Most compressed earth blocks (CEBs) are made in a mechanical press with a mixture of sandy soil, clayey soil, and a small amount of cement and water. CEBs typically require no plaster and are popular for walls, privacy walls, planters and much more. We used CEBs on our outdoor kitchen and raised garden beds. Recently I’ve discovered some rather unusual and very interesting CEBs made with unconventional materials. In addition to the compressed blocks shown here, you could use crushed glass, lava rock, brightly colored soil in sediment-like layers, sea shells, crushed limestone and other low cost and sustainable materials. The main idea is to utilize what is affordable and locally available.
Laterite stone is ground, sieved, mixed with 5% cement and a setting agent, and pressed into blocks (mortarless interlocking blocks in thise case). I love the color.
Laterite blocks are specialty blocks and probably more expensive than conventionally CEBs. This could be an option for those who can afford it. They should be very durable and rainwater resistant since soft laterite turns as hard as brick when exposed to air. More information about laterite.
Image source: EcoBrick
Fly ash is an industrial waste product, a residue of coal based power plants. Fly ash is often added to concrete to reduce the use of cement. Fly ash can also be compressed into strong, durable blocks. The stark gray color can be easily improved by adding natural mineral pigments such as iron oxide. More about fly ash blocks.
Image source: Alibaba.com
This house by Deepak Godhi in Bangalore, India uses CEBs made with sandstone chips. The rough stone texture is particularly appealing. The rough exposed aggregate surface may be created with a pressure washer. Columns like these are often made with hollow CEBs to make room for rebar and concrete reinforcement.
Image source: Down to Earth.org
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