Anyone considering a large earthbag project should look into the advantages of mechanizing the building process with machinery since construction work by its nature is labor intensive. A foundation trench for instance could be dug by a mini-excavator or backhoe in a few hours versus a week of manual labor. The same trench could be filled very quickly with gravel using the same machine.
Mini-excavators come in a range of sizes and costs. Small sized mini-excavators could be used to fill earthbag tubes with a bucket chute and bit of practice. (No one has done this yet to my knowledge, but I see no reason it wouldn’t work.) Soil for filling bags could be excavated on site. The same machine would expedite work high on the wall, including hoisting concrete for the bond beam and setting trusses. You could hire out the work, rent the excavator or possibly buy one if the project size justifies the cost. Tractors and bobcats can also do much of the same work, of course.
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7 thoughts on “Mini-Excavator for Earthbag Building”
Hello, what sized bucket on a small excavator could be used for the digging of the foundation? I’ve been considering this, as my project is going to be about 50 foot diameter. (Professionally engineered.) However I am also hesitant of using a small excavator due to concerns that using one could lead to a circle that is not as uniform as hand trenching. Could this cause my foundation and footings to not be stable?
The foundation needs to be at least as wide as the bag wall, which is usually about 16″ wide. A skillful person should be able to make a good trench with a small excavator.
Mini-Excavator for Earthbag Building service Anyone considering a large earthbag project should look into for client great!This may efficiently undertake perhaps the stickiest mud without getting stuck.
My question is in the wrong place, but wasn’t sure where to ask.
Where could I find the best info on putting earthbags around our existing home? I know most of what I’ve read doesn’t recommend, but at our age, we are not prepared to start from scratch. We put together 3 older trailers 20 yrs ago & remodeled. We have too much work invested in our existing home. The problem is we would like It to be warmer in the winter, cooler in summer. It’s hard to heat. Thank you!
Wrapping an existing house with earthbags or straw bales requires extending the roof and working around the windows. For bales, you need a foundation or use gravel bags. If there are no codes, consider using gravel bags up to the height where moisture can cause problems then add bales that are light and easy to work with. Plaster everything and it will look like a typical plastered house if you move the windows to the exterior.
We managed to get one used for around $5500. It’s more of a giant farm tractor with an excavator on the back, so it’s a bit slow going, harder to use than a skid steer, and we have to put in a bit of a road just to get to the build site. Be sure to get the user’s manual for your exact model, if we hadn’t we might have put diesel into the oil tank.
Good to hear your experience.