Construction is often a complicated subject for a lot of people and with the sophisticated techniques for design and process that have been developed in the last fifty years, most require straight answers from people who actually apply them on a regular basis. Though the concept of rammed earth construction seems simple, there are still a lot of questions asked about it; listed below are the most frequently asked ones and professional rammed earth builders provided answers to enlighten all those interested to know more about this ancient building technique.
How durable are rammed earth structures? Very durable. It was reported that the oldest rammed earth buildings found were thousands of years old. As for homes, the ones in Northern Europe are about 200 years old and stand 7 storeys high. And with the more advanced construction strategies that builders have, a rammed earth building can last you more than a lifetime even while requiring very little maintenance. It’s said that you can wait 10 to 20 years before applying a second coat of sealer to your rammed earth walls to reinforce protection from weather elements like rain and even snow. Worth mentioning as well is that rammed earth buildings are pest-resistant; rodents and insects like termites and carpenter ants are not attracted to the material for there’s no component that they can eat. And finally, earth is fire-resistant; it doesn’t burn, so it’s ideal for bush living. Tests conducted even showed that a 250mm rammed earth block has four-hour fire resistance properties.
How does it support green living? A green home is one that has minimised CO2 emissions and a rammed earth building is non-toxic, non-polluting; it’s free of fungicides and pesticides which a lot of commercial construction materials are treated with to prevent structurally damaging infestation. It also offers the benefit of reducing energy costs because proper insulation is easily addressed by the thick and dense (thermal mass) walls that maintain ideally comfortable temperatures inside the building. Rammed earth homes are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Lastly, since it does not make use of wood, trees are left in the forest to grow and provide shelter to animals.
Won’t it look too “old?” Some people think that rammed earth homes cannot appear modern but that relies greatly on the design that clients wish to go with. Expert rammed earth builders have a wealth of design ideas that have a strong modern appeal; if you don’t want a home that looks like it’s straight out of the time of Moses, you don’t have to settle for one. Some even have a really futuristic design which proves that applying and reappraising old building principles and designs work effectively in the fulfillment of future-ready concepts.