Frequently Asked Questions
Why shouldn't my next house be a wood frame house like all the others?
Will just any soil work?
Does that mean I have to have soil delivered to the building site?</p> <p>
It might mean soil would have to be delivered. If the soil on your property has a high clay content, you might just have sand delivered to mix with the soil. The critical issue is that you should have your soil mix tested after blending to see if the blend will produce a compressed block or rammed earth wall that will structurally perform as expected or better. Once earthen construction becomes more common, sources of acceptable soils will be better known. Also, there may be sources to purchase blocks at block yards that are stacked on palettes and ready to go. In the meantime, all types of appropriate soils and blends can be found at local quarries and fill yards.
Once I get below the organic layer, will I be able to use the deeper soil near my house?<br />
What happens when it rains? Won’t the walls erode away?</p> <p>
If individual compressed earth blocks are left outdoors exposed to the weather, yes, they will eventually erode. But if earthen construction walls are covered with compatible and properly applied plaster, erosion will not occur. In some cases, but not all, a decision might be made to add a small percentage of lime or Portland cement to add another factor of weather resistance. Compressed earth blocks that are augmented in this way are called “stabilized” blocks. However, this description does not mean that blocks without lime or cement are unstable. Either category of block can be used.
Consult with your architect or builder for their help in determining whether or not to use stabilization in your particular case.
Is it true that it costs less to cool an earthen structure in the summer?
What about heating in the winter?</p> <p>
An interior heat source will be needed to provide comfortable interior temperatures, but earthen walls are excellent in absorbing radiant energy to help maintain warmth. Again, research in tracking temperature and humidity year round will eventually be used to determine adjustments in mechanical equipment design.