Cost of Earthbag Houses

One of the most frequent questions people ask is how much do earthbag houses cost? It’s a little difficult to answer because there are many factors that affect the total cost. A lot depends on what features you want to add, whether or not you have building codes, how much work is done by the homeowner, and the details of the building itself.

A small, simple house made of natural building materials could be built by a DIY builder for about $10/sq.ft. This assumes doing most everything yourself and using the low-tech building ideas explained on our websites. It doesn’t include things like land, building permits and utility hookups, since the price of these things vary wildly.

Keeping in mind it is much easier and lower cost to build with earthbags in rural areas with minimal building codes, let’s look more closely at one example. Here are the approximate costs of a 15’ interior diameter roundhouse with earthen plaster and floor, recycled materials where feasible, and reciprocal pole roof with sod on top.

Recycled earthbags @ .20/bag = $108
Soil = $100 (bag fill, plaster, floor)
Gravel bag foundation = $20
Barbed wire = $35
Roof poles = $25 (with firewood permit from national forest)
Salvaged barn wood roof decking = free
6 mil poly = $25 (for roof)
Reinforced concrete bond beam = $100
Doors, windows, hardware, bathroom fixtures, tile, etc. from yard sales/barter = $175
Sod = free
Plumbing/electrical = $200
Composting toilet = $20
Earthbags w/rice hulls ceiling insulation = $10
Reed mat ceiling = $40
Recycled wood for cabinets = $100
Nails, screws = $42
Total cost = $1,000

This works out to be less than $6/square foot for this 176 sq. foot roundhouse in a non-code area. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but you could double this cost to cover gas and any extras and still have a nice little house for $2,000. Now you can see why we’re so excited by earthbag building. It’s a real game changer for those in need of affordable housing.

10 thoughts on “Cost of Earthbag Houses”

  1. Saw one of these being built on Animal planet Building of the Grid , although they never told how much it cost it was 750 Arizona and it was plenty spacious for two people and came out amazing!

  2. Hello. My name is michael liptsey looking for to build two story home in coober pedy s.a sandbag home how much will it cost and could you contact myself on 0886 725573 and needing someone to help build someone who knows how it works please contact me on above number thank you so kindly regards mike.

  3. Can we see more pictures of the low cost earthbag house. And maybe a source for the .20 bags. What I’ve found on lots of sites is lots of general information, but when it comes to sharing specifics, well, I realize that people are in business, but it sure would help us low income folks to be able to get access to the items mentioned. Thanks

    • The roundhouse would look something like this, except with a living roof: Earthbag Roundhouse

      It’s very simple — just a round earthbag building with one main room, bathroom, one exterior door and windows. We’re going to build one in April during a workshop.

      Here’s the link to the recommended roofing system: Reciprocal roofs

      The 20 cent bags are an estimated price of what you could probably negotiate with farmers who have excess feed bags. Many grains and feed products come in these polypropylene bags. Just ask around at feed stores, etc.

      We provide hundreds of pages of free info on our websites. No one else to my knowledge even comes close to providing all these things for free. Keep looking and you’ll find almost everything you need to build, including the specifics you’re looking for.

      Our websites include:
      Green Home
      Earthbag Building Blog
      Earthbag House Plans
      GRISB Blog


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