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On the topic of shelter, I recently found a website with a Navajo Hogan on it. This is an octagonal log home about 15 to 40 feet in diameter. The roof is also made out of logs and come together in the centre in a dome shape, leaving space for smoke to escape from the central fireplace. Sometimes the hogan is completely covered with mud several inches thick, which completely dries and bakes hard in the sun. Of course this would not be useful in continuing rain, but I have been wondering if it could be covered with cement instead of mud. The log frame certainly looks sturdy enough to hold the weight, and it would provide great insulation. I would like to know the feasability of using wire mesh, or chicken wire for example to cover the log structure, and then cover this with cement, as I mentioned. It seems that it would have a lot of stability.

Offered by Cass.

Chicken wire would be good, but I've also seen on a web site somebody using chain-link fence for the outside material and then covering it with cement. Chicken wire is probably cheaper and easier to shape, but the chain-link fence looks stronger.

Offered by Michael.

From the little experience I have in working with concrete, I would tend to go with the chain-link fence as being better because it's much sturdier for the outside, but use chicken wire on the inside precisely because it's easier to mold into shape, and because of the finer holes, for better holding. When building a concrete roof in ordinary building construction today, a bottom and top layer of very fine, thick solid wire netting is placed on beams, and is then covered with the concrete. That's as solid as you can get to keep the top floor from caving in. In the construction we're talking about - you would already have the basic supporting structure, and the chicken wire to cover it would be just an additional structural factor holding the concrete in place, so it's advisable to have. The hogan structure as it's described on the link you provide should definitely be sturdy enough to support a layer of concrete up to 2 or even 3 inches thick, even on the roof. For that ultra extra strength, the structure is covered with an additional layer of the chain-link fencing after about an inch of concrete, and then the rest of the concrete is put on.

After the concrete sets, the whole structure should be heavily watered down from a hose, first of all to homogenize all the cement, and more importantly - to check for leaks. It's vital to have some easier 'filling' stuff, like Polyfilla, to close those minor cracks which are bound to exist after all the cement sets. Both chicken wire and chain-link fencing are easy to obtain and aren't so expensive as to be out of reach, so they seem like good solutions for reinforcing concrete. However, I don't know about the whole hogan idea itself. The structure looks pretty complicated, if you ask me, so it may be good for a permanent after-time dwelling, but I don't know about a temporary 'safe place' to weather the pole shift in. For that - a simpler and sturdier dome structure is probably preferrable, because the fitting of the logs in the hogan would take some doing and know-how, so it seems to me. It's a beautiful and solid structure, though, and thanks for providing that link - because I wouldn't mind living in a place like that in the permanent settlement. One thing to remember though, is that the hogan is good for the climate of North America, and wouldn't offer much protection in our climate here, where you need thick stone insulation from the heat. Of course the concrete on the outside would provide some of the insulation - but it's not really enough, you need stone walls. So I would say that it's important to take into account what climate will prevail in the area you choose, before settling on the hogan for a dwelling.

Offered by Sol.