The next step after constructing earthbag walls is to coat them with several layers of adobe (also known as “earthen plaster”), which is made from clay and some type of straw. This is done to provide additional protection against the elements, in addition to creating a flat surface, as opposed to the rigid one created by the earthbags. When properly applied, adobe is resistant to mold, vermin, and UV rays, and it’s durable and long-lasting.
Adobe can be made of different materials depending on what’s available where you live. We experimented with various types of materials in our search for the right recipe. The land here at our farm contains a thick layer of a clay-like soil which we use as our base, and for straw we use pine needles, which we collect from an adjacent pine tree plantation. A mixture is made from mostly clay and some pine needles, to which water is added until a fairly wet, but not drippy, consistency is achieved.
We then go to work at slapping the adobe on the walls by hand, beginning by filling up the crevices between bag layers, and once this coat has partially dried, covering the surfaces of the bags. Additional coats may be necessary at times to finish with a flat surface. This is a continuous process throughout the duration of the building project as more and more walls are being constructed and raised.
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