What is a cob?
Cob, cobb or clom is a natural building materiel made from sand, clay, water and some kind of fibrous or organic materiel (such as straw, hemp) and earth. Cob is fireproof, resistant to seismic activity and inexpensive to build.
Why build a cob?
About 30 percent of the world’s population lives in earthen homes. This is nothing new to the world, but cob is offering new advantages and opportunities to the developed world. Building with earth and other natural materials is becoming a solution to our world’s energy and consumption problems. Cob is dirt cheap, sustainable as a building material, and ecologically friendly.
Also you can build with your cob house, a wood fired oven, a bench, a garden wall, build in couches, staircases, wall units, storage be very creative with original sculptured walls ,and artistic forms. There no limits with your imagination.
When you have viewed or stayed in a cob dwelling a particular feeling overcomes you.. something familiar, a soul thing. Like you've been here before?
INEXPENSIVE TO BUILD?
Two things 1) Mortgage free 2) Debt free The primary materials for cob are: clay, sand, and straw. These are very easily accessible and cheap resources to acquire. Other parts like windows and doors can also be salvaged or purchased as used from restoration depots or dumps. Recycling and being resourceful is the key.
We have built a livable cob dwelling for a little more than $100. You can build a good quality cob home for as little a few thousand bucks, yep that's right. It really depends on what you want your cob home to be and the resources that you can acquire either for free or next to nothing. People usually don't mind helping people who help themselves, mostly people are interested in what you are building.
It's not about capital gains and all that kind of consuming thing. It's about being self sustaining, healthy and naturally free of debt of any kind.
I DID IT MYSELF!
It is very rewarding to be able to build your home with your own two hands. Cob homes can usually be built by yourself and your partner. You don'tneed to be a structural engineer nor hold an architectural degree to build your own cob. Many people build their own homes after taking one of our 9 day long kiwi cob building workshops.
STAND THE TEST OF TIME?
Build a cob home for your family and it will last for many many generations to come. The straw, which is part of the cob mix, acts like a natural re-bar to hold the whole structure together as one piece. This makes cob homes extremely solid and resistant to our harsh climate and earthquakes. Many cob homes have lasted for several hundred years with minimal upkeep, whereas conventional wooden structured homes have long gone, these days only lasting a couple of decades.
Cob is a “thermal mass” that absorbs sunlight and warms the building over the course of the day. This is called passive solar heating, and it will keep the inside of the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In our southern hemisphere we recommend you generally face your dwelling to the north., but hey you can add on a winter light window or bottle windows with very little effort.
Also with incorporating renewable energy such as home build wind generators, solar lighting, hydro systems you will not have to worry about a $320 per month power again to keep your family warm!
YOUR FAMILY'S HEALTH!
The average conventional industrial built homes are full of indoor air pollutants and off-gassing of toxic chemicals contained in the building materials. Cob homes do not have this problem. In fact, a cob actually “breathes” through its tiny pores and keeps air fresh and clear.
If you suffer from indoor allergies then living in a cob house could significantly improve your quality of life by eliminating the toxins that may cause them. A cob home is built almost entirely with natural, clean materials that you have sourced yourself.
And keeping in mind the process of building a cob home is a family affair, kids love helping mum and dad, being outside harmonizing with nature. Tucking into a good wholesome meal at the end of a cob building day.. Nothing like it.
bUGS N CRITTERS?
Besides a wayward possum that takes a liking to your turf roof, cob homes not seem to attract the usual bugs n critters you would get in a conventional home? Since cob is a mixture of soil, aggregate sand, and straw it doesn't seem to be so not attractive to them? Choice.. Adding to that cob homes have not been known to become burrowing/nesting grounds for insects or animals either.
Earthen walls have very good sound-absorbing properties that keep it quiet inside, both from exterior noises and noise generated in the same building and of course industrially carried noise. You can heard, you can hear properly, you don't have to shout to speak. You breathe efficiently.
Cob does not catch fire. However, please still be aware of your ceiling or roof, as it might not be flame resistant like the body of the cob home.