DIY



Seven Reasons to Prefer Building With Stone

Building with stone offers a number of advantages. Here are seven, according to the authors.

| November/December 1981

After spending eight years in our $2,000, self-built stone house in southern Idaho, Sharon and I sometimes wonder whether—were we somehow forced to start construction all over again—we would still build our home with natural stone. After all, the owner-builder can now select from many intriguing low cost shelter possibilities including log, cordwood, wood frame, pole, adobe, and earth-sheltered homes ... plus yurts, domes, tipis, houseboats, and an endless variety of innovative salvage-material structures.

Of course, it would be absurd to suggest that any building material or type of structure is "best" for all people under every circumstance, and certainly each one has its own outstanding advantages. Still, we can't help concluding that building with stone— aka "plain old rocks"—has more to recommend it for more people in more building situations than does an owner-built home made with any other material. Here's why:

Reason Number One

Good building stone can be found most anywhere, usually free for the gathering. We built our 1,100-square-foot home with 18 pickup loads of free boulders, most of which were gathered from a single field about a mile from our construction site. The rancher who owned the land was delighted to have his field cleared of "all them blankety-blank, machinery-bustin' rocks." Similar rancher/farmer/ landowner situations exist all over the country.

Collecting stones—for free—from public lands is also a possibility. However, since "rock foraging" isn't currently a common practice, regulations governing such activity are usually vague or nonexistent, so be sure to inquire locally before gathering. Some commercial rock quarries, too, will allow you to hand pick inexpensive stones from their huge rubble piles ... or will even haul the material to your site for a reasonable price!

Of course, the best source of building stone could be your own property if you're lucky (or smart) enough to own a piece of "worthless," rocky ground.

Besides the stone itself, you'll need only cement, sand, and gravel, plus maybe some steel reinforcement for corners and lintels. Our own home's 8' X 28' X 45' walls went up for only $250 in 1973, and—though cement and rebar prices have increased substantially since then—it's still possible to put up some really super stone walls for very little money.

www.EasyWoodwork.org
5/14/2018 10:44:54 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)


TobiasMalik
2/27/2018 8:50:58 AM

Hi Rosefolly, there are stone houses in very high seismic areas of which have literally withstood hundreds of years of earthquakes. It's all about the technique. Stone houses can and have been safely built in earthquake prone areas. Traditional stone masons who knew how often used timber confining elements and bands to give ductility to a building. The modern way of doing this is called "confined masonry." There are UN publications on building earthquake resistant stone houses in places like Nepal, Pakistan, and Northern India. You can find them free on the web in PDF. The same methods are often used in South America to build earthquake resistant brick houses as well.


TobiasMalik
2/27/2018 8:50:12 AM

Hi Rosefolly, there are stone houses in very high seismic areas of which have literally withstood hundreds of years of earthquakes. It's all about the technique. Stone houses can and have been safely built in earthquake prone areas. Traditional stone masons who knew how often used timber confining elements and bands to give ductility to a building. The modern way of doing this is called "confined masonry." There are UN publications on building earthquake resistant stone houses in places like Nepal, Pakistan, and Northern India. You can find them free on the web in PDF. The same methods are often used in South America to build earthquake resistant brick houses as well.





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