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Thread: earthbag construction.

  1. #1
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    Default earthbag construction.

    We have become quite fond of this type of building and are embarking on our second project using earthbags.
    it is going to be a semi dugout goat shelter.

    we have found that the new type woven plastic feed and dog food bags are PERFECT to use for these projects..

    the concept is simple,fill the bags and stack them just as you were laying block,barbed wire is used between the layers to hold it all together and you tamp everything down to keep it level and settle it all in..
    this is a great way to build with recycled items at virtually no cost.

    i am wondering if anyone else here has messed around with this type construction and if so i would love to read about it..

    as far as our newest project,it is going to be a 8x8 shelter partially underground and it will have a earthen roof. almost all materials will be recycled or harvested from here on the property.

    thus far i have completed all the digging required and we are having a "workshop" next weekend to "git er dun"..

    if there is a interest i will post photos and/or video of the process..

    if not, i wont bother..lol

    more on earthbag construction..

    http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/

  2. #2
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    yes, id love to see photos of your work, ive wanted to try a small shed to try it out. i think its a pretty neat project.
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  3. #3
    Liberty is offline Tree of Liberty Supporter
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    Of course there's interest! Please post photos as the project progresses. I'd love to see them.

  4. #4
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    Yes, I would like to see. What I have not been able to grasp is how it stays together. When the bag breaks down all there is is a pile of dirt left. Can you build a house size structure of any permanence?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion commander View Post
    Yes, I would like to see. What I have not been able to grasp is how it stays together. When the bag breaks down all there is is a pile of dirt left. Can you build a house size structure of any permanence?
    to prevent UV breakdown you do have to "stucco"(for lack of a better word) or "cob" over any exposed bags OC. for this there are about as many formulas as there are people building with earthbags..

    our first project was the front wall of our root cellar and we had a heck of a time figuring out what worked best for our climate (we average 72 inches of rain annually here).we had a LOT of trial and error before we found something that could withstand our weather for any length of time . we wound up going with a 10 part portland cement,1 part sand, 1 part georgia clay mix. in drier climates a simple "cob" mix (sand,clay and straw) works fine.

    people add newspapers,borax,lime and all sorts of stuff in their formulas though. i think it comes down to what works best for your area..
    it should be noted that you have to face the bags with something the "stucco" will adhere to. on our first project we used recycled chicken wire,this seems to be pretty common. however on this project because this shed will be for a buck goat i am going to use diamond mesh that i will have to purchase. i want to make sure it can withstand the abuse a cantankerous buck can put it through.

    as far as is it viable for big projects? yes it is. in the link in my first post there are some examples of large projects and if you search on the web you can find plenty of examples.

    it should also be noted that this can be a very labor intensive process.
    that doesnt bother me as i aint afraid of hard work and i prefer to look at my money rather than spend it lol.. so for me this is mainly about cost over time and effort.although its also because its a very viable way to build here as we have NO level areas to build conventionally.

    thus far i have about 9 hours in prep, all digging done with a shovel and pick. i figure i have moved about 5 cubic yards of dirt. the dirt will be used to fill the bags and then to go over the roof.



    so thats where i am at till a week from saturday when we will have folks coming in to get some hands on experience and to lend us a hand as well..

    until then feel free to ask any questions you may have and i will try and answer them to the best of my ability..

  6. #6
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    I'm very interested to see your progress Dilligaf! This looks really cool!
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  7. #7
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    Actually, I'm planning my first earthbag project....a partially above ground root cellar with an earth roof. Very interested in seeing your projects.
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  8. #8
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    I would think barbed wire would rip the snot out of the bags. It woul seem to be a good idea to keek them intact.

  9. #9
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    what about rain drainage inside.......

    it looks to be sloped down into your shed.......

    very inspiring.......!
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  10. #10
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    My DH and I built a three room cabin last summer out of earth bags. Because we were building in Montana, we opted to use lava rock to fill the bags for added insulation. We were running out of time by October, so covered them in a mud/straw mix to see us through the winter. It worked well, but started to fall off when the Spring rains came (too much sand in the mix). This past week we started putting papercrete on the domes. It's been a wonderful project.

    If we were to do it again, we would get the UV protected bags - the intense MT sun really does a number on them, and they were hard to keep covered while we were working (pesky wind up here). We have some pics on our blog: http://halcyontimes.wordpress.com.

    Jen

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