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Rammed-Earth Construction

Rammed-earth construction; a sustainable way to build a stylish and energy-efficient home.

According to, rammed-earth homes are sustainable and have a warm yet contemporary aesthetic to boot. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about building or buying one of these unique homes. True to its name, builders use earth-based compacted soil to construct rammed-earth homes. This earthy mix—which consists primarily of sand, silt, water, and clay—is set in formwork on the foundation.

“The rammed-earth material is placed within the form in layers called lifts, typically 6 to 8 inches in depth, which are rammed with pneumatic tampers that can be maneuvered within the walls,” explains Bly Windstorm, CEO of Earth Dwell Ltd. and U.S. president of the nonprofit North American Rammed Earth Builders Association (NAREBA). “After a lift is fully compacted, another layer’s added and then rammed.”

Builders repeat this process until the wall is complete. All the building block essentials to complete the home are within each completed form. This includes reinforced steel, electrical and plumbing conduits, switch boxes, and even frames for doors.

The earth and aggregates available in the future home’s location determine the actual color of the walls. But if you want to put your stamp on Mother Nature’s offerings, you can alter rammed walls with various textures and finishes.

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