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[Cob] RE: Foundations for stoves and interior cob wallsBarbara Roemer roemiller at infostations.net
Mon Mar 20 09:18:07 PST 2006
Anna wrote: A question about stove and interior cob wall foundations. We are doing the formwork for our cob/strawbale house concrete bond beam at present (thanks to living in an earthquake zone). The plans specify the same 2-3' wide, 8' deep footing for an interior cob wall and masonry/woodstove stove as for the main outside walls. This is a lot more cement and feels like overkill to us. However, if we do a stone or urbanite foundation starting higher up, above the waterproofing barrier, it will be on a lot of infill earth. Well-tamped, but it might settle over the years. Where are you, Anna? What is your seismic zone? We are in zone 3 backed up to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, west of Lake Tahoe. We have no frost line (that is, frost doesn't penetrate even 1"), but we and the Building Dept take our seismic zone rating very seriously. Since it's generally counter productive to put steel in cob, where you have thick interior walls, they'll need a broad foundation, and on disturbed soil, even with well compacted soil, you'd probably be well-advised to go deeper than normal. How about considering a light straw clay partition wall so you don't have the weight? You can vary the straw clay mix some so that it's more dense and less insulative, but of course no where near as dense as cob, and only 9-12" thick. If you're using your cob wall as distributed thermal mass, you might do your energy calcs just based on your floor mass and the masonry heater, increase your solar collection, and come out with plenty of solar heat. The masonry heater itself will require significant foundations. Here, on undisturbed soil, it's at least 18" thick plus a foot in either dimension larger than the heater footprint, and including plenty of steel (set out by code). We will use a masonry, refractory core and throat of the chimney for our heater, but the rest of it will be rammed earth block for less embodied energy. If you are anywhere nearby, email me for details about an August workshop in same. If you are anywhere near Virginia, you might enquire about the April Masonry heater Assn annual meeting at which rammed earth block heater building will be taught. Barbara
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