Build an Earth Home with a Dome
LESLIE: Steven in Texas has an interesting home situation. Tell us about your unique house.
STEVEN: Yeah, actually I’m living in an apartment right now, y’all, and me and my fiancée are both like eco freaks; we’re really into the environment and we’re planning on building a house out of a green roof. And we were thinking about making kind of a like a traditional earth ship with the tires packed with earth and then layers of dirt on top of that and then grass on top of that but we weren’t sure how to create a solid enough dome feature; like a dome structure (AUDIO GAP) much weight.
TOM: Well, the dome itself would have to be framed and you’re going to build this fairly traditionally up until the point where you get to putting on the earth. You’re probably going to build the dome traditionally – you know, with a rafter structure and a sheathing structure – and then over that you’re going to use a membrane like an ice and water shield or a rubber roof type of a product and that’s really what’s going to be the waterproof part of this; and then over that is when you would add the earth – the soil.
STEVEN: OK. So I would just be using wood, not concrete; or like – I was thinking about ICF blocks.
TOM: Insulated concrete forms are an excellent building material – and for those that don’t know, that stands for insulated concrete forms and you basically stack them up kind of like oversized LEGO blocks, then you add steel reinforcement rod and then you fill them with concrete. It’s an excellent choice for a building material. Actually, it’s totally storm-proof, super-strong and makes for a pretty energy-efficient home because those blocks themselves are made out of foam and very, very efficient.
LESLIE: Keep us posted on your progress. We’d love to see photos of the whole thing.
TOM: Sounds like an interesting house, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.