We have been busting hump all month, but we are finally making some headway on mudding the walls. It is a messy process, and a bit back breaking at times. We have been having to bust the frozen mud with a spliting maul just to be able to use it and let it thaw in buckets in the house over night. After about 40 gallons of mud, you are wooped for the day.
We have finished the first application of mud on the first story, and are ready to move upstairs to work on mudding the walls.
We have a long way to go, but the mud covering has made a tremendous difference on heating the house.
In the first application of mud, cracks form on the surface, but they are superficial cracks, and mostly formed around the chicken wire were the mud dries and shrinks. The second coat will not have the cracks in the mud.
We debated, in the beggining, about using chicken wire in the first place, since the straw formes an adhesive surface which is kin to cob, but we decided that the wire would only make the structure more sound, just as rebar makes concrete more stable.
Our first application of mud is a heavy clay soil mixed with water and lime. The second layer will be the same mixture with a scoop of type N cement added. The reason for the type N cement is not only for plyability, but also adhesion and dust control. If we find that the 2 coats is not to the standard of thickness that we desire, then we will apply a third coat of the type N mixture. We don't want too much cement added to the soil, so that the walls breath well, but we want enough to make a strong mud similar to gypsum. The outside mucrete application will contain 2 scoops of cement to our mud mixture, because we found that that ratio holds up to the weather the best for our area, without preventing the walls from breathing.
Here was our mucrete ratios:
Inside walls, 1st coat : 5 gallons of screened clay rich soil
Inside walls, 2nd coat & 3rd coat : 5 gallons of screened clay rich soil
Outside walls, 1st & second coat: 5 gallons of screened clay rich soil
If you want, you can also add things to your mud, such as:
For adheasion- Wheat flour
Cow or horse manure
For tencile strength- 1-2 inch trimmings of hair or fibers
For mold prevention and fire retardent- borax
For dust prevention- Wheat flour
You have to play around with different mixtures and place them on a test surface to see what will work best for you. The more clay in your soil, the better. If your soil is predominantly pure clay and difficult to use, go with a ratio of: 2 shovels of clay
2 shovels of soil
1 shovel of fine screened sand
5-6 cups of lime
and try this as your base coat for your recipes above. If you don't have enough clay in your soil, you can always add clay until you find a perfect ratio for your useage. A good mud/cob base will be thick and sticky like a combination of peanutbutter and chocolate pudding. Your thickness in texture will vary based on application of useage. We make the mud thicker for usage on the ceiling, and thinner for on the walls. We add plant fibers or straw to mud made thick enough to roll into a ball, for useage of filling large cracks and holes in the straw joints, before slathering the straw over with the mud. This application useage is actually called cob. You can make bricks out of this cob, by compacting the cob in a wooden mold and laying the cob bricks to dry completely in a dry place with plenty of sun.
Getting your hands in the mud and just playing with it, will give you an idea of the texture you are looking for.
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