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!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bedroom Plaster

I had my first work party to get mud my bedroom and it was a great success. Kerry and Richard, who I'd heard of but never met, showed up with their two kids on Saturday. Also that day, David and Simone came over. They were all a huge help, especially David and Simone who returned the next day when Susan and her daughter also came over. We got 99% of the first layer done and about 95% of the second layer of plaster and it looks great!

For the first layer I followed Doni and Kaki's recipe for fat plaster, including wheat paste which is very easy to make. The second layer is a fat-free plaster with no straw. It was all much more time consuming than expected (like everything else) but we got a lot done. I left town for a week right after that, but now going back I'll be working on the bottle wall between the bedroom and the bathroom and doing the bedroom floor.

David and Simone working on the finish layer.

The base fat plaster layer.

The left is the finish layer and the right is the base layer of plaster.

A finished section of the wall.

David and Simone working away. The windows are beautiful!

The mess of the floor. Thankfully it'll be mud too.

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