Construction Earthbags

Earthbag Cellar Level 8 and 9 and Backfilling

We’ve completed levels 8 and 9 …



… on level 9 we were joined by Itsik and Yifat who visited with us for a week … so we reached and celebrated the end of 9 together.



In level 9 we also put in additional vertical reinforcement by pounding in rebars into the longest stretch of buried wall that we have (~6 meters)  … and we will continue to do that in an interlaced pattern to give the wall some more strength to resist the weight of the earth piling up behind it.


Which brings us to today … soil … we called the excavator back (marking what is probably the half-way point of wall construction) … to start backfilling and bringing some more soil to our mixing station (so that I don’t need to carry it in a wheelbarrow). Yesterday we prepared by pulling the plastic covering over the walls   20161010_095944

.. and so it started … and very quickly the corner behind the first retaining wall was filled up ….


… then the side and rear corner20161010_110123

… during the backfilling, a new soil pile near the mixing station started to appear



… and before you know it (almost three hours later) the backfilling was complete …. so from the outside we are back at ground level (which does make some maneuvering on the walls easier)


… and a huge pile of soil (30+ cubic meters) is now blocking the entrance and hiding the site … when that soil is gone, construction of the walls should be complete (or very close to completion)


As the work progressed we realized we were going through A LOT (= surprising amount) of soil … we’ve used up most of the free soil on and around the site … and it doesn’t look like what we have left will be enogh to complete backfilling and covering the structure. At first this felt like a potential problem … but it quickly transformed into opportunity. It looks like the supply of soil needed to complete this project will overlap and lead into the next project. One option weve been discussing is a small lake (a whole other story). Another option is to start excavating what may be the next construction project … either way … it left us with a pleasant sense of continuity 🙂

3 replies on “Earthbag Cellar Level 8 and 9 and Backfilling”

This is a very nicely reported project… I am quite sure that similar project is waiting for me in the future when me and my family will move to a new land… I look forward to read your report for each advancing row. And i can’t wait to hear how the inside temperature would settle in the following years…

I wish you all the best,

Oh, sorry i noticed another thing… I saw that you put moisture barrier just behind the earthbag walls. Did you ever consider adding them farther away from the earthbag walls, say 3 feet or more – i would say that this way one would get a more stable climate inside the cellar… This might be felt when alot of rain “washes” the established temperature down the soil…?

I know you have read PAHS book and i would like to know your opinion about moisture barrier placing in your project…


The moisture barrier is intended as a direct layer of protection for the walls.

I do not intend to create a full insulation umbrella for the structure (since it is a cellar which can / need to be cool and has no passive solar gain). However I do intend to put down a moisture barrier umbrella that will cover the buried structure and a few meters beyond it.

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