the Tire Bale house project


October 2013 -

We finished all the electrical except for the area by the windows. So, moving forward, we had to build the bathroom walls to add electrical and plumbing to them. We originally decided to build stone walls in the bathrooms but changed our mind when we found how hard building with stone is and we wanted to save the stone for the front of the house. We wanted to make the bathrooms warm and cozy for the winter so we decided on earthbags to store heat from the sun. A stick frame wall captures no heat in winter and, though it's probably the easiest way to go, we turned down that idea.


We started building up the layers by added barbed wire on top of each layer to help keep the bags from slipping. There are also tie wires attached to the barbed wire and sticking out of the layers for attaching the stucco netting.

On the right picture, you can see the grey electrical conduit and one white water pipe, that will feed the toilet, set in the grooves between layers.


Steve is attaching what are called "velcro plates" to the top of the earthbag to attach it to the wood framing. It's just a scrap half piece of 2 X 6 attached to a piece of scrap wood. He drilled through the half piece of 2 X 6 and put three long screws through it to attach it to the wood frame and then nailed through the flat piece of wood to hold it in place on the earthbag. We have been adding them to every fourth row.




This is as high as we will go for this bathroom wall. We will add top decoration later. You can see the frame for the door better now. It's pretty tricky getting the bags to curve next to the door like we want. We also put up sheeting over the windows since the bags start to deteriorate in sunlight. It also gets pretty hot working by the windows.




November 2016 -

It took us a while to get all the prep work done to get to the point we could stucco. We desperately needed to get the earthbags covered since they were starting to deteriorate.

Some people are lucky enough to afford to have shot crete sprayed on the walls or using local adobe clay. Neither were an option for us so we're using real stucco as the final coat for all the interior walls. We're not sure if it's any cheaper in the long run, but it's the best option for us. We purchaed a Tirolessa mortar sprayer and stucco mixer so we wouldn't break our backs doing all this labor by hand. Here's a picture of the mixer and the barrel we use.





Steve handled the mixer and sprayer while Kathy filled the mixing barrel with stucco and water and did the troweling. If you look close, you can see the stucco spraying out of the lower front of the sprayer. It's coming along nicely.





Here's a picture of the same bathroom wall as above with the scratch coat stucco on. We will be doing the brown coat later.





More to come...


Feathered Friends

Being an avid bird enthusiast since 1985, Kathy normally has a bird feeder set up in the yard. Since the black bears keep coming around, she decided that taking the feeder down at night was the best solution. For several days in a row, she got the birds to take seed from her hand. The first day there was only one mountain chickadee, the second day, there were three mountain chickadees taking turns landing on her fingers to grab a seed. Their little feet really tickled her fingers.





web analytics