Have you ever thought about building an earth home?
Well, with the prices of EVERYTHING going up these days, it might be something you could give some thought to...

Here is a bit of information I gathered while doing some research...

Cob Home …
 A cob home is becoming increasingly popular as a green building option for individuals. There are several benefits of building a cob home as opposed to upgrading a home to green standards or using an alternative such as tiny home-building and complete off the grid building here are a few of the benefits of cob homes for individuals to consider. Low-cost Building Cob homes are made of. Low-cost and natural materials. In fact the four main materials used in building Cob homes are made of clay, water, straw and earth. Though some individuals may think that this is a primitive form of living, the truth is that this low-cost building has higher durability than more traditional homes and offers an increasing amount of comfort for the owner. Energy Efficiency Cob homes fall under a geothermal energy efficiency category. For example, a Cob home will naturally heat the home during the winter and cooler home during the summer. This means that there is virtually no electric bill. In fact, the individuals who do have electric bills for their Cob homes generally used electric to run small appliances, Internet capabilities and kitchen area appliances. Without a heating or cooling bill, many individuals have found that the energy efficiency of a Cob home pays for itself within the first few months.  A cob house is made of clay, sand and straw. The mixture is "kneaded" like dough before it is put into place by stomping on it with your feet or using a cement mixer for larger scale operations. The clay acts as the glue, while the sand gives strength to the mixture and the straw gives the walls tensile strength once hardened into place. Because cob is very flexible to work with, the builder is free to create just about any shape, so you won't find too many cob homes that look similar to each other.

History - Cob is a very old building method that is now enjoying a renaissance. There are homes still standing today in Wales that are at least 500 years old. Chances are these homes were built out of earth out of necessity rather than choice. They were probably built by rural families that were extremely poor at the time.

 What are the advantages of building with cob?

Energy Efficiency - A cob house provides a large amount of thermal mass. This helps keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You will not have to heat your home with nuclear electricity, Persian Gulf oil, or strip mining in Wyoming!  Cob is a “thermal mass” that absorbs sunlight and warms the building over the course of the day. This is called passive solar heating, and it will keep the inside of the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Inexpensive (Mortgage & Debt Free) - The walls of the home are made entirely of natural resources that are available under your feet. This brings up a good point about natural building in general; use the natural materials that are prevalent in your area. Clay is abundant in most areas of the world. Why not build with what you've got? The primary materials for cob are: clay, sand, and straw. These are very easily accessible and cheap resources to acquire. Other parts like windows and doors can also be salvaged or purchased as used from restoration depots.  People have built high quality cob homes for as little as a few thousand dollars. It all really depends on what you want your home to be like. You should never have to take out a loan or go into any kind of debt to construct a nice cob house.  If you want to live mortgage and debt free then a cob home is a very good option to consider.  

Owner Built - Cob houses can usually be built by the owner. You don’t need a degree in architecture or to be a structural engineer to build a cob home.  Many people build their own homes after taking a one week long cob building workshop.  It is very rewarding to be able to build your home with your own two hands.  There is obviously, quite a bit of labor involved but if time is not a factor, a house of this type could be built with just a couple of workers. Basic carpentry, plumbing and electric skills are required.

- Unlike conventional homes which are constructed with synthetic, industrial-formed materials, cob homes are built almost entirely out of natural, clean materials. Industrial homes are full of indoor air pollutants and off-gassing of chemicals contained in the building materials. Cob homes do not have this problem. In fact, cob actually “breathes” through its tiny pores and keeps air fresh and clear. If you suffer from indoor allergies then living in a cob house could significantly improve your quality of life by eliminating the toxins that may cause them.  (Considering I basically have no immune system, this is very good for me!)

Strong - The straw, which is part of the cob mix, acts like a natural re-bar to hold the whole structure together as one monolithic piece. This makes cob homes extremely solid and resistant to earthquakes. Many cob homes have lasted for hundreds of years with minimal upkeep, whereas wooden structures generally survive only a few generations.  Build a cob home for your family and it will last for many, many generations to come.

Acoustic Privacy
- Earthen walls have very good sound-absorbing properties that keep it quiet inside, both from exterior noises and noise generated in the same building.

Termite Proof - Since cob is a mixture of soil, aggregate sand, and straw it is not attractive to termites. To add to that, cob homes have not been known to become burrowing grounds for insects or animals either.

Fire Proof
- Cob does not catch fire. However, still be aware of your ceiling or roof as it might not be flame resistant like the body of the cob home.

Fun - If you like playing in the mud, this is the house for you. Seriously, this is an excellent style of house to build for those with imagination. You can be very creative with the walls of your house. 

What are the disadvantages of building a cob house?

Resell ability
- With any other alternative house building types, you might have a problem reselling a house that is "different" from the norm. In most cases, the occupants who build alternative 

Building Permits - As with all alternative building methods, you might run into some problems with local building codes. The walls are the biggest hurdle. The rest of the house is built using conventional building methods, but getting approval for the mud walls might be a problem. 

Financing - Cob homes are quite unique to say the least. Uniqueness is not a word that lending institutions like to hear.  But why would you want to finance a cob house in the first place?  It's probably the least costly house you could build and the cash outlay is minimal.

Durability (It depends) - Cob does need to be protected from the elements.  A large roof overhang will protect the walls from all but driving rains, but weather will take a toll on the walls. Reviewing the houses that were built in Britain over 500 years ago, I noticed that these homes were finished with a stucco type material. Depending upon your climate, you may need to consider some type of finish to protect the cob.



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