You may have been following the progress on DoctorDirtbag’s earthbag house like I have. He’s been making a lot of progress. Note the freeform ferrocement roof and how he made the portal skylights. Watching these vids helped me realize how volunteering on a few houses could be more valuable than going to a workshop, assuming you had enough time to help out and travel to different jobs. I’m sure many homeowners would be glad to answer questions in exchange for the extra help. Our free Bulletin Board at EarthbagBuilding.com is one good way to meet up with other dirt baggers. (Send your project info to Kelly… his email address is on the About page.)
“Here’s the process of putting a roof on the completed section of the house. Took about 12 weeks. Each “slice” of the roof is comprised of a “shell” layer of grout (about an inch thick) which is placed on a bed of metal lath, then a “structural” layer of grout (inch and a half) which embeds a layer of welded wire mesh. The end of the video shows the section I’ll be tackling next, which is the center U-wall of the house.”
Q: If you don’t mind me asking how much does this project cost? You are doing a great job thank you.
A: That’s a loaded question, but the materials (sand, gravel, lumber, rebar, cement, lime, bags, windows, doors, and various doodads) for the dome and house I’ve spent approximately $7k. I’ve put about $2.5k into solar power so far.
Q: So how many bags did u end up using?
A: So far I’ve used about 3000 of the large bags on the dome and house combined. I’ll be ordering another 1000 bags to finish the house and smaller projects.
Q: Nice, but it cannot stand rain.
A: Let me help you understand. Those bags look soft and fluffy, huh? They’re not. They’re 100 lb bricks, and they’re hard as rock. Cover them with plaster and they stand forever. Thanks for your comment, but it doesn’t hold water. : )