I’m putting up a wall…

As I already wrote about in my previous post, the next step of re-doing my container is to put up a clay wall. Since pictures sometimes tell more than a thousand words, this one is going to be (mostly) a foto-story:

bags of clay

I had already bought the dry mixture for the clay. My decision in the bying process was random, because I can’t really tell the difference at the moment anyway. So first, I had to fix the soft fibre boards to the wall. The woman that had sold me the clay recommended I “stick” the boards on with clay. So I started mixing the sand-mixture with water – having no idea about the needed consistency, and started putting it on the soft fibre board (lying on the floor).


I started up with using little water, which led to a rather thick sheet of clay and also it was quite hard work to evenly put it on the board. Then I fixed it onto the existing wall with additional screws. With the soft fibre boards it is very important to be careful of how deep you drill it in, otherwise the screw drives through the board and does not fix anything. Also I wasn’t really sure about the jute mesh and if I also needed it for the “sticking on the wall” part. So I tried about half with the mesh, and half without.

jute mesh

When I was finished, it looked like that:

soft fibre board wall

The clay between the soft fibre boards and the existing wall is not visible, but it’s about 2-4 mm thick. Next I tried to stuff the gaps between the boards with some rest of the wood fibre that was left over from cutting.

soft fibre board 20141003 211157-small

Then the first sheet of clay was applied directly onto the wall. There I was already using more water to have a more liquid consistency of the clay. Otherwise it would have been almost impossible to apply it onto the wall.

20141004 120034-small

While the clay was still wet, I applied the jute mesh over it with a stapler gun

clay + jute mesh soft fibre wall with clay and jute mesh

The next step was already to apply the outer layer of clay onto the jute mesh. This was much easier than the previous coat of clay, because it was held up by the mesh.

clay wall on jute mesh clay on jute mesh

When I was finished with applying that outer layer of clay to the whole wall, it was still rather rough with a lot of lines from the tools (sorry for my finger).

rough clay wall

With additional water, I tried to flatten the wall to give it a more homogenous surface.

clay wall

Then it was time for the wall to dry out. Having the windows open for air circulation, it took about a week for the wall to be dry. Then I put some special stabilizing liquid onto the wall with a brush (that was also recommended by the people where I got the clay from). I’m not completely sure if this is actually necessary, so since the amount of liquid I bought was only good for a little more than half, this is yet another experiment ;-). I’ll observe, if the part of the wall that was left without it somehow starts crumbling and let you know after some time…

What else is still to be done?

  • parquett floor
  • cork wall/wallpaper for the other walls
  • composting toilet
  • walls for the “bathroom”
  • frame for the sink
  • kitchen
  • loft bed
  • ???

What will be my next step? I haven’t finalized my decision, so it’ll be a surprise for all of us ;-).

My tiny house project is still running

Finally, some updates on my tiny house (container) project. It was a little quiet on that front, because first nothing much actually happened, and then a lot happened, but I just didn’t take the time to write down everything, because I wanted to DO. Since I’m now almost finished with the first step, this is going to change:

container interior before

I decided a while back that I didn’t like to keep the walls of my container the way they were, because they look (and are) cheap and also don’t create a good interiour climate. Since the whole thing is a big experiment on tiny living, tiny experiments are always welcome. That is why I decided to try out putting up a clay wall inside my container. Just one wall for now, but if I like it – and also want to invest the money – a second wall might follow.

I got the idea from Wohnwagon, who had heard of a company building modular houses out of multiple shipping containers and then insulating them and using clay as finishing touch on the inside, and decided to use the same concept. It is basically soft-fibre boards out of wood with a jute mesh (or whaterver mesh for plastering you want to use) and the clay.

I was however not sure about the practical details of that construction, so I tried to research, especially on what to keep in mind in terms of possible side-effects. I was told that I need to be careful about mold, because the humidity in the air will react differently – especially with the container walls not “breathing” (allowing humidity exchange). I was told to calculate the whole insulation to find out where the dew point would be at u-wert.net (important for the humidity problem). I was told all kinds of things that were meant as help but just lead to a vicious circle in my head and ultimately in a complete standstill, because I was afraid to make a mistake. – This was the period where nothing really happened…

Luckily I got out of that limiting mind-game and realized that I just wanted to put up that f***-wall, and was ready to make mistakes along the way, as long as I would learn from them. My next post will be the story of how my clay wall came to be. So stay tuned…