The Foundation

Example Rubble Trench Foundation

To help reduce the cost of our home, we are planning to utilize a rubble trench foundation or dry wall footing. Rubble trenchs are a construction approach popularized by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The general plan is to use loose stone or rubble, in a trench, thereby minimizing the not only our cost (less cement) but also the amount of embodied energy used. Due to the lower embodied energy, lower material cost and comparable results, we've selected the rubble trench approach.

The goal of the foundation is to bear the imposed structural while also providing adequate drainage of ground water to prevent expansion or weakening of soils and frost heaving. To construct the foundation a narrow trench will be dug (we will determine how deep later). The bottom of the trench will be gently sloped to provide drainage to a pipe routed to "daylight" (graded 1":8'). We plan to first place a fabric filter, clean pea gravel 4" thick, and then a drainage piple. The trench will then be filled with stone.

 A steel-reinforced concrete grade beam will then be poured at the surface for our stem wall. We plan to insulate the grade beam to lateral heat loss via XPS foam board, which we currently plan to place inside the stem wall.

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About Us

Kim and Chuck, currently living in KC, have 10 acres in Arroyo Hondo, just west of the John Dunn bridge, with a plan to run off to Taos as soon as we are able.

Contact Us

If you've done what we're trying to do, are interested in learning what we've learned, have skills or equipment that may be helpful or handy or want to help so you can learn, reach out and let us know.