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DIY Rammed Earth Home with 2-3 People

 
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Who has made their own engineered rammed earth home? It's very appealing to me, but without industrial equipment it seems like it would take ages for a small team to finish. Any thoughts or experiences?

My family is saving up for a property, and we like the idea of rammed earth but can't afford a contractor to build it for us. We could buy manual tampers(maybe one air compressor tamper),and rent a small tractor. There are several local quarries I know of to purchase the earthen materials. 2 of us could work 4-6 hours per day 7 days a week while the 3rd would be a few hours on the weekends. We have experience in home construction, but not rammed earth.

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Rammed Earth Bricks aka Compressed Earth Bricks are the way to go.

 
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Recognising the issue of tons of work is the best start you can make.
I have been involved with earth building a long time.
There are different ways and each has its merits.
With rammed earth slow construction is a problem.
You could look at earth bags, compressed bricks have one advantage, if you build the roof structure first and plan on in-fill walls, you have a shady and dry spot to work under.
As you make the bricks, they can be stacked out of the weather and the roof will catch water for the production process.
With the roof, no time is spent weather protecting the walls.
Think about that.
 
Alexander Armstrong
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Howdy guys

Thanks for the advice. Ive looked into CEBs and they seem way more convenient. It will probably be the way we go about our house, but I just love the aesthetics of the solid rammed earth walls, and would put in the extra work for it if I'm inspired enough.

I've never thought about using CEBs to make a roofing structure first, and then fill in the walls second. That my friend sounds like a great plan.

There's a post on here about building CEB presses, something I will look more into.
 
John C Daley
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I have helped on about 500 earth built homes in Australia.
I developed the roof first idea when I realised the benefits of shade, rainfall collection etc.
Some people rage load bearing walls are better.
I have never claimed or suggested any design is better, but I think roof first in very convenient.
If you use steel poles, and even steel roof structure it goes up quickly, will not rot and if you install roof blankets immediately under the roof iron, it helps a lot in hot climates.

I have also built the Dalrac Mudbrick press that is similar to a Cinva ram, but with a wider brick.
In Australia there are also companies that can come and press bricks or make 'puddled' bricks on site for you.
Puddled bricks are called 'adobe' bricks elsewhere.
 
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Location: Echo Park, Los Angeles CA
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Hi Alexander,
 I was wondering if you made a decision on CEB vs Rammed Earth. I’m with you on the appealing look and feel of the finished rammed earth walls. I’ve got a Hilti combi-hammer that I was concidering getting a tamping bit for. I’ve also been looking at all the manual CEB machines. So far the ones that look good to me are the;
Auram 3000 (India) kind of pricey $2600+?
QMR2-40 (China) $1000
Startop Hitop (Thailand) $1700

 There was someone on Permies (I think his last name is Cantrell) that converted a metric design to inches and built it. He shared lots of great info on how to go about building your own for around $300. I can TIG weld and fabricate but with all those moving parts camming off each other, I’m leaning towards just buying one.

Good luck!
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