Stockton Earth Home Project

An earth home is no more a cave, than a penthouse is an attic.

Notes

With questions that are starting to come our way, I thought I'd create a separate directory where I can keep notes.

  • How to Break through Sandstone
  • List of Things to do prior to construction
  • Save scrap lumber.  When we built our first house, we sent very little to the landfill.  From time to time, we need a little block of wood here and there.  The scraps came in handy.  Seemingly short and useless pieces of wood ended up being just what was needed in several projects on the house.  We didn't throw a lot away.
    Even our scrap sheetrock was ground up and spread on the lawn.  The lime would elevate the ph of the soil, and it was that much less that went to the landfill.
  • Take lots of photographs.  Once concrete is in place and/or walls are covered, you will not be able to see where utilities are located.  It's good to have lots of documentation for where things are located.
  • Check our Links section.  Among these links are a number of different companies and/or methods for building an earth-sheltered home.  I highly recommend the Earthwood method for people with less money, but good muscle and a willingness to use sweat to build equity.
  • Using some kind of home design software would be helfpul in the process.  Also check the "How To Design" at WikiHow.com.
  • Get a good strong magnet.  You'll need this for site cleanup.  There will be too many nails, screws, etc to pick up manually (or even to locate in some cases).  If you don't clean the site up, chances are someone will either get hurt, or material and/or equipment could be punctured.  We went to a hardware store and got a "magnetic sweeper", which is meant for picking up these items on a shop floor.
  • Save every receipt, scrap of paper, notes, etc.  You want to keep track of costs.  In addition, you want to be able to verify what you've already paid for and what you haven't.  It's good to keep any scraps of paper that you've made notes on, that have prices that are quoted to you.  Later, it'll be frustrating if you know you were told a better price, but you can't find that paper to find what it was.  (Normally, I don't like to clutter, but get a "house file" and keep as much as you can in it, separating it in sections for different aspects of the house.
  • Remember Call Before You Dig.  I made notes about it in our Answers section, but want to touch on it here briefly.  If you intend to do any digging on your property, you would be well advised to Call Before You Dig.  Most states have something like this (they typically call it CBUD (Call Before U Dig) or some variation) for you to make a request to have the utility companies come to your property and mark where any buried utility lines exist.  The phone company will come and mark their lines.  The electric company and gas companies will mark their lines.  If there are any lines on your property that they didn't install (such as a sprinkler system that you installed), then these lines will be at risk.  However, the Call Before You Dig services are free (at least they are where I live) and it's reasonably timely.
  • Know product information.  Make sure you know shelf life, storage conditions, application environment, etc with regards to the products you will be using.  You don't want to buy materials ahead of time and then find out later that they have a liimited shelf life.

I'll keep adding to this list as time permits.  There are loads of things to know.  (lots to forget if not written down).

We've added an "Answers" page because of questions posted in the guestbook.