The Foundation: Dry-Stacked and Mortared-Stone Wall Systems

Every home needs a good set of boots.  Most conventional foundations use large amounts of portland cement, a high-embedded energy material contributing large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.  This class is an in-depth, hands-on study of a beautiful natural alternative: stone.  Working with a master stone mason, students will learn how to prepare and build both dry and mortared-stone wall systems.  Other topics include site preparation, rubble-trench foundations and more.

Learning Objectives for Foundations week:

  • Proper site selection
  • Building orientation for solar gain
  • Estimating material quantity and cost
  • Frost line / heaving
  • Principles of proper drainage
  • Foundation layout using batter boards
  • Achieving square with 3:4:5
  • Rubble trench foundations
  • Mixing mortars from lime and clay
  • Dry and mortared stone wall key concepts and techniques
  • Mixing, pouring concrete piers
  • Bending and cutting rebar
  • Other options for foundations


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