What timeline are you on?

Eric Puro's picture

Natural and sustainable building is a bit of a different process than most of the buildings you see around today. But how? I hope to shed a bit of light on this subject in this blog post.

I recently went to the hardware store to purchase some drill bits for our manual drills (if you haven't drilled a 7 inch hole manually, I highly recommend it), and I asked how much the man was selling turpentine for. I was curious because we are now making our own pine tar and I wanted to check the price of the most similar industrial product. He told me they had two prices; 4 euros for the inferior product and 9 euros for the “better” product. I kept asking him what does better mean to no avail.

We use these terms like “better” with so many hidden unsaid meanings behind them. In this specific case, does it last longer? Does it color the wood less? Does it protect against more bugs? Does it repel water? Without knowing the meaning behind the word better, I have no ability to make fully clear decisions. For example - do I really need the “better” option?

The “better” discussion comes up many times in natural building. Lime plaster is just “better” than natural plasters. Let's dissect this. What is the purpose of plastering a wall?Lime plater

  • to help seal the water out from penetrating and deteriorating the wall
  • to provide a finished look to the wall
  • and lastly, for asthetics

I think we can all agree that both natural plasters and lime plasters can achieve these objectives. So how is lime plaster “better”? Concrete will last a thousand years, lime will last 100 years, and natural plasters usually last tens of years. So if you do not need the plaster layer to last more than 20 - 30 years, why use the more industrial lime plaster or concrete option? Same goes if you do not mind re-plastering the wall after 20-30 years.

This is just an example, but I believe it is always important to understand the meaning behind the word “better”. Ask lots of questions, and then use your best judgement! Whatever you do though - Build something Great!