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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious the pros and cons of building a DIY stone house compared to a house built of wood. I like the typical historic farm house style- two story with a porch across the whole front, chimney on one side. Nothing huge, probably something in the realm of 1500 sq ft. I see that someone is renovating a little stone cottage, but I wondered if anyone here has ever built one from scratch.
 

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I see why you are drooling. It looks fabulous. I am so torn about what I want to live in. I love the historic look and feel, but it is so much easier to build from scratch rather than restore or renovate. Hisband is not wild about buying something that needs an overhaul and problemsolving someone else's building skills. So he wants traditional wood farmhouse and I am thinking about stone. Go figure. Thanks for the link.
 

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Hey.

I've built three stone houses. I mostly repair/rebuild stone barn foundations and build stone fireplaces/chimneys around here. I'm a master stone mason (journeyman). I spent two years in Ireland and three years in Scotland learning old world stone construction techniques. Most of my work in my past was done on church buildings. Slipforming is a four letter word to me.

Some pros of stone farmhouse compared to wood: 1.less maintenance...stone doesn't wear out like wood,paint, and siding does...there is tuckpointing to be done from time to time however.2.better survivability during high winds/tornadoes 3. better fire resistance 4. animals/insects won't be chewing thru the walls 5.beauty of natural stone makes it more attractive 6.holds value better than wood on real estate market

RF
 

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The biggest downside of a stone house has got to be the cost. Are you thinking about a stone wall that serves as the only wall? In other words, you don't have any 2x4 walls inside where you can insulate and put up sheetrock? If that's the case, then it seems to me that there would be a lot of drawbacks (how do you insulate, how do you run your electric, etc). If not, then you're going to put up a 2x4 wall inside, with insulation, sheetrock, etc, and the stone part is simply going to replace what would otherwise be siding....
 

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With the price of lumber what it is, stone houses are looking better all the time. I just closed on a lot with plenty of beautiful stones, and have ordered Ken Kern's book on stone masonry. To solve the coldness of a stone house, I imagine one would have to make double walls of stone, with insulation between them. Not sure I'm up to that. I'm starting by reading that book, and then the next step is to attempt to develop a spring on the property using just stone and mortar. The stone house is not expensive if you already have the stones, and do the labor yourself. The stone house exudes timelessness, I have read, and often sells for a small fortune due to its uniqueness. Also, bugs and fire will have nothing to do with it. Lots of upside to a stone house...
 

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Inlaws in Maryland have a stone home very old 4 generations at least. Coldest dampest house i haver be in. Even in summer. A few rooms have drywall afew log on inside. The kitchen cabinets hung on 2x4 s concrete into the stone.
 

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Inlaws in Maryland have a stone home very old 4 generations at least. Coldest dampest house i haver be in. Even in summer. A few rooms have drywall afew log on inside. The kitchen cabinets hung on 2x4 s concrete into the stone.
My thought is that the place will be cold and damp until I start a fire in the stone fireplace, which is connected to every other stone in the edifice, making one big heat rock which will hold and radiate for a very long time. I read a book once, thirty years in the golden north, where the fella wintered with fire in his cave (which he blasted out with some dynamite) and the next winter when he returned the stone was still warm.
 

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I'd slipform it and then figure out how to put Styrofoam or spray insulation up with some little nailers and then put drywall up over that. Slipforming makes it easier to get a uniform product I feel. Most importantly you can get some rebar in there, especially in the corners. Yeah, rebar is nice.

Get a little toy tractor with a loader bucket for carrying rock and lifting them. And a freestanding cement mixer. And also backhoe attachment if you can just cuz (footings, getting more rocks). A large amount of rock only makes a small amount of wall, you'll be surprised.

This is based on experience building some little rock retaining walls along the way.
 

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That's why I love these forums. Old threads are full of good information. Before bed last night, I went to youtube looking for others building stone houses. I found this video:
Primitive Life:Build a new house from stone! full video!
Over the course of 47 minutes you see a hard-working SE Asian (I think) fella clear the site, dig the foundation trench, gather rocks, gather limestone and turn it into quicklime, make cement, build the walls, make a bamboo roof, treat it with pitchblende which he makes from charcoal and pine sap, and of course build a door. It definitely demystifies the process, to see how it can be accomplished with no power tools, no shirt, no shoes.
 
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