Seven Benefits of Using Stone for Construction
A lot of advantages can be gained by building with stone. According to the writers, here are seven.
After eight years of living in our $2,000, self-built stone house in southern Idaho, Sharon and I question if we would still build our home with natural stone if we were forced to start construction all over again.
As a result, the owner-builder can now choose from a wide range of low-cost housing options, including log, cordwood, wood frame, pole, adobe, and earth-sheltered buildings…. The list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
Although it is ludicrous to claim that any building material or structure is “optimal” for everyone in every situation, each one has its own unique advantages. The fact remains that a custom-built home constructed from any other material has less to recommend it than a residence built by the homeowner from stone – called “plain old rocks.” To explain, here are the reasons:
There are Fist Numerous Reasons for This.
Anywhere you look, you’ll find good building stone that’s usually free to gather. A single field a mile from our construction site yielded 18 pickup loads of free rocks that we used to build our 1,100-square-foot home.
In the words of the landowner, “all those blankety-blank, machinery-bustin’ boulders” had been removed from his farm. Many ranchers, farmers, and landowners face similar challenges across the country.
Taking stones from public lands for free is another option. Rock foraging isn’t a regular practise yet, so it’s important to check with your local authorities before going out and gathering. Commercial rock quarries may also allow you to hand-pick affordable stones from their massive rubble mounds. For a small fee, they may even bring the material to your location.
Naturally, if you’re fortunate (or clever) enough to own a piece of “worthless,” rocky earth, your own property could be the best source of building stone.
Concrete, sand and gravel, and possibly steel reinforcement are all you’ll need besides the stone itself. Even if cement and rebar prices have gone up, it is still possible to put up some pretty great stone dividers for a very reasonable price. Our 8′ X 28′ X 45′ walls were put up for only $250 in 1973.
The Second Reason
Contrary to popular assumption, building with stone is not difficult at all. No longer is it necessary for a stonemason to have years of expertise before claiming mastery of his or her craft by using one of various modern ways for creating the stone.
The Owner-Guide Builder’s to Stone Masonry by Ken Kern, Steve Magers, and Lou Penfield ($11.95) is a great resource for learning about the best techniques for stone masonry.
Before you pick up your first rock, we strongly urge that you read this book. Other publications of interest to amateur stonemasons are Curtis P. Fields’ The Forgotten Art of Building a Stone Wall ($93.95) and Karl and Sue Schwenke’s Build Your Own Stone House ($5.95).
We can only note that all the rocks used in our 10-inch-thick walls were approximately football size and weight no more than the timbers normally used in wood-frame building in response to the common objection that stone is unacceptably heavy to work with. (You could, if desired, build thicker walls with heavier and denser stones.)
Finally, the construction of a stone house is quick. Our walls were up in only eight weeks, and we were able to move into our new home in just five months, with all of the work done by Sharon and I and our two daughters (who were then 9 and 11 years old).
For the Third and Last Time
Stone is resistant to fire, insects and vermin, and decay. Buildings made of logs or wood frame tend to fall apart after 50 years or so, whereas stone ones that are well-built can last for centuries. Your great-grandchildren might still be living in your stone house… which would undoubtedly conserve precious building materials for others.)
A stone home is not likely to be destroyed by fire, but even if the structure’s wood-framed interior were destroyed by flames, the stone shell could probably be rebuilt.
As a result, you can enjoy the peace and quiet of your nearly impregnable stone walls even decades after your neighbours have succumbed to the relentless gnawers, borers, and decomposers that assault timber structures..
For the Fourth Time,
Stone is both beautiful and low-maintenance. There are so many different types of natural stone to choose from that the final look of a rock house is limited only by the builder’s imagination, bravery and systematic labour.
While our home was built simply to save money, time, and labour, we’ve seen countless castles adorned with intricate stonework around the country.
Once your stone house is built, you won’t have to worry about repainting, installing pricey siding, repairing weather-warped boards, or filling in woodpecker holes because you’ll be “rock living.” Every year, it’s the same stunning stone with a different array of hues.
This is the Fifth Reason
Stone is an excellent insulator, and it may be used in a variety of ways. Many people are wary of dense stone because of its poor reputation as an insulator in today’s energy-constrained world. Rock walls, on the other hand, can assist keep you warm in cool evenings, at least in temperate areas.
They gently warm up over the day and transmit warmth. The structure’s interior will remain cool for the rest of the day thanks to the building’s night-chilled walls.
Insulation is essential in extreme heat or cold, but such weatherproofing would be required in a house built with any wall material. And you can be sure that no stray draught will get through that foot-thick block of stone and concrete provided you thoroughly seal all cracks around doors and windows!
It’s the Sixth Reason.
The use of stone is generally accepted. With a lengthy history and a proven track record, stone buildings are often held in high regard, which is not always the case for more unconventional forms of housing.
We’d be the last to recommend following the rules when looking for a property in order to escape some racist criticism, but social acceptance has some real advantages on a personal, practical, and economic level. Specifically, the ease with which you’ll be able to gain municipal code clearance to build your house!
Seventh and Final Justification
The resale value of a stone house might be significant. You may never want to part with that pile of rocks you’ve worked so hard to convert into your own particular home when you’ve finished building it up. However, one’s aims and circumstances change with time, and if you do decide to sell, you could get a good price for your stone hideaway if you chose to do so later.
This rarity is a significant market item, and well-built stone structures are stunning and long-lasting, as previously said. A rock home, on the other hand, would probably fetch top cash on the market, despite the fact that they can be built for next to nothing (as house prices presently go).
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Were we ever going to use stone again in the construction of new buildings? We’d have to say yes, given the above benefits, the same hilltop building site, and funds that are on par with what we had eight years ago (extremely low).
Yes, there are a few things we’d modify. Because the home would be on the south slope and clear of the north wind, it would be possible to install a gravity-flow irrigation system.
Perhaps some of the solar-heating technology that has been developed in the last several years could be used. We’d also take a different tack on a few minor technical issues. Natural stone, on the other hand, remains our unwavering (and fervent) preference.
Watch your step on your next rural walk if you’re planning to create using this free-of-charge stuff. There is a good chance that you will stumble across a piece of your future home.