Foundations for Natural Material Houses
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The foundation of a home is by far the most important part of the home and it pays to do it right the first time. Now what makes a good foundation is always up for debate and can change with the type of house you will choose to build. I will not try to tell you how to build a good foundation because frankly I am not qualified to do such a things. I will only attempt to provide you with some ideas of what you should be looking for in a good foundation for earthen construction or straw bales.
Moisture is going to be the the number 1 enemy you have to your new house like it is with any modern building material. It is very important to keep water out of your walls to prevent rot, mold growth and other issues. Moisture is mainly kept out through a good roof overhang and having a good plaster coating or other waterproof siding on your house. In most cases the foundation must be tall enough that it keeps the bottom of the walls out of the moisture that might splash up from the ground. It also needs to be made up of something that doesn’t allow moisture to wick up and get into the walls from the bottom.
Some of the materials you could build it with include natural stone with mortar, crushed gravel in super adobe bags, or post and beam foundation. All of these in theory could be a suitable foundation option for building natural techniques like cob, adobe or straw bales.
Width and Strength
When you building with bales you need to keep in mind the overall weight of the system. Bales while a great wall building method are much heavier than your standard stick built home and you need to have a foundation to match.
Sources:By Gabriel Anast from Gallup, US (Tube walls) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons