Do-It-Yourself Earthbag Building

The two largest obstacles to home ownership are expensive building materials and overly complex construction methods that require specialized skills and equipment. The problem is so acute that over 70 percent of Americans are unable to afford contractor-built homes. With the current downturn in the economy and the loss of millions of jobs, the housing situation in the U.S. is definitely taking a turn for the worse.

Everyone needs a place to live – shelter is a basic need. But since the current system is bypassing the vast majority of the population, it’s time to investigate simpler, more affordable building methods.

By using dirt-cheap building materials (earth, sand, gravel, recycled materials, etc.) and eliminating expensive contractors and specialized equipment, the cost of construction can be slashed to a fraction of conventional housing costs.

To read the entire article, click here.

4 thoughts on “Do-It-Yourself Earthbag Building”

  1. I’ve been looking into Earthbag building for some time now. I read every bit of information I can get. Right now, I’m trying to build earthbag dog shelters, to keep my babies warm this winter. I can’t keep them all inside. My house was hit by a huge branch last winter,and basically destroyed, but it’s probably too late to build one for me. My son thinks it’s getting too cold to start building now. He doesn’t think it will dry quick enough. I haven’t seen anything about what temperatures to build in. Going by the cob rule, I thought it would be fine to build as long as the earth was workable. There’s just the two of us, and I’m disabled. Do you think it’s possible to accomplish this before winter? Loved your article. Thank you, Joyce

    • If you build in the conventional way (earthbags filled with moist soil) then yes, you want to protect from freezing. Otherwise the soil will expand and weaken the structure.

      But you can also build with bags filled with scoria (lava rock) or other types of insulation. Scoria is my first choice for lightweight, easy to build earthbag walls. This method takes a fraction of the time and labor in comparison to tamping regular earthbags.

      You can also stabilize the soil to speed drying. One good solution is alker technology: This costs more money and requires mixing, but the soil sets up in only 15-20 minutes.

      Get some helpers and you can do it. Build a small storage shed or something first to refine your technique.

  2. I found this very informative and necessary in the world of today. I hope you check out my website and see what you think of my article on building a home. If you dislike how I used your website, please let me know and I’ll take it down.

    Thank you very much for your website. It was a welcome sight, with costs being what they are.

    • Thanks for posting that Kris. You’re right, there are many workable solutions such as earthbag building that can bridge the housing gap now. Maybe this economic slump will encourage people to look into alternative ways of doing things.


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