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Our Small Earthbag Retaining Walls

 
Posts: 46
Location: Colorado Springs, CO zone 5A / Canon City, CO zone 5B
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Hi All-

I wanted to share with you our experience building 2 small earthbag retaining walls. The link is here: http://polishingthedoublewideturd.blogspot.com/

Last winter the plumbing under the house froze when the furnace went out. (We don't live there full time.) After we fixed all the leaks and put in new insulation and patched the belly board, we decided that the ungodly smell in the house we could not get rid of was the odor from the rodent infestation and leavings in the insulation under the house. (We were right. The furnace ducts were not sealed and the smell came right up through the floor ducts. Getting rid of the insulation and installing spray foam solved the smell.)

The entire project spanned these smaller ones:

1. Dig out 3 sides of the house (paid work)
2. Remove damaged skirting (DIY)
3. Remove rodent contaminated insulation (paid work - these guys are my heroes)
4. Spray foam insulation in less than 3' of overhead space (paid work)
5. Build new framing for skirting and install Pro-Panel (DIY)
6. Build earthbag retaining walls (DIY)
7. Back fill (paid work)
8. Re-plumb the house interior with pex (paid and DIY)

The parts of the whole plan that remain unfinished are to hook up the well, which is 350' down hill from the house and to finish the scoria bag tank/well house.

This earthbag work was the slowest, dirtiest, most physically demanding work we've ever done. (It didn't help that it was hot. We had to keep chasing shade to work in.) Even putting the burlap-crete coating on was horrifying because the lengths of fabric we used were quite long, and therefore quite heavy. That said, we'd do it all again because the resulting product is wonderfully sturdy and very cheap.

We could not have done it without the work of these people - Owen and Kelly (http://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/), Kaki and Doni (http://www.amazon.com/Earthbag-Building-Tricks-Techniques-Natural/dp/0865715076) and John Annesley (http://annesley.wordpress.com/burlap-crete-explained/). Thanks to you all, and all who share their experiences so others can benefit.

Tiki
 
Posts: 85
Location: Sandy Mush, NC
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Nice work!
 
Posts: 13
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Great work!
 
T Phillips
Posts: 46
Location: Colorado Springs, CO zone 5A / Canon City, CO zone 5B
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Thanks very much for the encouraging words!

We are now working on a scoria bag well/tank house, and I'm working solo most of the time because Mike still works in Colorado Springs full time. Thank heavens the weather is beautiful because we are so far behind schedule! (One of the dogs needed surgery during September.) I'm really feeling my age - 57 - and my sedentary lifestyle and my bicuspid aortic valve. Even though the bag are lighter, they're still heavier than a laundry basket. : ) And there's a lot more of them.

Enjoyed looking at your project, Joby. One of those EHB is looking might sweet right about now!
Row4NotTamped.jpg
[Thumbnail for Row4NotTamped.jpg]
Well/Tank House Beginnings
 
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