Monday, June 15, 2015


The following blog post was taken from Good Home Designs because it is by far the most economical awesome house I have seen to date. This house is totally doable by most people with a bit of common sense. Even a bad job would still be awesome using these age old techniques that these awesome people used.

Earthbag-HouseLooking for a very stable design which does not only come cheap from the start but also makes you save money in the long run.

Due to its shape and materials used, the earthbag house has less area than your normal home, so it’s cheaper to keep it supplied with energy. Don’t be scared if you never built circular structures before, because the example shown here used a technique called the compass arm which you can easily learn.

Recycled or salvaged materials were used wherever it was possible, like in the door or on the floor.

The tutorial has photos showcasing almost each step of the building process so if you decide to replicate the project, use it to help and guide you along the way. At the end you will have the comfort of 450 ft² with less than $5,000 spent overall.


Starting on the rubble trench foundation. Railroad ballast was used for the rubble.

Covering over our sediment fabric with pea gravel.

Two rows of stem wall – 80 lb sack concrete. 2 strands of barbed wire go between every row. The thing in the middle is our building compass, made from chain link parts, used to keep the walls round and level.


Firewood used to hold the barbed wire in place. The row of gravel bags going in. When tamped, they are about 2 inches thick.


Door frame up. The bottom layer of bags are double bags filled with gravel to keep water from wicking up into the walls.


A strip anchor to hold the door in place. Filling a bag with a mix of clay soil from on-site and “screenings” from a gravel quarry.



Mary-Jane and Morgan on right


The little window near the camera will also be a cold storage in the winter. Note our first lintel over window in back. This keeps the wall stable over an “open” area such as a door or window.


Ropes in wall are to tie down joists when we put the roof on. Note flue through which stove pipe will exit the wall.



Center post. Locust wood.



Plywood going on.


First roof layer – 6 mil poly. Water proof tape to join sheets. We also put silicone caulk to help seal it. Cardboard layer (for a little extra insulation ).


Styrofoam (saved from dumpsters) bags sealing between joists with chicken wire for plaster over them. Hose separates earth and cement plaster. Cement wicks water up.







Our house was looking rather like a cupcake. The loft in all of it’s glory with queen sized futon on top and office underneath .

Earthbag Building is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with bags filled with earth—or earthbags.
Book available at Amazon

Images @ Eminpee Fotography

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