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!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Plaster and Floors and Bottle Walls!

Finally! Things are happening in my house. I have a helper--Raymond, who was also a huge help doing the roof last fall--and I am functioning again! I worked five days this week which hasn't happened since May.

We built a beautiful cob bottle wall this week and I began laying the bedroom floor yesterday. I had more or less resigned myself to the light brown clay color that is around, but after a big rain the other day I noticed some beautiful red clay by my house and collected some. It is making quite a gorgeous floor. I'll finish it tomorrow.

I've also hired someone to plaster the rest of the house, a process which will take him 3-4 days as opposed to the forever it would take me. And then this week Raymond and I are going to do the bathroom floor. After that voila! I'll install the clawfoot tub I got in Colorado. Mom's coming for a visit at the end of the month so I would like things to be relatively orderly, and for her to be able to take a shower, by then.


  1. This is so awesome!! I emailed you when you were first starting, it was about snakes! lol Seeing this really gives me ambition!! So thank you!

  2. Yay Aly! Your home is looking great. I love the floor. Good for you.

    1. Thanks you guys! I remember the email :)!

  3. Hi there, my name is Yara I am from Brazil but I am currently leaving in Mozambique, where I am building a research and environment center using some eco-techniques. I am trying to find out a solution for the floor and I was wondering if you could please send me more details how you make yours. Also if you know I good way to plaster the bottles wall I would appreciate (clay is rare in the area that I am). Please send me an email yara@zavoralab.com thank you and congratulation for your build!