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Construction, Builders and Rammed Earth Victoria
WE BUILD YOUR DREAM
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Rammed Earth Homes – Our Best Option? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3
Practical Guide to Rammed Earth Construction - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4
Benefits of Rammed Earth House - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5
No-nonsense Reasons for Choosing Rammed Earth Victoria - - - - - - - - - - -7
Helpful Ideas for Rammed Earth Builders - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8
Rammed Earth Homes – Our Best Option? A home is a place of refuge and delight. People build their homes so they can have a place where they can relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. For people everywhere, nothing is more exciting than coming home to a place where memories are created and relationships are strengthened. This hasn’t changed much in all the years that man has lived on this earth. However, with the alarming impact of recent climate changes and global environmental concerns, preserving Mother earth has finally become a cause for genuine concern, ushering hordes of “greening” programs and initiatives to get the campaign acted on. Even in house construction engineers, architects and builders are finding ways to sustain building technologies to create “green homes.” Oddly enough, green home building technology has been in existence for thousands of years. Rammed earth was used in constructing homes and other buildings such as palaces and pyramids during the ancient times, and they are noted for their strength and durability. Rammed earth construction is a structural wall system built from natural mineral soils compacted in thin layers. It is formed by a mixture of sand, gravel and clay. The dampened mixture is pressed or rammed inside a strong mold or form to create both load and non-load bearing walls. The forms can be removed immediately by rammed earth builders and the fresh wall is capable of supporting loads. The walls will continue to cure and gain strength slowly over time. In earlier times, forms used for rammed earth were small, inaccurate and difficult to handle. The soil was taken directly from the base of the wall and placed on the forms using baskets. The soil used in the mixture often contained sticks and small boulders and the joints between the wall sections were not refined and exhibited uneven surfaces. The rammed earth building method remained unchanged for thousand years; the basic principles still apply today. Refinements in formwork and soil preparation started to elevate the use of rammed earth to a position of respect and acceptance. Elements of
standardization and technology advances resulted to its major improvements. Rammed earth wall provides superior thermal and acoustic properties and it can be finished with plaster or stone facing. The superior strength and durability of rammed earth walls result from the densification of sand, gravel and clay matrix. The main advantage of rammed earth homes lies in the thick walls that measure around 18 to 24 inches thick. This creates a feeling of warmth and security. In addition, the walls have excellent thermal mass. The walls have the ability to keep the house cool during day time, giving people a pleasurable time while their home stays relatively warm as it cools down outside. This type of building construction is an excellent option, considering its low cost and good environmental impact. Indeed, it just might be enough to let mankind appreciate the wonders of simple living, once again – to the joys of creating memories and building relationships.
Practical Guide to Rammed Earth Construction Many people dream of building their own home. And, as many of us soon realize, a lot of factors affect how we go about building our home. The overall cost, the time needed for completion, type of materials to be used, the location, the size, the environmental factors and many more. Building a house involves great commitment and dedication to be able to make the project a reality. Like any other endeavor, planning is very essential in carrying out your decision to construct a house. You need to look at the list of building materials and take time to know and compare the benefits before selecting. The use of rammed earth construction material is a great option for your home because it has many positive aspects, including tested strength and durability, thermal mass, care for the environment, sound and fire proofing, freedom from termites and pests, and affordability.
One of the challenges of building rammed earth walls is that it is very labor-intensive. It requires mixing soil, building wall forms, ramming earth a few inches at a time. In areas where labor is cheap, though, rammed earth is common and practical. Constructing a rammed earth wall involves compressing a mixture of sand, gravel and clay into an externally supported frame, producing a solid wall of earth or individual blocks. Sometimes stabilizers like lime, cement, or asphalt emulsions are used. Other rammed earth builders choose to add colored oxides or other items like bottles, tires, or pieces of wood to add variety to the structure. The construction of an entire wall starts with making a temporary frame usually made of wood or plywood to act as mold for the desired dimension of each wall panel. Damp earth mixture is poured into the mold and is compacted to 50% of its original height. The material is compressed in batches up to the top of the frame. Construction of a rammed earth house can be very time consuming without mechanical tools. Special machines are used to compress the earth into the molding form to facilitate construction. When a wall is completed, the frames can be removed immediately. This is necessary if a surface texture will be applied because the walls will become too hard after about an hour. Construction of rammed earth homes is best done in warm weather to speed up drying and hardening of the walls. To prevent water damage, exposed walls should be sealed. Complete curing may take some time, stretching to as long as two years. Given that compression strength of rammed earth increases as it cures, however, should make the wait all the more worth it.
Benefits of Rammed Earth House Rammed earth was a popular choice for building in some parts of the world like Middle East and China. Walls made from earth were strongest and were, for a very long time, considered the safest construction materials as attested by still standing ancient structures around the world.
