Outside of the box housing idea

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cyngbaeld, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    OK, this is prob crazy, but, if a body had lots of sawdust available, but didn't have strawbales, maybe build a post/beam house with sandbags stuffed with sawdust as infill, plaster over the bags with adobe inside and stucco outside.

    What do you all think?
     
  2. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    I'm pretty sure I've seen a variation of that idea in one of the homesteading-type magazines some years back.

    Sounds like a doable idea to me.
     

  3. Arkie1

    Arkie1 Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I'd be concerned about would be it composting over time. If this was kiln dried sawdust it would be less likely to degrade over time.

    I think there's probably a way, it's just making sure you're 9' walls stay 9'. ;)
     
  4. Natalie11

    Natalie11 Well-Known Member

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  5. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    That actually sounds like a good idea, Kim. You might want to mix some borax in with the sawdust, to keep bugs out of it, though. It would give a good thickness of insulation in the walls, and doesn't need to be structural since you are using a post and beam frame -- I think you'd need to figure out a way to hold the bags in place. Perhaps something similar to what they do with strawbales, with bamboo or some kind of poles (willow whips?) inside and out, tied together. I think the people who do earthbag construction lay rows of barbed wire down on top of each row of bags, so they don't slip off one another.

    When I was a baby, my grandparents (both sets) and my parents had a sawmill in Alaska (on the Big Gerstle River, between Tok and Delta Jct.). They used sawdust for insulation in the cabins they built at the sawmill. It worked fine, even though the walls weren't all that thick, until they hauled several of the buildings about thirty miles over what were, at the time, rough gravel roads to our homestead. That made the sawdust in the walls settle, leaving the top two feet of the walls without any insulation at all. This was NOT GOOD! I think your idea is better, because the sawdust couldn't settle and leave part of the wall uninsulated.

    Kathleen
     
  6. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I betcha if you go to MotherEarthNews.com and do a search in their archives, they prob have something like that. I remember reading about it somehwere............
     
  7. wheeezil

    wheeezil Well-Known Member

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    woodcrete sawdust mixed with sand and cement
     
  8. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    I think this would work. As with strawbale, once you seal it up moisture-tight with the plaster and stucco, there should be no decomposing and no bugs.

    If you are only infilling one story high, you might not need the barbed wire or bamboo pole bracing. With strawbale, apparently the stucco ties it all together so the whole thing acts as a big stress skin panel. You would need to use a very rough burlap sack though, so the stucco/plaster could really adhere to the sacks.

    The other consideration is that the rounded sack corners will give you lots of little gaps and air pockets. You would probably need to fill those up with more plaster or some kind of filler.

    Just my two cents...
     
  9. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Check with your local exterminating company about the prevelance of termites in your area.
     
  10. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

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    Build a post and beam structure then ANY wall materials would be non weight bearing and could be stucco-ed over.
     
  11. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    I don't know about the borax, wouldn't that get kind of expensive? hydrated lime should do the trick, too.
     
  12. madison

    madison New Member

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    Use polypropylene bags - burlap will decompose and your home will collapse. PP will last a long, long time as long as it's kept out of sunlight, which degrades it.

    Look at links for papercrete, it sounds like your sawdust idea might have some similarities.
     
  13. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Hydrated lime sounds like it would work. I did a little research and apparently if you mix the lime with the sawdust, it not only kills bugs, but if the sawdust gets wet, the whole shebang hardens like beadboard!

    Kathleen, that sounds really neat. I wonder why they didn't try to add more sawdust into the top tho?
     
  14. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I once saw a double walled log cabin with sawdust in between that was used as ice storage and kept the ice all summer.

    I'd make sure water couldn't get inside because the resulting leachout would be a staining mess.