Untreated Burlap Tubes — 7 Comments

  1. I have a question that I’m going to ask here, even though it’s not directly related to this post.

    I’m in the process of scavenging bags, but also have been offered 1250 lnft of polypropylene tubing at a great price. Could I combine tubing and bags, and if so, what would be the best way to do this?


    • Sure, just make sure they’re the same width or the plaster job will be more difficult and costly. You could arrange the bags and tubes any way you want, although I would use bags for the gravel bag foundation. They would be easier to fill with gravel than tubes.

  2. Here’s an email from Jozef. But what happened to Jozef shouldn’t happen with untreated burlap.

    “I’ve used burlap bags for EB building in the past. I got them from coffee roasters, rice baggers… U name it. I even got a bolt of burlap material from a seamstress and used that. There is good friction between the bags but one thing I noticed, over a short time the first coat of earth plaster ( natural, lime or cement based) tended to separate from the burlap, regardless of recipe.
    I was doing some mushroom cultivation in burlap and straw, at that time and had very few success in getting “flushes” ( mushroom production) although the mycelium (roots) would grow on the straw. I couldn’t figure out why. Went over my methodology over and over. The only step I skipped was washing the burlap. I asked around and found that burlap is often treated with an oil wash.., everything from kerosine to petrol was used to prevent the burlap from degrading over time. I went to a fabric store and pulled some burlap off the shelf and smelled it. There was a distinct smell of diesel on the fabric.
    This oil interface could account for the plaster separation.
    To counter this measure, instead of washing I put some detergent in with the top coat, or I sprayed the surfaces to be coated with a soap wash. This remedied the problem.”


  3. I’m not too familiar with burlap. Wouldn’t it rot over the years from the moisture of the soil inside the bags? Also, wouldn’t this be more expensive than poly bags? On a side note, I’m working on an idea for incorporating some sort of dehumidifier system built into the EB house that supplies the homeowner with fresh drinking water directly filtered from the air. Have you ever thought of this and/or do you have any thoughts or ideas on this?

    • Yes, it would probably rot. That’s why I suggested stabilizing the soil.

      Yes, probably more expensive. But some may be willing to pay extra for 100% natural products.

      I’ve read about devices that make water from air. You’ll have to do your own research on that.

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