Building with earthbags is essentially building with adobe bricks without going through the lengthy process of making them. You take polypropylene sandbags, fill them with a moist mix of sand and clay, tamp them down hard and connect the layers with 4 point barbed wire. Then, you cover them over with an earthen plaster.

In reality, I didn't use polypropylene bags. Some Brasilians started a type of construction they call hyperadobe which uses mesh bags, or continuous tubing, made from the same material as the onion or potato bags in the grocery store. They don't require barbed wire, though otherwise the process is just about the same.

As I talk about in the blog posts, my design has been guided by simplicity and efficiency. More than anything, what's been most important to me is to live in a house that I myself, with no building experience whatsoever, can design, build and maintain. A natural extension of that has been the desire to live in a peaceful space. For me that means a home that's in tune with nature, thus limiting the use of imported materials for construction, in addition to those that will be needed later on, such as for heating. Please enjoy reading, ask me any questions, get inspired, and come help and learn!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bag Suppliers

Finally! One of those significant steps has been taken. I ordered mesh bags from Volm. The lady who helped me, Candy, has been beyond helpful and nice which, along with their great price, caused me to order from her.

I was fairly certain and hopeful that Fox bags was going to come through on the continuous rolls. After dealing with a very unfriendly man, Rick, who made it as clear as he could that my business was a waste of his time, I finally got a sample. There was a miscommunication and what he has is continuous rolls of fabric, not tubing.

I had also thought that Jim, a very nice man, from jjsupply which is conveniently located in southern New Mexico, would be able to come up with the tubing but alas, he has only the bags. He also has polypropylene bags in stock in addition to other useful things and has experience with earthbag builders.

Other people I spoke to who have a mix of mesh, burlap and polypropylene bags were:

United bags, @ $315/1000;
Fisher bag in Portland @ $490/1000;
Jumbosack @$260/1000--the contact there, Dean, is helpful and responsive;
Bag Supplies, located in Canada @ CN$218/1000--Patti, on the earthbag building blog, was looking into the possibility of this company having continuous rolls in the future; Onlinefabricstore.net @ $520/2000 (bulk discount);
Farberbags @ $470/1000;
KDiamondsupply via Acebag @$393/1000 (16"x31");
Cadybag @ $400/1000; Sacramento bags @ $400/1000 or $310/2000.
NYP-corp @ $210/1000;
Embcoderre, located in Canada--they have bags and may have continuous tubing--the lady I spoke with was quite nice and helpful.

All the quoted bag prices are mesh bags of 18"x30" or thereabouts. Though I didn't get samples from most, I would venture to guess they're all selling more or less the same product.


  1. Wow, wonderful of you to share the fruits of your research this way! I'm currently scrounging bags, but anticipate that I'll need to buy some at some point.

    I noticed that you've pushed the building start date back to May. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one dealing with "speed bumps." :)

  2. Your font and theme make your site really difficult to read, so I subscribed to your blog in order to read your posts in my feed reader. Now your feed is showing only excerpts. I'm disappointed, but afraid I will have to unsubscribe. :(

  3. Try clicking on "read more" to read the full post :-)

  4. Yeah...I'm not going to be there till mid-April so by the time I set up camp and have excavated (not me, a backhoe!) and have stuff in order enough so that I don't realize a day after beginning that I don't have the plastic I need and get derailed, I figure it will be May 1st. Best to start mellow and right, no?

  5. Indeed! Are you renting a backhoe? Maybe we could help each other with excavation and split the cost?

  6. that could be cool. havent looked into the details of it at all...ive never used one, have you? would love to learn...together would probably be easier. i want to dig the last week or so of april, you?

  7. This is Steve Villa with Superior Sandbag Systems. I wanted to get some information out regarding 14" & 18" wide woven tubular fabric that we have in supply and want to sell. For our purposes, erosion and flood control, we have upgraded the bag material we use with our machine to a heavy duty, military spec material. To make room, I have about 85 rolls of each 14inch and 18inch tubular bag material (170 rolls total) that we want to offer at a considerable savings to the public. The fabric is an 850 denier, 10×10 construction, 2000hr UVI material, white in color. The rolls are 6000/lf long and I will offer them for the $0.14 & $0.15 per foot, FOB Santa Ana, Ca. until they are all gone. They are sold by the roll only. Minimum of (1) roll. They have our company name printed on every 42 inches on the material. This is excellent material that is UV stabilized for 1600hrs and perfect for earthbag structures.
    Contact me direct on my cell at 949-338-5978 Steve Villa Superior Sandbag Systems www.superiorsandbagsystems.com stevev@ameripacific.com

    1. This is Steve Villa again from Superior Sandbag Systems. Thanks to all of you for buying my tubular material rolls. I have sent them all over the States and into Canada. I still have about 20 rolls of each size and everyone who has purchased has given me the thumbs up. Call me up if I can help you. 949-338-5978

  8. It's fabulous writing man. I liked and appreciate you post of earthbags. Interesting stuff, keep going...
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