How To: Build a Cob House for $3000

How To: Build a Cob House for $3000

Cambria Bold
Aug 25, 2009

Blood, sweat and tears. That's what we imagine it probably takes to build a Cob House (made of clay, sand and straw). But Brian — aka Ziggy — did just that: he built his own Cob House from scratch and moved into it this past July. What did it take to do it? Nine months, 219 batches of cob, 75 work exchangers, visitors and friends, and about $3000 for all the building materials...

As Ziggy says:

With $3000 for supplies and nine months of full time labor, I was able to build GOBCOBATRON, a small cob house with interior dimensions of roughly 15′x13′, and a footprint of (again, roughly) 20′x18′. Practically all of the labor was completed by hand (and foot!), including making and applying all of the cob.

Ziggy broke down his expenses as follows:

• sand (just over 30 tons total) – $507
• gravel (about 13 tons total) – $177
• straw (16 bales) – $36 (most straw I used was free)rrday-lift01
• black walnut scrap lumber – $100
• misc. lumber – $20
• windows – $220 (two casement, one double hung window)
• electrical – $28
• galvanized wire – $30
• nails – $100 (I couldn't believe how expensive nails are)
• raw linseed oil (for floor) – $72
• EPDM pond liner $622
• polycarbonate for skylight $400

and for the rocket stove:

• firebricks – $70
• flue pipe – $228

Materials not listed he obtained for free.

He chronicles the experience of building the cob house on his blog The Year of Mud — a wealth of information on how the whole process works should you be interested in undertaking a cob house of your own!

Images via The Year of Mud and Flickr member Ziggy Fresh licensed under Creative Commons.

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