Dry-stone foundation walls for a house

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Dry-stone foundation walls for a house

Postby Alexine » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:35 am

Hello :D ,

We want to build a house on dry-stone foundation walls (basement walls) or possibly wet-stone using lime/earth to avoid use of concrete.

Does any-one have any knowledge or any experience in this area or know of someone who does?

We have experience with building earth retaining walls (30 metres of dry-stone earth retaining walls 1-3 metres high, 1-1.5m width), using boulders and stone all found on site (hand and machine worked) and are familiar with the structural principles.

However we don't have any experience of loadbearing dry-stone walls and can't seem to find a civil engineer who is willing to approve our project for us over here (Switzerland), they say they don't have the know-how.

Obviously another issue is moisture. One idea is that providing sufficient drainage gravel behind all the walls will keep moisture away. But the basement is big and should be used for storage. So we need to consider alternatives, e.g. a capillary break or waterproof membrane.

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Re: Dry-stone foundation walls for a house

Postby GregLee » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:19 am

Hi Alexine, I would have thought stone walls for a basement would be best built with mortar, but I'm sure in historical times drystone was often used for basements. I'm not surprised you are having problems with engineers, here in Australia engineers only want foundations to be built with cement, they have no idea about using stone. If they can't look it up in their book of tables they don't know what to do. I'm not a professional but I recently built a stone cellar with mortar, sideways pressure from the soil is important so the walls need to be very strong.
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