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How can I build a little building of some sort with rocks I find around my house and from a previous torn down chimney? Answered

So even if there is a way to build like a little shelter to hang out in using wood from trees and branches, I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts! Thanks


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10 years ago

[A] Rocks are hard and heavy. [B] Gravity will pull rocks down on your poor ol' head and kill you dead. [C] The following information leaves out just about everything that you need to know to keep from dying. Read about foundations, moving rocks (while keeping all your own personal fingers & toes), cement and lime and concrete, basic construction, and anything else that you can get your hands on. That being said, here we go:

People have been building rock shelters for multiple thousands of years. We know this because rocks last longer than most anything else, and those structures (or their visible remains) are still around.

Rocks with flattish sides can be dry-laid; think of a kid's set of blocks. If each succeeding layer is laid just a little bit towards the interior (called 'corbelling'), then you are building what used to be called a "beehive" structure. Beehives don't look like that any more, so think of an igloo. The weight of the stones themselves, and the incremental shifting towards the interior, will help the walls stand until you can fit the keystone: the very last rock at the peak of your stone "igloo" which will take all the forces from the walls trying to fall on your head.

Roundish smaller rocks can be used to make 'cobblestone' buildings which are found throughout the Ozark Mountain areas of Arkansas & Missouri. Wooden forms are erected 10" to 18" inches apart in the size and shape of your planned shelter. (You don't have to do all the walls at once, so that you save on lumber for the forms.) Against the outside wood form, place your collected rocks and then slap in concrete to keep those rocks in place. Keep adding more tightly fitted rocks and backing them with more concrete until you reach the top of your form. Let the concrete cure (remember to keep it moist for 3 days or so), strip off the forms, set the cleaned forms atop the rock-and-concrete wall you just made, and do 'er all over again. When the walls are tall enough, slap a roof on your new building.

The same basic idea was put  forward by American architect Ernest Flagg using using larger, flatter rocks as the outside surface. This makes a good-lookin' wall. Check out SLIP FORM construction on the interweb.

If there is farming in your area, might I suggest cob construction? Use your rocks to make a floor. Along the perimeter of the floor, stack bales of hay to make the walls. Cut out openings for doors and windows. Plaster the inside and outside. Slap on a roof. Lots of insulation (18" - 24" thick walls). Cheap. Easy to do.

If you'd like to see what truly insane rock-building can be (I'm envious, and wish I was there to work & learn), check out the middle-ages level work being done at ozark medieval fortress. Awesomely inspiring! LINK IS HERE

Good luck with your rocks.


11 years ago

Your safest way is to make the walls out of bricks and cement, then cover that with the old stones and mortar to make it look old and rustic. Or, the cheaper version is build it straight from the rocks with cement, however, it will need to be thicker and maybe built around grounded wooden poles to make sure it stays strong and upright. The roof can be made from timber frames and tiles of your choice. Hope this helps.