Can you build foundations and slabs with field stones?
I was wanting renovate a small section of an old bank barn for a workshop, a small section of the old stone wall has crumbled, would it be acceptable to rebuild the stone and mortar wall enveloped with insulation on both inside and outside, to reduce the use of concrete. In the future I would like to try this technique for a new build house, if this is an accptable way to construct walls an possible floors ( stone and concrete) I have access to an abundant amount of field stone.
Thanks for any help.
A stone foundation is not as strong as a poured concrete foundation, so while many of them exist, including entire homes made from them, I imagine you would have a very difficult time getting a permit to build one new. You could of course ‘physically’ do it and it works (evidenced by the fact that so many exist a century or more later), just not to modern standards for carrying structural loads. It’s just too inconsistent and impossible to predict its structural capacity, so I can’t imagine a building inspector signing off on it.
As for repairing it, you are correct that it would indeed reduce the use of concrete, and there isn’t much that is more ‘green’ or sustainable than using a rock to build something. As for insulating it - you can insulate both sides, but if you’re able to I would do it on the outside only. Adding double the amount of insulation on the exterior would be quicker and easier than half on each side. You would also keep all the thermal mass of the stone inside the thermal envelope.
I think you could safely insulate the inside of stone buildings in most climates if the outside is insulated. Exterior insulation is because it keeps the stones and mortar warm. The sudden shock of exposing the wall to cold winter temperatures by insulating the inside only can crack the mortar. Without insulation, the stones would have always been warm, but with insulation on the interior only the freeze / thaw cycle is a risk in cold climates.