Place earthbag buttresses where future walls might go. They can serve as benches in the meantime.

Place earthbag buttresses where future walls might go. They can serve as benches in the meantime.

Join the new wall with the old using rebar pins and sheet metal anchors.

Join the new wall with the old using rebar pins and sheet metal anchors.

The drawings above show how to join new earthbag walls with old ones using buttresses. Put barbed wire between every course in the buttresses and through the rest of the structure. In the short-term, the buttresses strengthen the walls and serve as benches and plant stands.

Here is the two step building process:
1. Build buttresses at bench height (about 14”-18” high) where you want to add on (build another room) in the future. You can create stepped buttresses for aesthetics and added strength.
2. Pound in ½” rebar pins at an angle and possibly add some sheet metal anchors with long nails at an angle as you stack the new wall.

Related: Transforming Buttresses into Walls


Joining New Walls with Buttresses — 4 Comments

  1. Do you tie the buttress into the wall of the actual room or is the buttress freestanding from that wall, just butted up against it? I would assume that you tie it in. But it doesn’t look like it is tied in, in this drawing. That is why I ask.

  2. I have been reading your web site about paper crete.
    I am concerned about potential mold side effects that may be associated with it’s use.
    I am substantially allergic to mold. Materials such as books, fabric, soil or even air can hold mold and/or mold spores, without showing any discoloration. People allergic to mold will notice the mold, but people not allergic may not believe the mold is there. I have lived in the SW (NM and Arizona). One can bring a low grade moldy object to a southwestern house and over time the dry climate kills the mold. Conversely mold can grow in a southwestern house in micro climates within the house that are moist, such as kitchens, bathrooms, basement and any place near frequent leaks. When I lived there I would tell people they had mold in their house and they would not believe me and I would walk over and lift or open something and show them the mold.

    I would advise against using paper-crete in any enclosed/unvented kitchen or bath in any climate in the world. I would advise against using it in any place likely to leak.
    I would caution people who have members of their family that are prone to allergies, about using it in moister climates. Paper loves mold. Paper can be moldy at a level that allergic people notice, without any discoloration. Non-allergic people will frequently not believe the allegations of allergic people that there is mold without the discoloration. Some people are also concerned with toxic effects of some molds. One could treat plaster with anti-mold chemicals, but then you may harm family members with chemical sensitivities. One could get allergy shots for family members with allergies. At any rate there may be a mold risk associated with paper create, to be evaluated, except in very dry climates.

    • I agree. I warn people all the time about papercrete. We know of failed papercrete structures in the desert near the Mexican border that succumbed to mold! But some people just won’t listen. I got into a big debate last year with a guy who’s building with papercrete in Cambodia where it rains a lot. It hadn’t failed after 1-2 years and so he was convinced it would be okay. He wouldn’t listen when I said 1-2 years isn’t the same as 5-10 years. There are ways to improve durability, but why risk it when there are so many other good building methods?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.