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Building Materials: Cob

Article: how and why cob is used as a building material.

Cob is a construction material that is made of completely naturally occurring material such as sand, clay, earth, water, and straw. It is entirely fireproof and capable of resisting earthquakes.

Reconstructing an old Cob building

Using Cob in construction

The usage of Cob dates back to prehistoric times—the earliest recorded usage being as old as the 11th century. The traditional English way to make Cob is to mix clay soil with straw, sand and water by trampling it.

Why use cob?

  • Commonly occurring material
  • Resists seismic activity
  • Cheap
  • Sturdy
  • Dries in sunlight
  • Mud and cob walls
  • Cover for wood beams
  • Perimeters

How is cob used in building?

Once they are ladled onto stone foundations or trodden on walls, they are left to dry, after which the wall is trimmed before the next course is applied. Lintels and wooden frames are kept for doors and windows in place.

Present-day experimentations have led to the rise of Balecob – with is regular cob with straw bale thrown in. These cob structures are used in aesthetical buildings made more for their natural detail than their sturdiness. In Wales, Cob is better known as Clom.

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This entry was posted on May 13, 2013 by in construction and tagged , , , , .

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