Rammed earth house is one of the most comfortable, durable and economical building structures. This type of building method which was used in ancient times was rediscovered because of its many top qualities that benefit both the homeowners and the rammed earth builders. Advantages of using rammed earth walls are: Long lasting strength and durability-the primitive structures made from rammed earth that are still present today are tangible evidence of the durability and long lasting qualities of such a basic material. Scientific tests were also conducted and results show magnificent strength quality. Engineers and other rammed earth workers recognize the load bearing characteristics of rammed materials they do not require frames for their protection. Rammed earth construction provides substantial bracing and stability against natural calamities. With the onset of natural disasters nowadays, this building material is a great option for those seeking some sense of security. One of the significant benefits of this material is its high thermal mass. Because of its thickness, there is minimum penetration on the walls so it can absorb heat during the day and release it at night. This characteristic makes rammed earth the material of choice in places routinely exposed to extreme temperature changes. The thick density of this rammed earth walls is the reason why these homes can stand the test of time amidst extreme calamities. Compared to other building materials like bricks and cement, rammed earth does not produce toxic products and therefore does not cause pollution. This means that rammed earth houses are safer and more comfortable. One of the annoying problems in house maintenance is the presence of pests and termites. It is a relief to know that rammed earth walls are not affected by these damaging creatures. The walls have no cavities where pests can reside and there is no way for them to reach the roof. Aside from this, your home will also be protected from noise pollution coming from your surroundings like traffic noise. This is due to the sound insulation property of rammed walls.
Architects find it easy to design rammed earth homes because of the natural color and texture variation present in these materials. You can create a stunning beauty by combining modern amenities and foreign materials with the natural properties of rammed earth walls. Considering the numerous benefits from rammed earth, it is a wise decision to have it in your home construction.
No-nonsense Reasons for Choosing Rammed Earth Victoria For centuries, people have been living in places they call home. Through the years, home designs have gone through all sorts of changes and revisions to address the pressing needs and demands of humanity. Currently, people are looking at earth wall systems with renewed interest, seeing it as a viable answer to the shelter challenges of the future generations, where increase in population and energy crisis hit the hardest. Indeed, the rammed earth method of construction defined human progress many, many centuries ago, but it has since been dropped in favor of more advanced alternatives – until today. The use of rammed earth construction involves utilization of a practical, affordable, available and sustainable element – the earth. This is probably the reason why it is now being revived for building purposes. Rammed earth houses were commonly erected in arid regions where wood is scarce. However, with the increasing demand for low impact materials and natural building method, it quickly caught on and spread to the rest of the world. Rammed earth builders produce walls by compressing a damp mixture of earth (containing proper proportions of sand, gravel and clay) into a mold form. Mechanical instruments are used to decently compress the mixture inside the frame up to the top. This procedure is repeated until all the wall sections have been filled. Stabilizers are used and cement is the material of choice. When a wall section is completed, the frames can be removed to allow for any surface texture application. After completion, the product appears like a handmade wall or solid rock. The interior surface can then be finished with coats of natural oil.
On the outside surfaces of a rammed earth home you can notice faint lines; the lines represent the area where each level of earth was rammed. Inside a rammed earth home you will feel warmth, comfort and tranquility, brought about by thick walls that effectively block sounds from the surroundings. Rammed earth walls also exhibit thermal mass; it keeps the interior of the house cool and relaxing during daytime and provides warmth as the temperature outside cools down. With proper technique and design, a rammed earth Victoria home will use only one third as much energy as a conventional home. In cold climates, insulation can be added to the walls to maintain heat. Aside from being sound proof, the thick earth walls are also fire-resistant because there are no flammable components in the earth. Since the wall has been packed so tightly, there’s little chance for combustion. When completed, rammed earth homes can be left just as they are or if the homeowner desires, it can be finished with paints, plasters or siding. If left unfinished, it provides a natural breathable wall. In the end, it’s less about what we humans demand, more on what we care about, and all about keeping our balance.
Helpful Ideas for Rammed Earth Builders The use of rammed earth walls for building new home in this modern time has its origin in the distant past. The creation of rammed earth homes is a fascinating fusion of ancient methodology, modern technology and innovative construction techniques. This type of building material has gained popularity because of its established strength and long-lasting quality. The rammed earth construction method is very practical because soil is widely available, affordable and has a sustainable resource. Considering its low cost, it is ideal for low-finance construction works, too. Utilizing it in building
structures produces hardly any environmental pollution, so it helps promote advocacy for environmental preservation. Rammed earth walls are not only valued for their ecological applications, but for versatility, as well. Architects are discovering creative possibilities of this natural material with its temperature control properties. This material balances indoor climate and controls moisture, thereby creating a healthy environment for its residents. It has been used around the globe, and is thus exposed and tested on a wide range of climatic conditions. With the rediscovery of this most ancient building material, rammed earth builders can now create structures that can set new standards in home designs. With its very natural concept, you can easily add modern materials to rammed earth houses to produce a sensational look to a rather simple-looking structure. The combination of earth with classic home accessories can create a relaxing ambiance in your home. Rammed earth constructions are done on-site using basic elements like water, earth and a little cement. Builders of rammed earth utilize heavy mechanical equipment to move and compress the mixture. Walls are usually a foot thick to give enough bulk to be stable and provide thermal mass. Insulating materials may be applied outside of the building to keep the inside temperature constant. The solid masonry walls provide durability and year-round comfort with minimal energy use. Rammed earth shelters tend to have a solid and quiet feeling inside. In order to achieve best possible results with earth construction technique, builders must be knowledgeable with selection and testing of soils. It is important to select the right kind of soil to protect walls from damage and shrinkage. You can read about soil criteria on books or you can also find ideas on the internet. Rammed earth technique is a step to a sustainable future, when homes combine aesthetics and practicality with the use of a natural product – the soil. It also leaves one with a sense of satisfaction at having contributed to the preservation of this world – either as the builder or the owner of a rammed earth home.
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