earth bag houses/barns?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by myheaven, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Has any one built an earth bag home or barn? We have a large sand hill/pile next to our property from our neighbors from their cranberry marshes. He said we could have as much as we want so that got me thinking about building an earth bag barn. Whats your thaughts. pros and cons.
    Thank yall
    Beth
     
  2. clamjane

    clamjane Well-Known Member

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    I have never built one but they look pretty cool. If you do build one will you keep us informed here of how it goes?
     

  3. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    I have some friends who built their home of straw bales covered with stucco. I am sure there is a wood fram and they have wood beams in all of their ceilings---very deep "pillowy" windowsills!

    Their home is so lovely! Like an old English cottage! Her husband and sons do wood carving and woodworking and the cabinets and woodworking are so beautiful!
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Be careful and study a lot. There are some amazing structures I have seen in photos, but keep in mind that all you are getting free is the sand for the walls. The walls only represent a small percentage of the cost of a structure. It is also back breaking work. Before you spend too much time on it, I would enquire with the local building department to see whether you need a special permit or engineering stamps. They could erase all the savings you imagine and more.
     
  5. speedfunk

    speedfunk Rock On

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    I did a lot of research on fexible form rammed earth a year or so ago( earth bags :) ) The biggest problem you will have is using sand. There should be a clay\sand mix. Clay being the binding agent and sand being the aggragate. Sand will not pack like you need it too. This will make the strength lie in the bags keeping it together which will eventually ( sooner then later ) fall apart. However if you were to mix dirt into it you should ( will) have much better luck.

    Unlike straw which was mentined above earthbags DO NOT need any posts to support the weight of the roof. You could either make the roof out of earthbags,which looked a bit tricky (but lots have done it) or just stack the earthbags straight up and just lay some sticks and put a convectional roof on it.

    hope that helps a bit....

    also as mentioned above ..if you were to do it in an area that has building codes..there would be some additional challenges...
     
  6. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    There's a nice spread about earth bag homes in the most recent Mother Earth News. It doesn't go into much detail about the specifics of construction, but it's a good article.