[intro]With the today’s interest in sustainability and eco-friendly housing, cob houses have enjoyed something of a revival of late. Not that they every really went out of fashion. The use of cob as a building material has been dated back to prehistoric times, with cob houses here in the UK dating back as early as the 14th and 15th centuries and still inhabited today. So what exactly is a cob house? [/intro]
What is a Cob House?
Put simply a cob house is a home constructed of ‘cob’ – a thick insulating filler, sometimes used between a post and beam construction. The recipe for the perfect ‘cob’, otherwise known as organic aggregate, differs between the builder and the soil in the region in which the house is built. Basically cob is achieved by combining water, subsoil and a fibrous addition such as straw or sometimes lime. This mixture can then be modified by the builder with added ingredients such as sand or clay.
Cob Houses; a labour of love
Because of the aesthetic nature of cob houses, they are known for their artistry and the sculptural nature many of them adopt. They genuinely are a labour of love and can quite literally be whatever you make them. Known as a breathable construction many owners/builders speak of them like living things, which given the love and passion that is poured into them, is understandable. They do require a fair degree of maintenance and TLC, but looked after they can easily weather the test of time.
The many advantages to Cob Houses
Cob houses are the ‘marmite’ in the construction world; you either love them or hate them, but if you love them the advantages are many!
- Cob houses are fireproof
- Cob houses are resistant to seismic activity
- Cob is a very inexpensive building material
- The walls of cob houses are approximately 24 inches thick! This makes them fantastic insulators keeping your home warm in winter and cool in the summer
- Cob houses are very comfortable to live in, with excellent thermal properties
- Cob houses are eco-friendly and sustainable
- No two look the same and they are all beautiful!
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Are Cob Houses made of cow poo?
No! This is a common misconception; cob houses are most certainly not made out of manure. They are in fact an ancient art and not to be confused with some form of primitive mud hut!
Not all Cob Houses are hobbit houses…
Yes, many famous cob houses do look very much like hobbit houses. It this artistic quirkiness that appeals of many owners/builders. However, cob, also known as raw (unfired) earth construction has proved so effective as a building material throughout history, that many cob houses today fetch large sums of money. In an article in the Telegraph on the advantages of cob houses, they featured examples on the market that that time, which included; a five-bedroom cob farmhouse priced at £850,000, a former cob-built rectory listed at £2.25m and a four-bedroom cob house with single-storey annex priced at £500,000.
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[intro]How to you insure a Cob House?
To insure a cob house you need a specialist insurer. Despite their impressive historical credence as a perfect building material, cob houses are classed as non-standard builds by conventional insurers. At Highworth Insurance we specialize in insuring non standard buildings. We understand the advantages, the risks and the passion many home owners hold for such homes and can help you find the right level of cover at competitive prices. Call our specialist advisors today to discuss your requirements and to get a realistic quote for cob house insurance. [/intro]