Reinforced Earthbag Buttresses for Earthquake Zones

Larger structures such as schools and other commercial structures in earthquake zones require strong reinforcing. Patti Stouter and I have been working on a school design for Haiti. The first earthbag school is now under construction near Leogane. Part of the design is this reinforced earthbag buttress, which will help stabilize the long walls.

Reinforced Earthbag Buttresses for Earthquake Zones
Reinforced Earthbag Buttresses for Earthquake Zones

Complete drawings are now available for free on our website, along with many other resources on rebuilding with earthbags in disaster areas.

6 thoughts on “Reinforced Earthbag Buttresses for Earthquake Zones”

  1. I really do appreciate the fact that you are so giving of all this hard earned information, my compliments. I have watched, I think, all of your videos on you tube and bought the book and have learned a lot.

    I would like to build the castle enclosure but first I wish to put some hard-to-get-over walls around my land. Earthbags are a lot cheaper than wood privacy fencing on a linear footage basis.

    However, I cant figure out how you get the rebar thru the earthbags from top to bottom for a reinforcd bag wall. You cant hammer a 8 foot long section of rebard thru 8 feet of bags. How is this done?

    Thanks for clearing this up for me.

    • Pound in 1/2″ rebar at mid-height and the final rebar after the last bags or tubes. The rebar should overlap about 2′ so the wall can’t ‘hinge’ at mid-height.

      Also note, tubes are faster than bags. For privacy walls you want to think of ways to speed construction because of the length of walls needed. Stockpile ready to use soil that can be shoveled into the bags immediately without mixing. Use tubes instead of bags because they’re faster. Use a tube filling machine similar to this: Make sure you have a good design that is partially self reinforcing (jogs or curves versus straight runs), pier reinforcing, etc. Make sure you have plenty of labor. It is a labor intensive process. You need a lot of tubing so consider buying raschel mesh tubing.

  2. I am not altogether familiar with blogs so I have to admit I am rather shoehorning my question to this blog. Sorry.

    I am working with a small charity in Rwanda on improving the standard housing type. We have been making some good progress and are now looking at the posibility of in integrating earthbag construction.

    We have been working with the local comunity and a local builder on some prototyping. Initially we had some good results but the level of rainfall is giving us problems.

    Before I expand on the above further would anybody be willing to offer some advice if I can supply some more detailed information?

  3. Hello-
    Thank you so much for sharing your work. Our volunteer organization, Pisco Sin Fronteras, has been working in Pisco, Peru for since 2007 after an 8.0 earthquake devastated the region.

    We are wanting to introduce earth bag building to the area and wonder if you have any contacts in Peru for the bags. We are having difficulty finding them here.

    Thank you!



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