Building with Earthbags and Adobe/Cob

Our house mid-construction. Earthbags on bottom, bamboo frames for wattle-and-daub on top.
Our house mid-construction. Earthbags on bottom, bamboo frames for wattle-and-daub on top.

“As a little girl, and a young woman, I always dreamed of building my own house someday but I never had a specific desire for it. I knew that the right house would come along at the right time and with the right partner, and we’d build something that fit our needs, together.

However, I never ever dreamed it would be a dirt house.

Well, the right time and the right partner came along and at the beginning of this year Andy and I broke ground on our house. And in the six months since, our home has evolved into something more beautiful and cozy than I could have imagined.

Did I mention it was made out of dirt?

We wanted our house to be both ecological and economical while still being beautiful and meeting all of our needs and after a lot of research we decided that an earthbag house was right up that alley.

What are earthbags?
Earthbags are basically feed sacks filled with earth, pounded into bricks and covered in adobe/cob. We bought the feedsacks on a roll (like one big tube instead of individual sacks) and filled them with the dirt we removed when making our home site flat.

The second story is actually wattle-and-daub. Wattle-and-daub is the technique used to apply the adobe/cob to framed walls, just like you would apply drywall to wall frames. Except, no joke, it was cheaper for us to pay 8 guys to mix dirt and pack it into the frames and then go over it three times with different finishes than it was for us to buy drywall and have them nail it up.”

Gypsies and Globetrotters
Note: This article is inspiring and the house is very nice, however, there are some small errors in the article. For instance, they say the walls are 5” thick when in actuality they’re probably 15” thick. And their definitions of adobe and cob aren’t quite right. Adobe is sun dried earth, not baked. What they calling cob, most natural builders call earthen plaster.

1 thought on “Building with Earthbags and Adobe/Cob”

  1. Their use of bamboo on the 2nd story is very nice. The original article has photos that show how they built the bamboo framework (wattle). This is a very efficient design and very likely will encourage other similar homes.


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