The Walls are Coming!
I’m so excited to be past the trenching and foundation stage and working on the actual walls! We’ve hired some helpers to come out during the week, and on the weekends sometimes Denise and Jeff come out and may bring friends to help as well. Thanks to the additional hands, things are moving along a little faster!
On September 6th, Denise and Jeff came out with their friend, Mike. Keith spent a few minutes teaching them the basic procedures, and off we went. At this stage we were working with the portion of the walls that will end up underground, so we were filling the bags (doubled up!) with gravel rather than the sand/clay mixture that goes into the earthbags. By using gravel until we come above ground, we help prevent moisture from seeping into the walls.
Here we are, working our behinds off. I filled gravel bags. Mike and Jeff hauled gravel and filled bags. Denise diddled for us. That is to say, she pinned the corners of the bags with nails so that they won’t stick out and interfere with the plaster when we get to that point.
Once a layer of bags has been put down, they need to be tamped down flat and made as level as possible. When the walls get higher, we will need to tamp them down by hand with our square tampers, but for now Keith can use his plate compactor machine, which does the job quickly!
After we finished a layer of gravel bags and tamped them down, we went around the top of the wall with barbed wire. The wire keeps the bags from shifting on each other, so that they are more stable.
Finally we reached the point where we could put in the door frames! Keith marked out the spot where they would go.
A couple days later, the frames were in! The house is finally starting to take shape.
Watch the video to see Keith giving instructions on diddling and filling the gravel bags, and watching that plate compactor in action:
And here’s another very short video showing the progression of one of the walls from August 15 (when it was just a trench) through the foundation and first layers of earth bags, to September 15:
So what do you think of our progress so far? Any questions or suggestions? Comment below!
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