Posts Tagged ‘decking’

What’s new with the cob house this month?  Lots of things!


As my belly grows larger each week, physical labor becomes more difficult and complicated for me.  I’ve been very lucky lately to have a lot of help from my friends, who’ve done most of the work on the house, in exchange for a meal, and my company….


Greg and Jeremy worked on dry stacking some urbanite steps, so I no longer had to use a five gallon bucket as the first step up to the second floor.  I’ve had some really big pieces of urbanite left in the pile that were way too large to use in the foundation, as well as just much too heavy for me to ever move.  Here’s Greg and Jeremy transforming those chunks of urbanite into my new set of stairs…

Mike and Greg came out on another weekend to help pour the subfloor in the first story.  The mix was 3 buckets of sand, 3 buckets of screenings, and 1/2 bucket of soaked clay.  Its amazing that such a small amount of clay can bind all that aggregate!


The work on the subfloor went pretty fast, so Greg and Mike decided to make an urbanite patio outside the entrance.  Greg started digging while Mike collected rubble for drainage.

Greg found access to my rubble trench, and some perforated drainpipe was laid in the drainage layer of the patio so that it empties directly into the trench.

found the rubble trench!

filling with rubble


and then a layer of screenings...

laying "stones"

the finished patio!


You may have noticed the freshly plastered interior walls in some of the above  pictures.  One weekend we had a work party to plaster the first story interior walls.  Greg and I, as well as our friends Ash, Giovanna, and Kristy, worked together plastering all the oddly shaped surfaces.  Between the bookshelves, niches, window reveals, floor joists, etc, there were a lot of awkward spaces to plaster.  But it was a lot of fun, and so satisfying to see the room transformed by the smooth, smooth plaster.  We used a beautiful yellow-brown clay that we found here on our land, and I really love the color.  I must have been too excited about plastering, because I forgot to take any pictures that day!  But here’s some before pictures:


some niches I carved...



And the room post-plaster:

Yesterday Greg and Dan came out, and they worked on decking the roof for the outdoor bed.  The poor tulip poplar rafters have been naked and exposed to the elements since last summer.  But not anymore!  Greg and Dan used the rest of the pile of decking I had left over from the main roof, and there ended up being just enough to finish the job.

I’m thinking of trying an experimental “earthen roof”, involving  my pond liner scraps and a final layer of lime and tiles, but I’ll write more about that later.  And, as soon as the subfloor dries, we’ll be pouring the finish floor layer, sealing that with linseed oil and beeswax, and then I’ll finally be able to  inhabit the entire cob house!



Read Full Post »

About a month into the construction of the roof, it’s still not complete… but it’s coming along, and looking awesome.  I’ve been frustrated lately with how little time I’ve been able to spend working on the house.  I’ve been out of town a lot, first for Thanksgiving, and then to attend a cheesemaking course at a nearby university.  While out of town my laptop (among other things) was stolen, which means I’ve lost thousands of photos, including the vast majority of the photos from this building project.  And then I came down with strep throat…and jury duty.  Day after day of jury duty, which still isn’t over…and as I sit in deliberation with eleven other people in an overheated room, my EPDM pond liner sits patiently on a pallet by the cob house. 

All my complaints aside, a lot of work on the roof has happened, mostly due to my friends Greg and Steve.  I’m forever indebted to them both, because they’ve each spent a lot of time here lately, working on giving my house a sexy, sexy hat. 

The first step, after raising the ridge beam, was placing all the roundwood rafters.  They’re all tulip poplar, harvested from our woods, and each one was notched by Greg where it attached to the ridge beam.  They’re long enough for a 2.5 to 3 foot overhang, except on the west side of the house where there’s a 4 1/2 foot overhang! 

Once all the rafters were in place, we started with the decking.  The sawmill cut some 3/8″ by 10″ boards for us, which are thin enough to bend a little with the curves of the roofline.  The decking is attached directly to the rafters, and will be exposed in the interior of the house, as the ceiling in the second story.  Each piece of decking had to be custom cut, and we spent a lot of time making trapezoids.

The next job was attaching all the fascia, which are the boards that’ll hold in all the soil for the living roof.  We used pine and cedar milling scraps that were flat on one side and rounded on the other.  The boards varied a lot in shape, width, and thickness, which made it really fun for Greg as he custom cut each piece.   

fascia and 4.5' overhang

After all the decking and fascia were up, Steve put a layer of rigid blue foam insulation over the decking.  They’re scrap pieces from the Habitat work site dumpster, all odd shapes and sizes, pieced together with duct tape into a strangely beautiful blue board quilt.  I’m totally bummed that I lost all my pictures of this part of the project…  But I do have some pictures of the way Steve got the blue board up onto the roof, which was by throwing each piece as if it were a frisbee…

I had an old pool liner that I got for free, but it came with its fair share of teeny pinholes.  So I broke down and bought a new EPDM pond liner, which cost me $400!  Eeek!  We put the used pool liner over the blue board layer, mainly to keep the insulation from blowing away until we can get the EPDM up onto the roof.  The pond liner weighs between 250 and 300 pounds, so it’ll take the effort of a few people to get it up the scaffolding and onto the roof.  Hopefully that’ll happen sometime in the next few days!

Read Full Post »