Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Earthbags- what kind of materials are ok?

 
Posts: 8
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All I keep seeing is people talking about woven plastic bags, which can be pretty expensive. I've found a source for burlap coffee bags that are relatively cheap (about 80 cents per 30"x40" bag). Would these be durable enough to make a home with or would they degrade too fast? burlap bags
 
Posts: 135
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Meran Moore wrote:All I keep seeing is people talking about woven plastic bags, which can be pretty expensive. I've found a source for burlap coffee bags that are relatively cheap (about 80 cents per 30"x40" bag). Would these be durable enough to make a home with or would they degrade too fast? burlap bags



My understanding is that they can be used, with the caveat that they should be used with a proper "adobe" mix or stabilized with lime or cement. They will eventually degrade, but by the time they do, the adobe or stabilized earth will have hardened to the point where the bag's tensile strength is no longer required. Many people buy the woven polypropylene bags as misprints at a discount, or collect used bags. Farmers/ranchers often have many, because they're used to hold animal feed and other agricultural products.

Before you buy anything, however, spend the money on a good earthbag building book or two.

I just read this book:

Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks and Techniques (Natural Building Series)
by Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer
Link: http://amzn.com/0865715076

I understand that it's fairly highly regarded, and I learned a lot from it.

Kevin
 
Posts: 3375
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you looked here: http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/ They have a lot of info, free plans, cheap blueprints, and a good instructional youtube series.

Coffee bags should work as long as they are all the same size and not too big for stabilized material. You are essentially making a soft-form rammed earth. I think in a lot of ways they would work better. Poly feedbags fail spectacularly--once you get a small hole you are done and need to get a new bag. I wouldn't use natural material as the bottom layer, though.
 
Get me the mayor's office! I need to tell her about this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!