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Can I use gravel for earth bag domes?

 
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Hello, I'm wondering if I can make ~12-16ft diameter domes where I only use gravel as the fill, and then mortar plaster the dome. If it's possible, what is the minimum size and maximum size of the gravel supposed to be? If I can't use just gravel, can I add sand?  Thank you.
 
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No because the reason earth mixtures are used is that they will dry out and stay 'stuck' together.
Gravel will never stay as a single 'block' and so there is a great risk of the wall just draining away if anything happens to split a bag.
Is there a reason you ask?
 
Lang Fren
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The reason I ask is because I was told by 5 earthbag builders online that it would take me 6-8 months to build one 12ft diameter dome if I gave my self 4 hours each day dedicated to building it. That sounds very...very....long and I need to erect my house sooner than later (series of connected domes) so I was wondering if there was a way to save time by not mixing filler. No matter what, I'll be alone and I really didn't want to give up on this earthbag plan, but it seems I'll have to do a light gauge steel house which will break my heart/spirit but can be done in one month.

UPDATE: Also found this, this person seems to have many articles about earthbag building but I dont know if hes credible.

http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/low-cost-fill-materials/

"Other examples of low cost fill material for earthbags include: subsoil (also called fill dirt by excavators), clay, caliche, road base, crusher fines, crushed limestone, sand, scoria, pumice, gravel, dredgings (this includes silt and clay as explained above as well as crushed coral and sand from marinas)."
 
John C Daley
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Earthbag construction by yourself is slow.
Gadgets can be made to speed up the filling process and you may google them.
Can I ask what you are trying to achieve and how long do you have available?

This link discusses some alternative bag fillers. But they all have problems, they rot, cannot hold a load, caqnnot be drilled into. So when you read that stones and sawdust can be usewd, ask what outcome is being sought.
If you want a home to stand for 20 yeras, clay based soil that hardens is the only material to use in my opinion.
.earthbagbuilding.com/faqs/miscfill.htm
 
Lang Fren
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Thanks for the help.  My goal is to build a small home consisting of domes. Small is subjective but those "eco-dome" plans seem nice where its 1 big dome and maybe 4 small domes connected to it (although I may need more domes but at least something can be made where we can move in and then continue the rest).  I will be alone. I have access to affordable dirt + cement + gravel + sand + cut PP bags. The only issue I have is that I am alone. As I said earlier, I was told by multiple people that a 12 foot wide dome would take 6-8 months if I gave 4 hours a day of my time for building. So that would not even cover the bedroom bathroom and kitchen so it seems it would take more than 1 year for me to build something to be able to move in. This is why I asked about gravel only for the fill. The only tools I saw for making things faster in my case if I was to do soil + cement is a mini mixer for the soil + cement.

I need to build a structure within 4 months that we can move in. We are fine with having limited space but it has to be reasonable/comfortable enough where we arent sleeping next to the bathroom or the makeshift kitchen area is not next to our bed. So with that said....it seems like I have to cancel this entire plan of considering earthbags.
 
Lang Fren
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John C Daley wrote:
Gravel will never stay as a single 'block' and so there is a great risk of the wall just draining away if anything happens to split a bag.



Even if the dome is mortar plastered?
 
John C Daley
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Look at this list How to fill sand bags quickly

4 months is an impossible time line to have the place set out as you describe.
Its my guess it could be a building site for 2 yeras, based on my experience.
Why 4 hours and not more?
Can you pay to have wooden formwork built to save your own time, conveyors to move and lift the full bags ?
 
John C Daley
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This is a small home and the amount of work is very visible.
 
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Work/Trade for the 2022 PDC, PTJ, and SKIP events
https://permies.com/t/166040/experiences/Work-Trade-PDC-PTJ-SKIP
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