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Enclosing covered deck w/earthbags  RSS feed

 
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I have an older house in the country that I moved into 2 years ago this fall. The house had a few different previous owners who each had different ideas on what they wanted to do. There are no restrictions or hoa's so if it is not "too ugly" my wife says i can do whatever. The property is near Austin so pretty mild winters with a handful of painfully cold days but long, hot summers. It seems that the common objective was to better insulate the house and that is my goal as well.

This is a pier and beam house about 1100 sq feet. There is a covered deck that is in various stages of enclosing that goes around the house on every side except the north. It is basically in three sections. The front of the house/ first part faces west, is an open deck just roofed. This gets blasted by the hot afternoon sun. Shadecloth helps and solar blankets over the windows let the ac take a break, but this is not the prettiest solution.
The south facing part is roofed, has wood panels on the sides, salvaged windows and insulation under half of the floor. This is the part I would like to finish making "livable" next.
The east facing portion I have finished off the traditional way. Lumber,insulation, drywall, siding etc. I have been wondering if there is not a cheaper, simpler and better way to handle the rest of the halfway enclosed deck and possibly the rest of the house.

The question put simply is how bad or good of any idea is it to line the walls of an existing building with earthbags?

I have read that dirt alone is not a very good insulator but the main goal is to better insulate the house. Since there is insulation already I am curious about the effect the bags could have.

In my younger days I would have just gone for it and put bags up around the whole place just to see what happened, but I am slowly learning the value in a good plan. More importantly I am trying to wise up and learn from the mistakes of others. I have made plenty of my own.

Any thoughts, comments,criticisms or questions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Corey
 
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I'm not an expert and am new to these forums myself. The first thing that struck me with your post is that you want to enclose a deck that has an existing roof. Is it a traditional deck, standing on piers, with deck boards with the gaps in them? If that's the case, I would think the weight of the earth bags would be a major consideration here. Most of the material I've seen on earth bag building has shown the work being done right off a footer or on a piece of land that's packed and stable. Never built off a wood frame structure. The weight would probably result in a lot of problems down the road and maybe a lot sooner than later.

If the deck is framed up well enough, maybe strawbale contruction would work for you.
 
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