Earthbag Building Construction in Chiang Mai

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  • Earthbag Construction

  • Dig foundation

  • Can start with Contained Gravel (CG) in double earthbags for several layers (limits dampness transmission)
  • Contained Earth (CE) or some clay+rice husk mix (adds insulation, lowers weight), can have separate layer of insulated tube bags around the outside.
    • CE may contain 5-50% clay
    • For very high clay density can use up to 50% aggregate
    • Can use engineered mix such as road base to save time
    • May contain aggregate, as long as it tamps flat
  • Sink rebar through the bags, and 2' into the earth (several overlapping layers of rebar)
  • Earthbag walls usually 15" thick (??)
  • Earthbag walls generally 16" (14" x 26" sandbags) + plaster (??)
  • Corbel or brick-arch for lintels
  • Earth berming against the walls to help with flooding
  • Moisture barrier in the floor, linseed oil coating
  • Earth plaster, lime plaster even better
  • Eyebrows (protective overhangs) over windows
  • Built-in furniture (earthbag benches) can help reinforce the structure
  • Rubble-filled trenches (gravel trench, then gravel-filled bags as foundation
  • Center pole or column to support radiating roof poles or rafters
  • Can use metal roofs for water collection, hexogonal or octogonal for round houses
  • Team size of 2-3, rotate tasks to stay fresh
  • Cover earthbags with tarps if it is going to rain
  • Take time to ensure everything is plumb and flat and same length
  • Have distance between windows and doors
  • Put in frame early (that includes windows/doors)
  • Tamp well with a square tamper
  • Figure out where electrical, water will go into/out of the structure
  • Maintain centerpole to outside for circular shape (if desired)
  • Cleats inside the wall wooden pieces to nail into for hanging things on the wall inside
  • Barbed wire 4 x 2 (??)

Light Straw Clay (for interior walls)


Earthbag Plastering

Construction Process (aka Volunteers)