Wooden shipping pallets are typically available for free and are very practical for building homes, furniture and many other things. We’ve already explored several ways of building pallet walls: Post and Beam Pallet Wall, Earth Lodge Pallet Walls, Interior Pallet Walls, Straw Bale Pallet Walls.
This new design sprang from the idea of creating wider pallet walls to provide space for extra straw/clay insulation or other type of insulation. Total wall thickness is about 16” not including plaster and/or wall cladding. Note how the good side (top side) of pallets all face outward. The building process is as follows:
1. Construct the post and beam frame. In this proposed design, the posts are spaced two pallets apart.
2. Build the interior pallet wall. Horizontal 2×4 or 2×6 plates are attached at the base, between courses of pallets and along the top. Plates could be 3’-4’ salvaged boards from broken pallets.
3. Add a spacer board between the pallet walls to help stabilize the wall. This could consist of short pieces of scrap blocking or a long board.
4. Build the exterior pallet wall so the outer surface aligns with the outside of the posts. Some partial pallets are required. Partial pallets could be cut from damaged pallets.
5. Mix and stuff straw/clay inside the pallet wall.
10 thoughts on “Double Pallet Wall w/ Post and Beam”
Well, sir… we finally did it… Yesterday around 11 AM we finally bought — closed — on the 5 & 1/2 acres here in the Hill Country of Texas… thus closing forever (I hope) this era of looking for the right location…
Now its time to stop dreaming & planning & actually start building… & with that in mind..
I have decided to go with a small pallet structure 1st… as it is (correct me if I am wrong) the cheapest & fastest… & we need something immediately as we (finally) move from this rental house on Monday.
I have been looking for the updates on the $4 pallet house that’s being built here in TX. If I have missed it please update me… I am not a builder but will be relying on common sense & what I can learn from the materials on this blog & what not… Thanks for any help & all that has already been provided!!
The $4/ft. guy decided to use vertical and horizontal juniper poles (posts with horizontal rails/girts). He said they’re making good progress and will document their project on a blog. Stay tuned. Feel free to email me at strawhouses [at] yahoo.com
Interesting idea. I’m assuming that you’d finish the outside of the walls with cob or some other similar substance.
Is there any indication of how well this wall design compares to others in terms of R-value and strength against wind and other forces?
You could plaster with earth, lime or cement plaster. You could add wood (new or salvaged) or metal siding, etc.
This design is super strong. Post and beam is very strong. There’s a post every two pallets. The plates tie it all together horizontally. Something similar to this will be built soon in Texas. Stay tuned. Read here for the background story: http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/post-and-beam-pallet-wall/
This is one of the more exciting projects I’ve been involved with lately. They said they will document everything in detail and so eventually we’ll have more info on our blog.
The main advantage is cost (somewhere around $2-$4/sq. ft.) and speed and ease of construction. And it’s nice to have the roof up early on so you can work in the shade and out of the rain and snow. It’s a good option for those who aren’t physically up to tamping earthbags.
Roughly 16″ wall thickness provides plenty of space for insulation. In real cold climate, maybe use styrofoam/clay or styrofoam in the center with straw/coay in the pallets.
Hmm. I’ll be interested in following this. I plan to move to TX in the next few years, and build a post and beam roof with earthbag walls. However, this looks like an interesting alternative.
What are the dimensions of standard shipping pallets?
International approved pallets are 1m x 1.2m. Local pallet sizes vary. Find a good source of high quality free pallets that haven’t been treated with chemicals (one of my blog posts explains how to determine this). Once you know the pallet size, then you can tweak the home design to fit.
Texas is one of the most popular areas for natural builders. There are very few codes in many of the rural areas. This is attracting DIYers and pioneering types who want gardens, chickens, etc. and break away from the system a bit.
Owen, do you mean this one: http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/pallet-floors/#comment-9981
“Treated pallets have an oily, darker look. Untreated pallets, or what I assume are untreated, have a natural wood appearance.”
There are more specifics that explain the stamps on the pallets. Some are steamed, some are chemically treated.
– Heat treatment: The wood must be heated to achieve a minimum core temperature of 56 °C (132.8 °F) for at least 30 minutes. Pallets treated via this method bear the initials HT near the IPPC logo.
– Chemical fumigation: The wood must be fumigated with methyl bromide. Pallets treated via this method bear the initials MB near the IPPC logo. From 19 March 2010 the use of Methyl Bromide as an acceptable treatment according to ISPM15  has now been phased out.
Info about ISPM15: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISPM_15
Thanks for the update. A visual inspection should make it fairly clear if it’s soaked in chemicals are not.