STATE OF CALIFORNIA , IVISION OF MINES AND GEOLOGY
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The day has nearly arrived when you can build a
house entirely from minerals. Such a house would
be fireproof, termiteproof, soundproof, and weatherproof.
Depending on the owner's choice of materials
the structure would be almost paintproof too. Just
what will this house use to provide all these wonderful
Starting with the basement, walls and floor will be
of concrete blocks or of reinforced concrete poured
into metal forms which have neither cracks nor knotholes.
Some houses may even use steel cables for
horizontal and vertical post-tensioning to give greater
strength and to prevent cracks. Sand and gravel under
the floors and a petroleum-base emulsion on the outside
of the walls will insure that the basement is dry.
The ceiling joists over the basement and the first
floor sub-floor will be single pre-cast lightweight
concrete units which will be delivered to the job
ready for laying, with openings for heating ducts,
plumbing and electrical conduits already provided.
The steps up from the basement will arrive in one
piece and will be pre-cast lightweight concrete with
metal railing already installed.
Exterior walls now offer a wide variety of choice.
Traditional brick in many colors, textures, and sizes;
building stone either sawed, split, or rubble in numerous
colors and textures; concrete block in unit sizes,
half high, ashlar, or random, with plain or textured
surfaces and in many colors; and monolithic concrete
wi.th anyone of many surface textures, are some of
Mr. Mason, a mining engineer for the Oregon Department
of Geology and Mineral Industries, has kindly allowed us
to reprint this article, originally published in The OreBin
in November 1961.
4 R.S. Mason
the possibilities for the solid wall areas of the modern
house. Recent perfection of tilt-up wall construction
methods has lowered the cost of laytng rubble
building stone to the point where it is competitive
with many other materials. Exterior walls of prefabricated
modular-sized panels of coated steel or
aluminum sheets fastened to metal frames are available
in a variety of colors .
Steel or aluminum joists and rafters will be assem-
bled at the plant and the trusses delivered to the
job ready for installation. The ceiling joists will
have metal clips for attaching plasterboard. Roof
construction will be a far cry from the methods used
since man moved out of a cave. Depending on upon
conditions and the owner's preference , the roof could
be made of clay or concrete tile or slate attached to
metal strips, or large, pre-fabricated roof sections of
aluminum or ceramic-coated steel shingles could be
used. Built-up roofs, using colorful crushed rock
poured over asphalt-coated lightweight concrete slabs
are also possible. Chimneys of traditional brick or
concrete blocks will be competing with multi-wall
steel and aluminum stacks which can be erected
Inside the house-made-with-mineral, walls of
gypsum board or plaster laid over perforated gypsum
lath would find increasing competition from wall
panels of ceramic-coated metal, plastic, or foamed
concretes. Interior walls of translucent glass or
plastic would be . lighter than those made of the
traditional materials and could be installed or removed
readily. Exposed aggregate concrete block with
smoothly sanded surfaces is a new development
Copyright by the California Department of Conservation California Geological Survey. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the California Geological Survey.