Self-Reliance Handbook/Rock Construction

Rock Construction

This construction method can be used to create a long-term home. The practice differs from creating a brick homes in that the rock is not going to be a standard size and shape. Care needs to be taken to create the best fit possible especially in the outside facing portion on the wall. Standard clay mortar can be used and when possible shaping of the stones should be attempted. This method is anything but fast but is unrivaled in permanence if done correctly. Even the floor can be of flat stones especially if you have a stream nearby. If water has run over the stone for any length of time the stone will be very smooth.

Depending on the size of the stone you have available to you methods can vary. If you have large stone one wall is sufficient. If the stone is smaller you may need to build and outside and inside wall and as you build them fill them with rounder stones and mortar. The more the temperature varies from room temperature the thicker the walls need to be.

Using large rock can increase the thermal mass of the wall. However in cold climates the greatest concern would be the ceiling and roof. This is not an improvised shelter. While the home can be built for next to nothing, best construction methods will require a good set of tools for working the rock. You can get away with only one or two hand tools if you would like and this can even be done with no tools but it increases your need for planning and careful selection for stone placement.

A good combination of clay soil and some type of dried grass can make a great mortar. This may sound like a poor quality home for people living in "modern housing" but don't be fooled. If built as to keep water away from the home especially these homes can last hundreds of years.

Structurally, this type of home can be extremely resilient to bad weather and debris hitting the home. The outside walls on these homes are very thick. If you have the time this home can be built for almost no out of pocket expense and can be fitted at some expense with any modern convenience.