The First Permitted Tire Bale Home in New Mexico

I recently received the following email from Kimi Ishikawa:
We are in the process of building the first-ever fully permitted tire bale home in New Mexico!
I exchanged emails with Owen Geiger while we were exploring building methods, and shared info with him on Foxhole Homes, the organization that hopes to build tire bale homes in Alamogordo for veterans.  I just checked back on the Foxhole article and noticed your notes about tire bale homes, and followed the link to your article.
I was very interested in seeing Precision Structural Engineering mentioned — we hired them to engineer our home (after seeing that your blog recommended them for alternative methods).  We schooled them on tire bales — they thought they were used like straw bales, as infill only. We shared info with them on Michael Shealy’s homes, and any info we could dig up on engineering with tire bales.  We were very very interested to see that they were sharing the PDF of our house plans!  Excellent.  I would love to see a new era of cheap and easy homes being built with tire bales, getting them out of landfills!
Your article is correct that tire bale homes were built decades ago.  But that appeared to stop with the death of Michael Shealy.  I don’t think they have built any since in Colorado.  And of course, there has never been one built legally in NM (I wouldn’t know if anyone built one under the radar, obviously…)
Anyway, here is our blog post on our build, in case you have any interest in including it in the Natural Building Blog:  We have started the foundation, and our tire bale recycling permit should be in the mail this Friday.  Of course there is nothing natural about tire bales and nothing natural about the concrete foundation our engineers required… but we are all in favor of repurposing materials.  If we were 30 years younger we would be using earthbags and spending years… but even Owen counseled against that as too labor-intensive for our situation!  We do plan to put in an earthen floor and to use earthen plaster, etc.
I highly recommend checking out their blog post about building this house.

1 thought on “The First Permitted Tire Bale Home in New Mexico”

  1. Thank you for this post, Kelly! Here is an update from our blog — our tire bales are installed!

    I went into a lot of detail in case anyone out there is curious about what’s involved in erecting the walls.

    Also, PSE has updated their website, and they have this whole page devoted to tire bale construction.

    Now that the walls are up, we will be going back to dig through Natural Building Blog archives for references on hyperadobe (infill for the post & beam above the bales), DIY earthen shotcrete (for exterior & interior walls, and for earthen floors), etc!

    All the best to you,



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