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An Earthbag Round House

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

The drainage pipe in place. A layer of pea gravel goes over the railroad ballast.

Homemade bag stand to put bags on while you're filling them and barbed wire stand.

Covering over our sediment fabric with pea gravel.

Our first and second 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 on.  When tamped, they are about 2 inches thick.

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


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.

Surveying my kingdom.

This is how far we got by the end of the building party.  Not too shabby, eh?

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

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

Shelves next to northern window/cold storage.  This is where the kitchen will be.

Tamping the wall.  Yeah, that's way up there. Two more rows will finish the bag wall.

Center post.  Locust wood.

Putting up joists.

Nail through ropes holds tighter than tieing.

Plywood goes 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).

EPDM is going on. 4-6 inches of straw were placed over the EPDM and hopefully this will eventually become a living roof.

Drip edge.  Works perfectly. MJ sifting clay.

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 neighbor, JD, had done a lot of plastering and showed us a really quick way to put it on with a trowel.

Floor insulation over 6 mil poly. Spreading sand to level it.

Cementing under the tiles. The finished floor - it's beautiful and tough.

Bottle wall done!

Almost ready to move in. We are adding a layer of perlite plaster (clay soil mixed with perlite) over the top of the old plaster for insulation, which we will paint with lime paint when we're done to help reflect solar gain.

Lime washes applied.  It is moisture resistant and lets the walls "breathe".

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


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