How to fit a 1st floor in a cob house

If you are planning on building a cob castle with two floors, then you need a few extra techniques to hold that 1st storey in place. Here is a simple step by step guide showing you what to do as you approach the top of your ground floor walls.

First of all you are going to have to set some dead men in to the tops of your walls. Place these in about 30cm below the top of your wall. These are made with a stump of strong wood, with nails hammered in, and wire wrapped around twice. The wire needs to come up out of the top of the wall. Leave a good metre or so to make sure you can wrap the wire through your floor joists and round a couple of times to make them really strong.


Continue building above the top of the deadmen till you reach the top of your wall. Build you wall up evenly, trying to make a nice square top with big teeth for the second floor walls to hold on to. When it dries you are going to have to take a mallet and chisel and cut the grooves which the floor frame will sit on.

2 floors 6

Next cut your wood. Depending on the shape of your rooms this may be  a difficult process involving tricky angles. Use a strong hard wood as this will be very difficult to replace in the future. Make sure that each length of wood has one joint sitting on top of the next length, and one end underneath.

floor joint

When the frame is ready, lift it above the wall and secure it together using strong bolts. Then carefully drop it back in to the wall, remembering to thread through the wire of the deadmen.

We bolted some straps to the top of the frames to lower the frames in to the wall. They are very heavy and there is no room around the edge to lower them in by hand so we held on to these strong straps.

floor lifting straps

Tie the wires above the frame and start cutting your floor beams. The beams sit right on top of the frame. Use a really long screw, which maybe have to be sunk further in to the beam if it is not long enough. Countersink the hole to make sure none of the screw is protruding from the top of the beam. Cut small pieces of wood to fill the gaps between the beams.

2 floors 4

And there you have it, your beams are ready to receive your beautiful floor boards, just use nails to hammer the floor boards in. Make sure to keep your floor well covered as you build your second storey walls as the clay in the cob can stain the wood.

2 floors profile

And here is one of our beautiful finished upper floors.


Any questions, leave them at the bottom here or get in touch via the contact page.


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