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Buying a Cob House

Posted by willz600 - Created: 3 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by Fish24 - 3 years ago

And there lies the crunch.  The house is in 22 Cotes d'Armor and not Devon.



http://www.tiez-breiz.org/index.php (click on English)

Association Tiez Breiz - Maisons et Paysages de Bretagne

Tél : 02 99 53 53 03
Adresse : 10 rue Général Nicolet, 35200 Rennes
Adresse postale : 51 Square Charles Dullin, 35200 Rennes

Découvrir leur site internet

Every little helps but you will need to understand French if possible (bauge = cob and do not mis-understand cob and torchis).

Hope you find a solution with local know-how.


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Posted by Dormouse-445105 - 3 years ago

Absolutely agree with the recommendation to get inspection from a cob specialist. General surveyor may not be expert on cob. Also agree that you need to be sure that the problem doesn't come from the roof spreading unless there is a simple solution. And ideally get told what caused it.

Cob walls can be weight bearing too. Sometimes weight  bearing, sometimes just infill. I don't know what is typical in Brittany. 

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Posted by Rudge - 3 years ago

I used to live in a 300 year old cob cottgage in Devon  - built on a area that had clay , the raw material for the house walls !

After a dry summer , or a very wet winter I would sometimes get a crack in a wall , my local cob specialist suggested filling in with a cob mix etc, and rendering with appropriate plaster to weatherproof it afterwards !

'Normal' I was told , and after 5 years of residence I sold the house , incuding the resident death watch beetle in the oak roof timbers to a an under-manager of a building society, no queries . 

So, possibly not a major structural defect, but get advice froma cob specialist about the crack . 

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Posted by Reveuse-918439 - 3 years ago

I live in a cob house. Basically the comments from busted and geegee are sensible. It all depends why the crack is there. A crack in a cob wall is not important because the wall itself is not load bearing. So if the crack has just appeared randomly then no big deal. But a crack is sometimes a sign that the structure itself is unsound - there is subsidence or the beams have rotted and are sagging or the whole structure is leaning. And that could be serious. So don't worry about the crack but have a close look at the timbers.

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Posted by geegee42 - 3 years ago

Usually these type of properties tend to be cheaper because a novice looking at the crack would automatically assume the house is falling down, which may or may not be the case, whereas someone with sense would investigate further and might end up grabbing a bargain that many others would simply overlook.

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Posted by sabc15-427548 - 3 years ago

I think the o/p should,take a long hard look at the property,and consider what he/she would do if the property was in the UK,would they go ahead and purchase a property with a structural defect without getting a professional opinion, as to the cost of the repair,property in Brittany is cheaper than the UK but structural remedial work can and often turn out to cost more than you are likely to recover when you sell the property,but if it is your dream property then it is your money to do with as you wish,but I would advice not to throw caution to the wind,take time to get opinions from professionals, I am sure the property will still be there in the time it takes for you to mull it over,it is not normally problems that you see that cost the money,it is the problems that come to light once you have started the remedial work,good luck,I am sure there is no rush for you to make any decision.sabc15.

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Posted by Whyme?-991477 - 3 years ago

No need to shout.  The OP asked for input, which countrydweller gave.  He did not call the OP an idiot, merely advised that the OP obtain the professional opinion of a qualified surveyor and said that with such a fault, he would not buy the property.  He offered useful advice, without shooting anyone down in flames or putting them down.

My own opinion is that I would not entertain purchasing the property either - with one such obvious fault, how many others are there that are not obvious that will come to light in the future.  Sounds like a money pit to me.

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Posted by smudge1949 - 3 years ago

THAT IS NOT THE POINT . Wilz600 was looking for advice not to be told he was an idiot looking at this property. usefull advice is always welcome and will be taken on board, some people need to get a life and not put people down.

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Posted by countrydweller - 3 years ago

Well would you buy a house with a huge crack in the wall?If you saw this house in that state in the UK you would run a mile would you not?Why is it then that with all the houses for sale at rock bottom prices in France do people then go and think about buying a house with a crack an inch wide which runs from the foundation to the roof which is probably  letting the rain in onto cob and weakening the structure even more?And what is the problem with pointing out the madness of this?or pointing out that you need to get a competent surveyor who is totally independent of the seller agent etc .If people want to risk everything on buying a house in this syate then fine but please do not citicize when people actually point out that this is a huge risk _I would have said that the advice of planting a creeper next to a dodgy wall was less helpful than the advice I give ie do not buy it.

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Posted by smudge1949 - 3 years ago

There is some good advice given but again Countrydweller comes along and rather than give some constructive advise comes in criticising somebody who has asked for help. Please think before you give so called advice it does not help!