Got questions about building a rammed earth home? You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about rammed earth building here. And of course, if you have further questions, you’re welcome to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer them.
How long does it take to build a rammed earth home?
The average sized house (200m2) can have the earth walls completed in around 20 days, after the concrete slab has gone down. The rest of the build (roof, interior finishing, etc) is comparable to a conventional build. Therefore an average sized rammed earth home may be completed in around four months from the time the plans come out of council.
Does it cost a lot more than a conventional build?
Building a rammed earth home doesn’t have to cost a whole lot more than a conventional build. Of course, it depends on the materials and finishings you choose and the design of your house. The best way to find out is to contact us to discuss your needs.
Do rammed earth walls breathe?
Yes they do. Many people choose rammed earth specifically because of the superior indoor air quality provided by their eco-friendly design, coupled with the properties of stabilised rammed earth walls. Rammed earth homes, when designed properly, are warm and dry meaning less mould spores and allergens.
Do rammed earth walls stand up to Northland conditions?
Yes, rammed earth construction is very suitable for a rainy, humid climate such as Northland. Rammed earth walls do not rot or decompose. A well-protected rammed earth building has a much higher resistance to rain than a wood frame home or other structures made of degradable materials. Rammed earth homes routinely last for generations in many types of environments. New Zealand’s oldest known earth building, Pompallier House, in Russell, stands two stories high and was built in 1841.
Are rammed earth homes dark and cave-like?
Not at all! With thoughtful design, your rammed earth home can be light, warm and sunny, making the most of the sun for maximum solar gain.
Can we use the earth from our site?
Your earth will need to be a particular grade of quarry mix, and then tested to ensure it has the right properties for quality rammed earth walls. For most of our homes, we use earth sourced from a local quarry, which is reasonably priced and keeps our carbon footprint low.
Can we add colours or materials into the walls?
We can add oxides in the mix to get different colours in your walls. We can also ram around shapes to create alcoves in your walls.
Can we make curved rammed earth walls?
Yes. Formwork can be made to accommodate curved walls.
Can rammed earth walls be painted or plastered?
Yes they can. You can paint or plaster straight onto the rammed earth walls to get a different look, or you can leave them looking natural if you prefer.
Is it hard to get consent for an earth home?
No. All of our houses are designed by qualified and experienced designers and engineers. All of our houses comply with the NZ building standards (NZS 4299 – Earth buildings and NZS 3604 – Timber framed buildings) and our builders are Licenced Building Practitioners. Whangarei District Council has no problem issuing consents for these homes as they meet the above standards.
Can anyone design a rammed earth home?
In order for a rammed earth home to perform optimally, it needs to be thoughtfully designed by a qualified professional who has experience with this type of construction.
Do you have any rammed earth home floor plans?
As each home is built to suit an individual client’s needs, budget and site, and is unlikely to be suitable to another client, we do not have a set of rammed earth home designs or floor plans to choose from. The advantage of designing and building a new home with us is that it is tailored to your needs and your site, making it unique and special. Check out our gallery to see some different options.
How much maintenance do we need to do?
None! Earth walls will not need painting or staining, or even washing. So once your rammed earth walls are up, you can sit back and enjoy them for the rest of your life.