Just letting you know of a few things that we are working on and what progress is being made.
We put the first layer of papercrete in the west sunroom. For those that haven't been following our blog I will give a quick intro to papercrete. This is a homemade insulation that is made from lots of water, cement, clay, shredded paper, and borox. This batch of papercrete turned out the best. What we did different this time was to soak the paper in advance before using it. This made for a creamier mixture and the fibers of the paper were nice and smooth. Because this is a south side outside wall that will not be buried in dirt we are packing the tires with papercrete to protect against the elements. This should stop any cold from coming through and heat leaving to the outside. The whole outside of the tires will be coated in papercrete as well.
Michael Reynolds the inventor of Earthships doesn't use papercrete. They use ridged insulation and cover it with metal instead. Nothing against this. Papercrete forms to the surface thus no air gaps and no critters can get into it. We add Borox to stop any bugs from wanting to eat the paper and it also prevents mold from growing.
Using papercrete is something that we have discovered in our studies of alternative building. According to Living In Paper that has done extensive research into papercrete the R Value of papercrete is between 2.0 and 3.0 per inch. For packing in-between tires this is ideal. We have used 17.5 inch tires for the building of our Earthship. The depth of packing papercrete in-between ( in the crevice) our tires is 17 inches. Multiply that by 2.0 at a minimum is an R34 for each side. Not to bad. We are not exactly sure this is what we have and I am not sure if we will ever know for sure what the actual R - Value is for using papercrete. All I know it is less expensive to make it than to buy something that isn't going to seal as well around round objects.
We weren't exactly sure how papercrete would seal next to wood. So far it has done really well. I am not sure if this is because where we have put papercrete is where we have painted the wood framing to protect it from the elements? Perhaps this is the reason why it has worked so well. We are not sure. The photo above shows the papercrete that we used to fill in the gap between the wooden frame of the doorway and the windows for the sunroom. Papercrete will usually shrink because of the amount of water that is used. We use alot of clay with our papercrete to allow us to pack the tires better. It isn't a normal papercrete formula. It works really well for the applications that we have used it in.
The metal lath is set to put glass bottles in for around the door way. To make a long story short, we were able to get a lot of out dated beer from the Budweiser Distribution plant in our area. We had to dump the beer but this gave us the blue and green bottles we needed to finish the sunroom windows. Allen saved the bottle caps and used them to put the lath up with instead of buying more of the proper nails needed for this job.
The photos below just show where we have put papercrete and how well it sticks and seals.
Compacted Bottle Bricks
We have added 6 rows of compacted plastic bottle bricks to the kitchen wall. At the moment we are focusing on just this wall for our interior walls. This is the main wall that we want to finish so we can start to live in it by the winter time.
The wall to the left is the back of the kitchen. On the other side is part of the back hall way.
The floor for the kitchen area will come up to the to of the concrete footing that you see there.
The wall to the right side is the side of the kitchen wall. The blue boxes are outlets for the gas stove that will have automatic ignitor ( that is within the wall) and for an outlet that will be above the bottom cabinets ( above the wall but connected with conduit.)
The white pipes towards the bottom of the photo are for water lines to go the the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink that will be on the other side of the wall.
This is the corner of the kitchen that then goes back to the hallway on one side with the bathroom on the other side.
So far we have put up 13 rows of compacted bottles to equal approximately 1,183 bottles used for just this part of the house. Each bottle weighs approximately 2.25 pounds. That is approximately 2661 pounds of compacted dirt just within the bottles this does not include the weight of the earthen cement mortar that we use in-between the bottles. Since a ton is considered weighing 2,000 lbs, the compacted bottles are over a ton of weight just with these bottles. Because of the tires that are compacted with dirt and now the bottles I can safely say that our house literally weighs tons. We have estimated that it will take approximately 30 rows of bottles to reach the ceiling. This will be over 3 tons of weight just with the bottles in this area of the house. We will see how close our estimates are.
I can say that we do have enough bottles that are compacted with dirt and ready to go to finish this part of the wall.
At times it doesn't seem like we have done a lot of work. Being more prep work to accomplish a task. But because of all of this prep work the construction will smoother and not have to wait to build because of prep work. When it rains we do a lot of prep work to keep us moving forward.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.