Strong earthbag buildings must protect the bags from sunlight. This isespecially important in places with high risk of earthquake or tsunami.Choose a plaster that works well with the soil in your bags and yourclimate. All soils work well with a lime or earth plaster. On some soils insome climates earthbags can have cement stucco.Right: A thick earth plaster applied by handMiddle Right: A thin earth plaster applied by machine
Many different clays can be used for earth plaster, including colorful earths.Earth plaster can very light in color, and sturdy and dust-free. It does wearif frequently wetted.Since all soils are different, using an earth plaster will require some localknowledge or some testing. The available soil may need additives,burnishing, or an added thin clay paint to make an attractive surface.Earth plaster is good for interiors in humid climates, or exterior finishing invery dry climates. With a water-repellant agent sprayed on, an earthenplaster may be suitable for exterior use. Siloxane soaks into earth plaster,allows water vapor to pass through, but keeps liquid water out.
Lime plaster resists wear and water better than earth plaster. It hardensmore slowly and is less brittle than cement. Lime plaster breathes to letwater vapor through, but forms a barrier to liquid water. This allows earthwalls to dry out. Lime has been the standard finish for earth buildings in theMediterranean and other regions for centuries.Right: Very fine cracking in lime plaster seals when lime wash unites with itLime plaster expands and contracts in a similar way to raw earth. Cracks areusually small and can be easily repaired with lime wash painted on oradded plaster. Lime plasters are often applied on top of an earth infill layer used to fill the cracks between bags. Thisreduces the amount of lime needed.Lime plaster is made of hydrated or type S lime mixed with water and then mixed with 3 times (or up to 6 or 10 times forinside plaster) as much sand. This type of plaster dries slowly, allowing reworking for up to an hour depending ontemperature. It is much easier for ordinary people to work with than quick-drying gypsum plaster or cement stucco.