Geometry for Earthbag Walls
If the following conditions apply:
- The minimum required area of steel in not provided in earthbag walls.
- The wall is tied to the roof at the top.
- The building is not located in Seismic Design Category D, E, or F, the guidelines below has shown success in many projects.
- Earthbag wall heights should not be more than 10 feet.
- Earthbag wall thickness should be 16 inches or more. This is the same thickness required for Rubble Stone Masonry Wall by the international Residential Code, 2006, Section R606.2.2 Rubble stone masonry wall. “The minimum thickness of rough, random or coursed rubble stone masonry walls shall be 16 inches”.
- At the top of the earthbag wall, providing a concrete bond beam with 2- # 5 bars is recommended.
- If your home/building is round/circular, the wall must have lateral support. Round is sound; this is of course with limitation on the diameter of the curvature.
- If the home is not circular/round, using curved walls is a good practice; the amount of curvature should be half of the earthbag wall height. If using curved walls is not possible, provide buttresses at 12 feet on centers.
The lateral support can be provided by the interior interacting earthbag walls with interlocking corners. Also, this is the same thickness required by the International Building Code, IBC, under section 2109 Empirical Design of Masonry, subsection 222.214.171.124 Rubble stone walls. “The minimum thickness of rough, random or coursed rubble stone walls shall be 16 inches”.
Disclaimer: The above statements/ information are just a general preliminary opinion and may not be applicable to your or to any user’s particular project. Users of the above opinions/information assume all liability arising from such use. You should retain the service of PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. or a local licensed Professional Engineer. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for its use and/or application.