Earthbag Houses

In all the time I have been researching what kind of house to build, I had never once even considered building an earthbag house.  I have no idea why I kept looking past them, but I  finally have started to consider them.  First, the man suggested we build a smaller one to live in while we built our final house.  I said “no” for a while, but he finally got me to cave and at least look at these houses.  Then I decided that it would be a great temp house.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about building a big one to actually live in.  Right now they are my top choice.

Here is the link to the book I’m reading in case you are interested in some good info on Earthbag building.  So far, it has explained pretty clearly how and why to build these houses.  It is the book that changed my opinion about earthbags.

I like these houses for their simplicity.  They seem like they would be so non-technical to build that I could get the kids to help us build.  It is playing in the dirt, after all.  The only things you need to buy from what I can tell are the bags, the barb wire, and things like windows and doors.  My final selling point was that when they get wet, it makes them stronger.  The area that I will be living in seems to get pretty wet, especially in the spring.  And we could still build it as an underground house.

Perfect.  So how do I build one?  You fill bags with earth (a clay, sand and water mixture to be specific).  Stack them up with barb wire between the layers (to prevent sliding).  The mixture dries out and hardens like concrete (this is why they get stronger when they get wet).  You make frames for the doors and windows and build around them.  There are different ways to do the interior and exterior depending on what you are looking for.  Cob being one of the options.  I haven’t read about plumbing and electric yet, but I don’t imagine it will be hugely different from any other kind of house.  That is pretty much it.  It seems as though this may be a really nice fit for us.  We shall see.

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