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Questions and Answers about the Kensington Kids Cottage

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 8 months ago

Some questions and answers about the Kids Cottage construction



*How deep is your frost line in Detroit? This would be helpful in understanding why your "frost-protected shallow foundation" is a cement-saving option.


*How is the floor finished?


*What did you use the prickly pear cactus in? Plasters?


*How is the building going to make it through the winter without a roof?



Frostline 42". The perimeter trench was 24 inches deep and had 2 inches of blue foam board on the exterior from 6 inches above grade down the 24 inches below grade. In the center, where the interior space of the floor will be, the top soil was dug out just until we reached the subsoil, which was about 9 inches or so down from grade. A bubble sheet of insulation was laid over the entire floor area out to the perimeter insulation, and that bubble sheet was tied UP (with metal wires) to a 6 inch metal grid onto which the pex tubes were attached to hold them in place in the floor. The cement truck came in and poured cement into the 24 inch trenches and then over the floor area, burying the pex tubes, metal grid and bubble insulation under several inches of cement. (I don't have the drawings with me to tell you exactly how many inches down the tubes were.) There was a design scribed into the cement after it had been poured: irregular triangles and geometric shapes suggestive of flagstone. The floor will be stained a color at a later date. > We experimented with putting the fermented prickly pear juice (an incredibly SLIMMY, pig-poop-stinky substance) in a number of compressed earth blocks and talked about its use in the finish plasters, but the viability of the juice did not fit into our construction timeline and we were not able to test or use it to the extent which we had hoped. > > The roof was covered with 2 very large tarps which extended out several feet over the building ....down and out at an angle, supported by angled 2X4's every few feet. This worked well for the summer to protect the building. Where the tarps wrapped AROUND the roof frame and back towards the building, we found that the rain followed the plastic and would shoot INTO the building. Rather amazing actually. > As time went on through September the tarps started leaking in a variety of places from the top and the wind whipped and ripped the sides of the plastic that were angled out from the building. The Metropark Farm had the roof SHRINK WRAPPED (! )in early November, and I think that will do fine until we begin to thatch in the spring. Our only concern is that the rain follows the tarp horizontally back toward the building (as before) and we are adjusting the plastic so that it goes UPWARD toward the building, so that the drip edge, the lowest edge will be out at the eaves and away from the walls.


This is a Note from Michael Smith, co-author of the "Hand-Sculpted House" and other books, and editor of the Cob Web, a Newsletter on Cob (earthen building) and other related topics.


Hi Deanne- I've been preparing the CobWeb and had a few questions about your article (above).

Thanks so much for writing the article, and for doing all the work to make the project happen. It is very inspirational to have such a great example in such a public place. Are you going to be doing any workshops as part of the roof-thatching process? peace, Michael

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