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Soils for Earthbag Part 2: How to Build

Soils for Earthbag Part 2: How to Build

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,100|Likes:
Published by Patti Stouter
This explains how the results of your soil tests will influence your building. How to choose the type of plasters and soil additives you need.
This explains how the results of your soil tests will influence your building. How to choose the type of plasters and soil additives you need.

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Published by: Patti Stouter on Sep 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/11/2013

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0
S
OILS FOR
E
ARTHBAG
 
P
ART
2:
 
H
OW
T
O
B
UILD WITH
D
IFFERENT
S
OILS
 
P
ATTI
S
TOUTER
,
 
R
EVISED
9-2010
1 P
LAN YOUR
B
UILDING
W
ISELY
 P
LASTERS
 
2 Earth and Lime Plasters3 Cement Stucco3 Choose Plaster for Bag Fill & Climate
4 B
UILDING WITH
W
EAK
S
OIL
 
4 Improving Weak Soil
4 B
UILDING WITH
R
ICH
C
LAY
 
5 Building on Swelling Clay Soil5 Using Swelling Clay Soil in Bags6 Improving Rich Clay Soil6 Reducing Swelling
7
 
S
TABILIZING
S
OILS
 7 Stabilizing to Strengthen8 Stabilizing to Resist Water8 Absorption Test9 When to Stabilize9 Selective Stabilization10 Notes11 References
Copyright 2010 Patti Stouter andwww.earthbagbuilding.com This work can be used according to the followingCreative Commons License:
Attribution Non-commercial 3.0
 
 
 1
P
LAN YOUR BUILDING WISELY
 
Earth buildings don’t cost much money. But they require thought tobuild well.
Raw earth is strong, but it must be kept up out of the water.
It also needs to be able to dry out from occasional dampness. Anearth building with a good hat (a roof overhang) and good boots (asolid water-resistant base) can last hundreds of years.Above: Good ‘boots’ and ‘hat’Earthbags without a stabilizer like lime or cement must start above the flooding, rain splash, and inside spills levels. These‘raw’ earth walls can soak up water if they sit in a puddle for some hours. Start raw earth bags on top of a stone wall, bagsfilled with gravel, or stabilized earthbags.Earthbags may be more resistant to water damage than earth block or rammed earth. They may have more naturalventilation and better containment from poly bags that are intactunder their plaster layer. The added plaster layers gives theirstructural units a layer of protection from water infiltration that islacking in un-plastered earth block or rammed earth walls.But start earth-filled bag walls at least 15 cm (6 inches) above aninside floor and 20- 25 cm (8- 10 inches) or more above theground outside. If lime or earth plasters are used, stone veneer ortile can protect the lowest meter from rain splashing back. Coolclimates may need higher waterproofing where snow often sitsagainst walls.Left: Raise raw earth wallsabove inside leaks and outsideweatherA moisture barrier (of plastic or tar) or an air gap (of thin stone) should also be used toseparate any cement and raw earth, whether plaster or bag layers.Above right: A strong earth bag of heavy clay wicked water up 3 cm in 10 minutesRight: Although it was still strong in the middle, one corner collapsed after soaking for24 hours
 
 2
P
LASTERS
 
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
E
ARTH
P
LASTER
 
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.
L
IME
P
LASTER
 
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.

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