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Cob: Re: Adobe/Cob maintenanceShannon C. Dealy dealy at deatech.com
Fri Aug 3 00:13:10 PDT 2001
On Tue, 31 Jul 2001, Mafalda Stock wrote: > Hi, > > I saw a snippet on T.V. of a woman saying that the constant repair she has > to do on her adobe (and presumable cob, too) kills you. Please share with You don't give any details of what type of repairs that were involved, but my wife saw a show recently where the person was complaining about all the problems/work maintaining the exterior stucco on an adobe home. Assuming what you saw was the same show, I would guess having no other information to go on, that the problem is a stucco which is cement based or used some other material which prevented it from being breathable. Unfortunately, far to many people involved in the design and construction of buildings both modern and older/more traditional do not understand the causes and dangers of moisture build-up inside of walls, and make heavy use of non-breathable materials, even in areas where they are not necessary. If you seal your walls, moisture can build up near the exterior, resulting in: paint bubbles, cracked and peeling stucco, corrosion in metal framing, rot (wood, strawbale or other organic materials), mold, mildew, and probably any number of other problems. I think I did a rather long winded overview of how/why the moisture build-up occurs a couple years ago, you could check the archives if you are interested in the details. > the rest of us the comparative experiences you have had with your buildings > requiring constant repair. Is it true? It sounds very prohibitive, > especially if there are no builders to turn to for this kind of > repair. Conventional homes would not be a problem, except for the expense I have done some maintenance work on cob structures (belonging to Cob Cottage Company and others, I can't really call what I do on my buildings maintenance, since they aren't finished yet), and spent some time examining the buildings inside and out to see where and how the buildings have deteriorated over the years. In my (rather limited) experience, properly designed and built cob structures have no significant maintenance requirements over a period of six or seven years. The most significant problems observed were errosion near the base of the exterior wall (due to splash from rain fall hitting small bushes growing near the base of the wall), and a small area of one wall that was constantly damp due to moisture from the ground. These were in the first two structures Cob Cottage built, and merely confirmed the wisdom of: "broad hat and a good pair of boots" (or however the phrase went). A higher foundation in both cases and wider roof in one of them would have eliminated the problems, and neither had actually caused significant problems at the time I examined them, though in time the rain splash problem will definitely need a layer of cob plaster. The actual maintenance that did need to be done (which I was involved in) included: resealing/waxing the cob floors, patching cracks in the cob due to settling and shrinkage during the first few months after the structure was built, repair of plaster in heavy traffic areas, etc. > of hiring workers. But in cob, where would you find people to help if you > get old? If you built the house yourself then you have all the knowledge necessary to maintain it, so if you are no longer physically able to do the work, you should be able to hire anyone capable of physical labor (high school students during summer vacation are generally very reasonably priced) to do the work, and instruct/supervise them in the repairs. About the "if you get old?" part of your question, was there an alternative choice someone neglected to inform me of? :-) Shannon C. Dealy | DeaTech Research Inc. dealy at deatech.com | - Custom Software Development - | Embedded Systems, Real-time, Device Drivers Phone: (800) 467-5820 | Networking, Scientific & Engineering Applications or: (541) 451-5177 | www.deatech.com
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