Amarelo Superadobe — 5 Comments

  1. Owen,
    Reading the Amarelo blog, when they describe plastering the earthbags, first they burn the plastic off with a blowtorch.
    They say this is necessary for the mortar to adhere.
    I have never seen this described in any other instructions.
    Is this really necessary?

    • That’s only necessary if you don’t protect the bags from UV damage as we recommend. That would be a nasty, smelly job. Very unhealthy. Far easier to coat the bags with recycled paint as you go or work under tarps. Working under tarps has lots of advantages, so that’s my preference. That avoids coating the bags. The larger lesson here is to do your homework so you don’t end up creating extra work.

  2. I’m beginning to wonder about using bags versus just making bricks in a mold. The cost of the bags would at least go away.

    • Yes, that can be a good option. I’m always going back and forth trying to figure out what’s best for a certain situation. Note the earthbag house in Ecuador that used smaller, pre-tamped earthbags:

      Brick doesn’t have to be expensive. We have lots of articles on CEBs (compressed earth blocks). Some don’t require mortar. Here’s a good system by Vela Creations:

      What you’ll find is there are pros and cons to every system. No one building method is perfect or ideal for every situation. It’s good to be knowledgeable about a variety of building methods and then figure out what’s best for your situation. For instance, codes may make earthbag too challenging, so you might want to use CEBs or CEBs with posts.

  3. Nice site they have and looks to be a good build. I find it amazing that countries around the world build this way but, America still seems to be stuck on stupid. But, then again……it’s all about who gets paid. Pathetic situation we have here in the states.

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