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Would you buy a cob house?

Discussion in 'Building' started by Klang180, 21 Sep 2020.

  1. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Hello Forumgoers.

    My partner and me are in a bit of a pickle regarding a potential house buy. We like the house and the location and can afford it but the one snag is that the house is cob. I realise this means it is basically a big mud hut and worry about how much of a future maintenance burden this is? The house is about 250yrs old and has a tiled roof (not thatched thank god).

    I am worried about resale value as it might be hard to get a mortgage on (we have finance sorted). I also worry about not being able to drill into the walls to mount anything and decorating as it would need a breathable lime render and thus is not paintable right?

    My basic question is would you buy it and if so what sorts of things would we have to look out for in the future in terms of maintenance, particularly in contrast to a standard brick built house?

    In case anyone is interested the house is the one listed below:

    https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-72688236.html

    Any and all advice gladly accepted as we are really not sure!
     
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  3. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Which is longer than some modern houses will last.

    Without wall hung cupboards it might require a slightly different life style but nothing insurmountable.
     
  4. Nige F

    Nige F

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    It's a semi so ask your next door neighbour-to-be.
     
  5. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Yeah that is something I am worried about, strangely they have them in the conservatory that has been added on but I guess maybe they aren't screwed into the house but to the conservatory.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  6. Klang180

    Klang180

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    A canny idea, I will give that a go. Two birds, one stone as well I guess!
     
  7. endecotp

    endecotp

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    I think that’s a telling comment.

    If you want to live in a characterful, quirk, old building then buy it.
    If you want a conventional, modern, safe house, don’t.

    I live in a listed building. One neighbour was part way through buying when they discovered it was listed. The reaction was “oh god, disaster, reduce the offer by £50,000”. I don’t think they’re going to be happy there. Other people see that it’s listed and imagine all the history and it makes it worth more to them.
     
  8. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    I live in a thatched and listed cottage. The quirks and oddities make life interesting.

    The thatch absorbs sound and is excellent thermal insulation.
     
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  9. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    Agree , Warm in Winter Cool in Summer ,

    and a thatch roof is environmentally friendly
     
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  11. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    It's been standing 250 years. What do you think will happen in the next 20?
    Any major bits will have fallen off by now.
    You may need a surveyor/mortgage company familiar with the structures.
     
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  12. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Well I may have been a bit flippant there. I don't mind upkeep but I prefer things I can do myself, which to be fair may be the case here after a learning curve. I am on the fence between those two perspectives but do take your point entirely!
     
  13. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Thanks, another good point.
     
  14. algas

    algas

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    Cob should be good, the old saying is if its got a good hat and good boots should be ok, plenty of cob experts in Devon just make sure the render hasn't blown and the lintels are sound, and no major bulges or cracks, to hang things just use large wooden plugs like before the plastic ones were invented ,on a plus point two good pubs in Ide
     
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  15. StephenStephen

    StephenStephen

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    Our house has a lot of cob sections in the walls. It never occurred to me to regard cob as a problem - I can't see why anyone would. it's not been a problem in the years we've lived here and done various diy here, and I doubt it will ever be a problem. if you like the house, go for it - just don't do anything mad like casing it in cement render. You can paint the lime plaster with limewash (cheap and easy though takes a few coats - buy lime putty from http://www.mikewye.co.uk/ and water it down, or clay paint or various other porous paints. Fairly easy to fix heavy things onto cob walls - wooden plugs or deep resin plugs or battens - no problem.
    EDIT ...and while I remember - it's worth buying the booklet "Cob Buildings A Practical Guide" by Jane Schofield & Jill Smallcombe (helpful and reassuring): https://www.spab.org.uk/shop/product/cob-buildings-practical-guide
     
    Last edited: 21 Sep 2020
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  16. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Thanks very much for this. Think we'd get a cob specialist to take a look before we commit to it as they must be able to take a look at it for a few bob, I would think. Happy to hear about hanging things, I was worried about this as I do like a little bit of DIY!
     
  17. Klang180

    Klang180

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    Hey Stephen, thanks for your take, sounds like it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Thanks also for the lime plaster tip and the supplier link too (bookmarking this as we speak). Oh and should we buy this house I will definitely get that booklet and treat the house well.
     
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