Thursday, August 28, 2014


"It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it's the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time"
-David Allan Coe

We are off to a great start!  These bags are the first layers of the building and act as a stem wall for the main structure. These bags are filled with unwashed 1 and 1/4 inch gravel. The gravel fill acts as a water barrier to the rest of the walls. Unlike concrete the gravel prevents water from wicking up into the walls so these bags of rocks eliminates the need for a pressure treated bottom plate and other moisture barrier products. Just bags and rocks!

I was actually very surprised to see how fast these bags got put together. The work was spread out over 2 days but this represents only about 4 hours of actual bag filling and placing with 4 people working. The front wall will not be built with bags, the rest of the wall is about 39 linear feet.  I wont always have 4 people helping so, Im estimating about 2 weeks to finish this project. Its strange how that feels like a long time and no time at the same time.

I was very nervous putting down the first bag. I had this feeling like if I didnt get the first one right everything would go wrong. Of course the first one cant be right, it needs all the others to become anything more than a sack of rocks and as the rest started to fall into place, my confidence just kept creeping up. Now its all I can do to keep going to my real job. All I really want to be doing is working on this project!

This is going to be the most bad-ass well house ever built!

I have never built anything bigger than a sand castle before so there is a large sense of pride here. Its not exactly the pyramids of egypt and its still a  long way from being done but for the amount of satisfaction and accomplishment I feel just from putting down those three layers of bags, it might as well be a trip to the moon.
In the end it could all topple over and I would still consider all this a great success.


  1. Do you intend on covering the bags later? and how? We did a trial arch using earthbags and after a few weeks the sun had rotted the fibre....
    Good luck with your project!

  2. Hi Veronica,
    Yes I definitely plan on covering the bags. You can see in a pic on this post that we have suspended a tarp over the whole project site
    Im hoping that will do for now until the walls get a little higher, then I may put a temporary coat of plaster on or a light spray of paint.
    Im also hoping that since the site does not get direct sun the bags are somewhat safer than if they where in direct sun. Im only able to work fridays and saturdays so the exposure time is somewhat extended. So, this is a lot of hoping :)
    Thanks for reading!

  3. covering with a tarp is worth it, even in the shade with clear sky the UV can be strong, we had very intense UV recently, with strong upper winds of cold north air!

    1. hey thanks for reading derek! where are you located? do you have pics of a build?
      Thanks also for the advice, I think this weekend one of the jobs will be applying a thin mud to the lower bags to keep them safe.