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Video: Canadian Earthbag House — 2 Comments

  1. I live on East Coast Canada (Cape Breton Island) where I believe we have worse winters than BC, though depends where in BC. In any case, I note that you have no traditional foundation and am wondering if you can do this in cold climate situation or you really have to dig a deep foundation like everyone does, or sink concrete pilings down deep.

    Also wondering: if you DO dig deep for whatever reason, can you use earthbag as berms/walls down there and if so what stops them from caving in if pressure is applied?

    Finally, what sort of flooring do you use with your type of buildings in a cold climate? Is it relatively easy to create base for wood floors, or if an earth floor, what is insulation underneath, if any?

    We have good access to lumber on property and owner-builder has his own sawmill. Am mainly interested in the bags to provide lower foundation, on top of which will either put board & batten walls with some sort of natural insulation, and if so what?, or straw walls with plaster, although given how labour-intensive plaster is and given how we have almost free wood handy, it is hard to justify that huge additional work, especially if can find a simple way to insulate between wood outside and inside.

    The main question here is about foundations and earth bags, though. Can you use the bags to get around digging deep foundation, and if so, why does it work?

    Thxs.

    • This topic has been covered numerous times on our blog. Use the search engine on the right side of the page and look for keywords: gravel bag foundation, earthbag foundation, scoria, scoria bags, frost protected foundation (search each separately)

      Basically, I suggest scoria filled earthbags or tubes that work like frost protected foundations. You’ll only have to dig down about 24″ in your climate. Scoria is the insulation so your foundation will have 15″ of insulation. This one step can save you thousands of dollars on a small or medium sized home.

      Add lots of scoria or perlite (12″-24″) under a slab floor.

      There are lots of options. You could pour a grade beam on top of the scoria bags and then frame on that.

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