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!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Roof Progress

Earthbags as blocking along the edges and 2x6 wood blocking between.

Some very basic and unifinished stairs.  


  1. This is so exciting! Can't wait to come out and see it in person.

  2. Hey! What an amazing project you have going! Are you part of the earthship community? Are you insulating at all or going for thermal mass-passive solar? How will you finish your roof detail?




  3. Hi Aly, was it difficult process to get a building permit in Taos, NM?

  4. Going great Aly, hope to come visit sometime in the fall and help out.

  5. Earthartbuild--
    I am not with the earthship people though they are a few miles away as the crow flies. The ceiling will be insulated but not the walls. I'm going to put sheepswool in between the beams and then make a ceiling out of ? Figure out that detail next year.

  6. Azaus-
    Building permit needs and difficulties vary with where you live and what you want to build so your experience will depend on your own circumstances.

  7. You'll be out soon Susan. You just don't know it yet :-)

    Thanks James, would love for you to come out!

  8. Who would have thought that, during that long lonely flight, you would be able to turn one of your dreams into reality? Well, as they say, there's a rainbow always after the rain. By the way, it's already the first quarter of 2012. Is your house done? It looked a very interesting house. =)

    Rodney Orton

    1. The house is as done as it needed to be for me to leave my baby for a few months :-)
      Roof, walls, a bit of plaster...more coming starting in April/May when it warms up!