The Characteristics and Advantages of a Cob House

Some of the top reasons to consider building a cob house.

cob house

Building a Cob House is a wonderful alternative to common modern day building methods, and it’s all natural too. If you really want to up your eco credentials, then cob could be the way forward.

Characteristics of a Cob House

Size

There’s no use getting set on the idea of living in a cob house and being disappointed when you find yourself without a games room, indoor pool, and a second kitchen. A cob house is all about efficiency, and the effort it takes to build one means that making one too big would simply take too much time and too much effort. These houses tend to be small and based around needs rather than wants.

Resources

A cob house will usually be built of the resources found on and in the land around it. Local timber, sand, gravel, stones, and almost anything else can be incorporated to keep transport costs to you and the environment down.

Aesthetic

One of the main attractions of a cob house is the natural, romantic look of it. Cob lends itself to creative design, as it can be moulded to nearly any shape. Imaginations can run wild, and in the end the structure will not only be a home but a work of art too.

Nature

The main components of a cob mix are entirely natural, meaning that your carbon footprint will be exceptionally low in comparison to that of someone building a common house. The main components are clay, sand, and straw. Almost every part of a cob house will be natural, avoiding the use of any pollutants or environmentally unfriendly production techniques.

Community

It is often the case that building of a cob house will involve not only the intended dwellers but their friends and neighbours too. Construction is hard work, but is also very satisfying and can be helped with by all, including young children. Cob building is a great social activity, and will bring a community together.

Standards

A cob house will be a very high standard home. It is a common misconception that cob houses are simply huts made of mud, but cob really makes a fantastic building material.

Advantages of a Cob House

 Energy Efficiency

Cob has a wonderful thermal mass, absorbing the sun’s heat to keep it warm throughout the day. A cob house will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, without the need for environmentally unfriendly heating and cooling methods.

Cost

The three primary materials for a cob house (clay, sand, and straw) are easily accessible and also quite cheap. To keep costs even lower, you can easily salvage doors and windows of any shapes and sizes to save having to buy or make new ones. You will most likely be able to build a cob home without having to take out any kind of loan as they are so cost effective to build.

Handmade

There is nothing more satisfying than completing a creative project yourself, and with a cob house you will undoubtedly have a hand in the building process. You don’t need professional training and should be equipped with the necessary skills with a bit of research or a short course.

Healthy

Cob houses are free of pollutant materials which can often aggravate sufferers of conditions such as asthma. Cob “breathes” through tiny pores, keeping the air inside the house fresh and clean. Sufferers of allergies could greatly benefit from living in a cob house.

Strong

Cob houses are very strong, contradictory to what is commonly believed. The straw which forms part of the cob mix is used as a natural re-bar to hold the structure together as one piece. This makes cob very solid, and cob homes can last for longer than wooden structures.

Privacy

The acoustic insulation of cob is brilliant, and will keep both your sound in and outside noise out. It will keep noises from separate rooms from flowing to different areas, too.

Fire Proof

One of the major benefits of cob for house building is that it is entirely fireproof. Unlike a timber house, a cob house won’t burn to the ground. However, it is important to be aware that the roofing material you choose may well be flammable, especially if you opt for a straw or wooden material. To keep the house as fire proof as possible, think about using natural slate sourced from the local area or reclaimed slates and tiles from other houses which have been torn down or are undergoing refurbishment.

Image: Benjahdrum

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