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  1. #1
    John Wilcox's Avatar
    John Wilcox Guest

    Default Rammed Earth gone Wild

    So there is this building made of dirt and cement (portland) and they poor a concrete beam on top of it (to support a roof). Is the compressive strength of dirt alone ( no structural bearing points) enough to hold a roof plus snow without significant problems.

    P.S. Live Load appx. 30psf. appx comp. strength of rammed earth 200 psi.
    Note: generally mortar is required to meet 1500 psi for structural intergrity.
    In my mind it might work but would you let somebody try it out on your house?

    P.P.S. less than 6 months in you can see signs of compression in the wall.

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  2. #2
    amaracan's Avatar
    amaracan Guest

    Default Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    were the walls made with a Ram Jet . this system has been used all over the world.
    I have never heard of any deaths.


  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    Quote Originally Posted by amaracan View Post
    ...I have never heard of any deaths.
    Now there's a strong endorsement!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    Quote Originally Posted by John Wilcox View Post
    So there is this building made of dirt and cement (portland) and they poor a concrete beam on top of it (to support a roof). Is the compressive strength of dirt alone ( no structural bearing points) enough to hold a roof plus snow without significant problems.
    .

    Yes and no ... or, if you prefer .. "it depends".

    "It depends" on the soil type and the conditions around the soil - for that answer one would need to contact a soils engineer (geotechnical engineer) who would then need to take soil samples.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Robin McCaslin's Avatar
    Robin McCaslin Guest

    Default Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    [quote=John Wilcox;67913]So there is this building made of dirt and cement (portland) and they poor a concrete beam on top of it (to support a roof). Is the compressive strength of dirt alone ( no structural bearing points) enough to hold a roof plus snow without significant problems.


    John, some of the oldest houses in the world are constructed that way. Well, not with the concrete beam, but with wood beams instead.

    When you look at the pretty sea-side town(s) in Italy and Greece which grace many calendars, you will see many of these rammed-earth homes that are around 600 years old in some cases. They do last, and they weather well too. BUT (there's always that, huh?) It Has To Be Made CORRECTLY. Its an old technology which is being re-discovered and re-learned. There's not too many contractors who know a thing about it. I have seen an advertisement for Gypsum Wall homes in the past, another version of Rammed Earth, where they put up forms, drop in pulverized gypsum, and then vibrate the walls until it settles into a solid block. Basically the same as Rammed Earth, but the walls are silk smooth and white.
    Still, the width of the wall, and the roofing composition, as well as the moisture barrier(s) require as much attention as the soil used in building the thing. . . And as far as I know, there's not may people in this neck of the woods who know much about any part of it.

    Again, Buyer Beware!


  6. #6
    Robert Olson's Avatar
    Robert Olson Guest

    Default Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    What you may be seeing is pressed earth block construction. There is a press you rent, dump earth, straw and sometimes portland into a hopper amd out come blocks to build with. 2300 psi strength. Some folks use mortar to set the blocks and then a earth/cement parge on the outside to give the building an adobe look. NM & AZ have a code for using this material. FAQs about Pressed Earth Block Machines and Earth Construction Technology.
    Very cool if you have the time but extremely cost effective.


  7. #7
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    Cool Re: Rammed Earth gone Wild

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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