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Rammed Earth Construction

By taufiqhaque

Earth was always utilized as a construction element for about ten thousand years. Numerous tribes and civilizations have used raw soil to construct various structures – not only shelters and houses, but castles, mansions, and cathedrals that have withstood the trial of age.

Rammed Earth

Rammed earth has been implemented throughout centuries in building projects, including traces reaching straight to the Neolithic Era. The method was widely utilized in China, utilizing various historic structures and common construction, including the Great Wall. 

Although rammed earth’s popularity dropped in the twentieth century, many advocates for its usage even now, noting its long-term durability over other contemporary architectural procedures. Rammed earth constructions, in particular, utilize native resources, resulting in minimal energy inputs and much less wastage.

Building With Rammed Earth

To deal with rammed earth demands a thorough study of the environment and site where the construction will be developed. The rammed earth method is most effective in locations containing heavy humidity with reasonable temperatures.

Rammed earth walls might require extra insulation in chilly regions and supplementary rain shielding in areas with significant rainfall. Furthermore, rammed earth constructions are not regulated in several nations. As a result, these buildings may be impractical in certain areas.

The skeleton for the constructions can be created when the site has been determined to be practical. The structure, which is generally made up of two perpendicular plywood panels, is afterward  packed using a moist earth coating that comprises gravel, sand, mud, and a binder. 

A pneumatic tamper is used to squeeze this thin coating into roughly half of its initial diameter once applied. This procedure continues until the foundation is completely occupied with compressed earth, enabling the timber to be withdrawn, leaving the rammed earth structure to stand alone. 

Further steps to strengthen the structure can be made to address a few of the flaws of this archaic technology. Designers can incorporate additional shielding into the structures to enhance the rammed earth’s comparatively low heat efficiency. If used outwardly, the insulation must be vapor-permeable to accommodate for vaporization. 

When used inside, the insulation choices are considerably varied. However, it must not be bonded straight to the wall face. Rammed earth structures have to be protected by broad drooping canopies and an elevated minimum of 225 mm over floor level on strongly raised pilings to avoid water deterioration.

Basics of Rammed Earth

Availability

Rammed earth is a type of in-situ manufacturing.  Fundamental components are widely accessible; however, cement and scaffoldings may need to be carried over considerable miles, adding ecological and financial expenses. If you are not utilizing a customized method, you will need to check regional aggregates and prospective mixtures.

Buildability

Its constructability is great but rammed earth construction needs careful location and logistical arrangement to guarantee that neighboring crafts are not harmed during the construction process. To avoid problems, activities must be planned ahead of time. 

Connections for pipelines and cables can be installed once the sidewalls have been pressed in position, just like in a typical brick building. However, this may impair the exterior finishing. Specialized rammed earth methods can ensure uniformity and predictability, but they are way expensive.

Outlook

The soil and gravel incorporated influence the color of rammed earth constructions. The ramming procedure is done layer after layer, giving the sidewalls the impression of a horizontal stratum. Stratum can be turned on or off as a characteristic. 

At a cost, pebbles may be revealed, distinctive patterns can be achieved by layering various colored materials, and items like centerpiece stones or artifacts, alcoves, or contour paneling can be inserted into the structures. Features in the formwork that could be freed once the wall has been compacted can create ornamental embellishments.

Moisture Resistance

Keep the peaks and bases of walls protected from water. Prolonged contact with the humidity has the potential to undermine the earth’s interior composition by undoing cement stabilization and causing particles to swell. Rammed earth has fair to high moisture resilience on average, and generally, current rammed earth constructions do not need extra sealing. 

Modern waterproofing chemicals that seal the walls along the way around might turn rammed earth viable for extremely unprotected areas, such as retaining walls. However, they might reduce the substance’s permeability.

Capability

Rammed earth has high compressive strength and, therefore, can be utilized for multistory load-bearing structures. It can be designed to have great capacities and might be strengthened in the same way concrete does. Horizontal reinforcing is not a good idea, and too much vertical reinforcing might lead to fracture. 

Rammed earth has been used to create unique architectural elements, such as tilting walls. Proper building administration may mitigate any challenges with putting and battering over reinforcement and do not have to contribute considerably to the budget.

Sustainability

Despite being a low-emissions material, in theory, transportation and cement production can greatly increase the entire emissions involved with conventional contemporary rammed earth building. The mining and transportation of the basic substance to the worksite consume the majority of the power utilized in rammed earth construction. 

The employment of on-site components might reduce the amount of energy used in production. Conventional rammed earth has relatively minimal greenhouse gas footprints at its base level. However, the more extensively designed and treated varieties may produce large pollutants throughout their manufacturing procedure.

Building a Tiny House with Rammed Earth 

You can easily build the walls of your tiny house using rammed earth. Because rammed earth requires pressing a subsurface combination into an outwardly reinforced structure, you have to consider a concrete base with a wood structure. It is tough to add alterations to any rammed earth construction, so bear that in mind when constructing your tiny home.

Conclusion

Although rammed earth has a high thermal density, it has a low insulation value. It has high compressive strength and may be employed in multistory load-bearing structures. While more intricate constructions may need fortification or frameworks, typically, rammed earth constructions are basic and easy to construct. So, if you are eyeing one, you need a little bit of creativity with a planning mentality.

You can also check: Can I build a tiny house in my backyard?

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