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Best way to tear earth bag walls down?

 
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Well, here is the ugly side of a failed green building project... I started the work nearly 4yrs ago now, and had to stop everything when an unplanned pregnancy turned out to be triplets (and the child I already had wasn't quite two when I had them). Life has been pretty different since then, finances had to go elsewhere, and no one else around me really knew about or cared for the green building idea, so unfortunately everything sat and went to waste. The bags are extremely damaged by the sun and the contents are all spilling out freely. People attempted to tarp them, but the tarps deteriorated as well or blew off, and the elements had their way with it all. It is what it is.
I can still barely do a small project in my own backyard these days with all of these toddlers in tow, but I am going through a divorce and need to relocate soon-ish. I would love to get back onto my property (we lived in an older fifthwheel then), but will definitely need to remove everything before I can start anything new there. That is the building site I would like to use, however, and the rubble trench foundation being there already would save me some money on this new build.

I was wondering if I could get some advice on a best method or approach to tearing down old walls.
It will probably be a pretty unpleasant task no matter how I spin it. But if someone has had experience in this area, and might have some insights, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you in advance for your time and any information you may have to offer.
 
gardener
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Alicia;
I would think that a small front end loader (tractor with bucket) would do the job with the least physical labor on your part. What is the plan for the fill ? That same bucket loader could spread it about or load it up for transport.

Short of that how about a big barbq/beer  party with pulling down the house as fun... ?  
Oh that's right young children... drop the beer then. Lots of kids ,once its low enough maybe they could help...
 
Alicia Reed
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I have gone and surprised myself with my twisting-turning approach to planning again. Haha.
After another look in a less discouraged mindset, I think I will reinforce the deteriorating portions of wall with a form and poured concrete. Still less concrete than a conventional build, and making use of the existing structure, which I do believe will still hold weight once sealed in and once the falling/fallen bags are removed.

Any tips on this would be welcome!

Wondering if I will need reinforcement/ties to keep this concrete from falling away/separating from the bags? Some rebar placed in the wall, perhaps?

As for the kids and their helpfulness, I am doing a celebratory happy-dance today because I just camped out on the property with the kids on a *whim* yesterday (big deal considering the preparations often desired with four tiny humans) because being out there with them was actually *enjoyable* rather than just being extremely disheartening and very difficult. It's not their fault, of course, they were all two and four years old last year! It has just been a very trying phase of life. But I am finally back to starting to feel like myself, again! I am outdoors making and doing stuff with my own two hands, which makes my heart very happy.
 
pollinator
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Hi Alicia -

I'm glad that you've looked at this with fresh eyes. Be mindful, though, that concrete and earth are pretty incompatible as building materials. The concrete will prevent the earth from "breathing" and can lead to a moisture trap.

Are the earthbag walls sound enough that you could put a thick layer of cob over them? Or lime plaster on the exterior? That would allow the structure to breathe properly and salvage the hard work that you've already done. You might need some extra reinforcing, the same as if you were going with the concrete plan.

Also, have you got some photos we could look at? 1000 words, etc.
 
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As mentioned, traditional concrete walls will cause moisture issues, but limecrete is possible as well as the suggestion already given.
Lime crete uses lime instead of portland cement as the binder.
If there is room for the additional thickness of the wall as suggested, cob may be more economical dollar wise, but cob will take a lot of time.
Good lluck with the project and the 4 little ones, I dont envy you.
 
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