From Dean Dowd on November 02, 2009 in Green Remodeling
If you want to build a dirt cheap house, what better way than to start with the dirt? An EarthBag home is an economic choice since most of what you need is under your feet.
What impresses me most about building with bags is the limitless variety of shapes. No more standard square and rectangular confines. Domed living areas, curved walls and rounded edges are just a few of the possibilities. And while youre forming the place youll call home, windows can be a creative accent, made from wagon wheels, tires and barrels to finish off the EarthBags unique look.
Before and After
Best of all for our environment, Earthbag homes support sustainable building (not to mention human health) by using natural, nontoxic materials. And the energy efficiency benefits are outstanding. Because the interior of EarthBags are naturally insulated, they keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It seems that after a few centuries of relying on toxic, cheaply manufactured building materials, westerners are finally coming back to their senses and building from the time-tested lime plaster and adobe of our ancestors. Better late than never.
How Does an Earthbag Work?
After determining if you have good fill-dirt on your property, the next most important resource is sweat equity. There are three easy steps for getting started on your sandbag structure: fill polypropylene bags with moist soil, stack them in rows and tamp them down tightly. Placed in between the rows, barbed wire acts like Velcro to hold the bags together and strengthen the construction. The wire is used for shaping also. Finally, apply plaster inside and out with any color finishes you like. Domes can be built quite tall, but for extra space, theyre best built side-by-side and interconnected with hallways. These homes are something of a grown-up playground the skys the limit.