EARTHBAG Houses for SHTF? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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02-14-2012, 16:51
It has been a while since I have posted here but I wanted to know what people think of these Earthbag homes for SHTF. From the little research I have done they seem to be made of 20lb rice bags filled with earth/cement (maybe 80/20 90/10?)mix and then stacked in layers like bricks. In between the layers strips of barbed wire are placed to keep the bags from slipping. Then you have the option to finish the walls with chicken wire and stucco. The roofs can be made out of traditional construction materials or formed into a dome. Looks like it may need a lot of labor to build but looks like a win win for affordability, sturdiness, endurance, and fire resistance and perhaps they are bullet proof? your thoughts please.

02-14-2012, 18:07
I like the house with the cold fusion generator (oh, when they come online "next year") :whistling:

02-14-2012, 18:33
The cold fusion name of that design is a bit of a misnomer. Guess they thought it sounded better than circle house. I think the designer was making an oblique reference to a fusion reactor design called Tokamak that uses magnetic containment. Of course that's hot fusion not cold fusion but I digress. No these Earthbag houses have nothing to do with High tech or Nuclear fusion, they appear pretty low tech, it's simply a matter of stacking bags full of dirt. And they look to come in un-powered and powered versions. the powered using wind and solar totally off grid. I'm thinking they might have some very good insulating effects as well. Anyones thoughts.

02-14-2012, 20:48
I don't think that dirt is that good of an insulator. That said, I'm trying to find out all I can about building codes for these structures. I won't build in a code required place, but it shows the maturity of the design.

02-14-2012, 21:19
Dirt not good insulator? I thought adobe homes were very good for insulation? No?

02-14-2012, 21:52
Thick dirt/cement walls are heat sinks. They stabilize the temperature. If it is cold outside for a long time they will get cold, and vice versa.

02-14-2012, 22:38
I live in the Midwest. -40 farenheit in the winter isn't uncommon. My idea of insulation is different than others who live in adobe country.

02-14-2012, 23:00
Interesting concept. I've been looking of way to build an inexpensive cabin on some land. So far I got this and the shipping container cabin idea.

M1A Shooter
02-15-2012, 01:09
seems like an ok idea. i too have been looking into low tech building options like most third world countries use. you can also find brick presses for dirt that allow you to build walls from the dirt you dug up to level out the area etc. they can be had in a keyed style to stack easier and they are made using simple leverage from a crude steel welded form.

02-15-2012, 10:16
How would living in a bunker not be a good idea for SHTF?

In cold climates I would spray foam the exterior if I financially could. But a good wood stove would get me through.

I am going to build a few small animal huts for practice.

02-15-2012, 10:49
Remember, the Great Wall of China has been around for a very long time using mud-brick technology. The difference is that they made a low-tech composite by mixing hay/straw to the dirt. It adds structural strength. I would add that as a consideration.

EDIT: I wiki'ed "compressed earth block." The article says that a single mechanical press can make enough blocks to build a 1200 sqft house in one day. Sounds like another good option too.

02-15-2012, 11:29
You can always buy solid concrete blocks that fit together. I bought two of them for a retention wall this winter. Weighed a ton a piece, can't remember exactly the price but I think they were 60 bucks for the two. They sold bigger blocks that were 2 ton blocks but I didn't want to stress my loader, seemed it's lifting capacity was right at 4200 lbs.

02-15-2012, 13:25
Earthbag Building - YouTube

02-16-2012, 02:44
Thanks for the video. I appreciate the mudbrick idea but I think I prefer the earthbags for a house as the bags will add stability and longevity, especially in more moist climates. The mudbrick sounds great for some garden walls or small agricultural use. And as far as the concrete its ok but the bags add the advantage of having most of your building material already onsite. Think you might want to have or rent a bobcat though to turn up the soil instead of a shovel.

On another note,
Found this link online. I have known about Earthships for a while and think they are great if society is stable, but I have worries from a defensive standpoint if they are not. Anyway this guy has assembled a list of counties that he says have free building codes. Thought some might find this interesting with regard to earthbag building and just in general building your place without being hassled by county officials as to what you can build and can't.
The video is also worth watching. I like the fact he uses SHTF term and his quote about "it's like a hurricane is coming and you need permission to put plywood on your windows, bulls**t." Even if you don't share his views on Green and environment "carbon-zero" I think you will like his views on individual freedom and pragmatic action instead of delay and bureaucracy and the message that we are in a crisis period.

02-16-2012, 15:24
You can also use concrete blocks (CMU's, or cinderblocks). They meet the International Building Code which has been adopted in almost every state and county in the US, are cheap (about $1.00-$1.50/ block, and are bullet proof against most small arms. Plus, if you ever sell the place, or your kids have to, the structure conforms to building codes and adds value to the property. Blocks don't take too much skill to stack, just need to know how to use a level, and mix concrete.

02-16-2012, 19:05
pioneers on the plains built sod houses which were actually excellent in summer and winter as I understand....