fortune. Any ideas?