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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-13-10 01:20 AM
Original message
Earthbag House Plans
Edited on Wed Oct-13-10 02:20 AM by Dover
Earthbag House Plans /

The purpose of this non-commercial site is to network with those who are interested in earthbag building and spark a dialogue about earthbag house designs. This innovative building method is exploding in popularity and there is enormous potential to provide affordable homes for all of humanity, all without damaging our environment.

This site is about unique small house plans, small home plans, floor plans, custom plans, architecture, small house designs, building green eco-friendly homes, sustainable building, blueprints for affordable homes all built with earthbags. All styles are included: country, cottage, bungalow, traditional, modern (contemporary), mountain, beach, cabins and other popular styles. Emergency shelter plans are free. For those not familiar with earthbag construction, please check out my companion sites and Earthbag Building Blog.


A typical 300-800 sq.ft. house made of natural building materials could be built by a DIY builder for about $3,000-$10,000 (about $10/sq.ft.) and have the following features:
- gravel-filled bags on a rubble trench foundation (with insulating fill material such as perlite or scoria in cold climates)
- earthbag walls filled with soil or insulation, such as perlite, volcanic rock or rice hulls
- earth-berming for improved energy performance
- earth, stone or recycled brick floors
- earth or lime plaster
- affordable roof options such as domes, spiral (reciprocal) roofs, green roofs, poles, pallet trusses, metal roofing for collecting rainwater, thatch, etc.
- R-45 roof insulation (cellulose, wool, cotton, rice hulls)
- small diameter, sustainably harvested wood
- non-toxic finishes and materials for cabinets, etc.
- wood stove
- energy-efficient windows, doors and appliances, such as solar or on-demand water heating, etc.
- passive solar design
- recycled materials throughout (sinks, tubs, hardware, tile, shelving, etc.)


Construction Information

Use Tubular Shaped Bags and Coil It Like A Snake:

Besides regular bag sizes there are now long propylene tubes to fill that are coiled like a snake. SuperAdobe is a type of 'earth bag' construction that uses continuous tubing as used for sandbags and agricultural packaging. This tubing is filled with a mostly dry mixture of earth and cement stabilizer and coiled up on a cement-filled coil, rammed earth footing, or concrete slab in the manner of coiled pottery to form structures with arches, vaults, and domes. The coils are filled with earth and laid out in a continuous process. Conventional barbed wire is placed between each course of tubing to help keep it from slipping. Window and door frames are formed by wrapping the coils around wooden frame forms which are later removed for window and door fitting. Once the coiled-up forms of the structure are complete it is covered with a thick adobe plaster covering which protect the material from the tubing from deterioration by UV exposure.
More here: /

The Merits of Earth Bag Building and Material Suppliers

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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why buy the bags?
Isn't it better to just make your own out of recycled or "found" materials? That keeps more stuff out of the landfill and you're going to cover the structure inside and out with something anyway so nobody will see if it's a pretty retail product or a mishmash of re-purposed bags.

But I love the concept.
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Remmah2 Donating Member (971 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Dennis Weaver: Earth Rammed House /

At my uncle's we built an earth rammed loading dock for his truck (farmer). We used up every last tire from his property and had to look for more at the neighbors. The shear mass keeps the frost from heaving it. Now and then he has to throw on a little dirt and re-pack it. Cost was zero, took two weekends to build. So nice to roll stuff on-off the truck and not bust our backs.

Dennis Weaver took it to the level of finishing the walls w/concrete. I'd love to see the original.

I've toyed w/the idea of building some out buildings out of earth rammed tires.

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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-24-10 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. I used to live in a house like that, except it was square.
We called it a "bunker." It had rifle ports.
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Remmah2 Donating Member (971 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. LOL
Funny post.

I've read some of the combat engineering handbooks that discuss interlocking bags for purposes of keeping the mass together. Some good ideas.

Thanks for your service.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-10 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. During the Great Depression my great uncle lived in a sod hut in
northern MN. I wish I had asked him about it. Too late now.
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. My grandfather, dad, & his brothers added an adobe room
to their Victorian-era house in San Antonio. When the room a/c was turned on in there, it got really cold. We called that room the "meat locker."

They also constructed 2 adobe outbuildings, which were torn down by the guy who bought the property. Idiot.

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-31-10 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. Earthbag home just finished in the Austin, Tx. area. Check it out!
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-31-10 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. A couple of questions. Is it warm enough for a Northern MN climate?
And the sod huts we used to have had trouble with bugs and snakes. How does this house avoid that?
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
6. I saw earthbags being used as a raised bed structure in a greenhouse.
On a site about building greenhouses.

I couldn't find an answer for my question there. The earthbags were stuccoed, or covered with something, to keep the bags from degrading. The question: Wouldn't the moist soil against the stucco degrade that stucco?

I wasn't sure how they were being used.

I'd like to build some raised beds here; I'd use earth bags if I could figure out how to keep them from degrading in the harsh elements or when in contact with damp soil.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-25-11 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Hi LWolf. Sorry for the looong delay. I just saw your post.
Edited on Fri Feb-25-11 04:43 PM by Dover
Well, I know you can't build earth bag homes into a hill (or berm) without waterproofing the areas exposed to the soil. There are a variety of cements and sealers that can and are used for that purpose. So your instincts about that exposure to moisture seems accurate, although much less serious or difficult to deal with, I'd think, in raised beds. If you are seriously contemplating that, you might contact someone at one of the links above.

Or you might just use some more temporary material like a thick plastic on the bed side of the earthbag wall or the stuff used as pond liners. I created a raised bed by using short cut lengths of cedar (juniper) branches stood vertically one next to the other in a long row. Obviously there were small spaces inbetween them for the soil to come through so I just got a good quality weed barrior cloth, doubled it up and stapled it to the cedar on the soil side and it's worked just fine for years now.
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name removved Donating Member (16 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
11. Man oh man, you guys are way cool!
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