To build an Earthship, use recycled tires, bottles, cans and conventional building materials. Orient the structure to face the sun, and partially bury it.
- Excavate the building site
Level the building site until virgin soil is exposed. Pile extra dirt in the center of the leveled area.
- Collect tires
A single family Earthship commonly uses 800 or more tires. Consult the local Department of Environmental Quality for help gathering tires.
- Build the tire wall
Lay the tires in the approximate location for the outer wall. Place a piece of cardboard or plastic in the bottom of each tire to prevent soil from falling out. Use a sledge hammer to pack soil into the tire. A tire is completed when no air pockets exist and the sidewall cannot be pushed in at all. Level each tire with itself and its neighboring tires.
- Attach the roof
One method to build an Earthship roof uses rebar to build a ferrocement dome structure. Another method uses long poles to hold up a more traditional roof.
- Place the cisterns
Place many cisterns in the back of the Earthship to hold water that is gathered from the roof of the house.
- Build the front facade
Use traditional framing methods to build the front facade of the Earthship. Construct the wall mostly of glass so that sunlight can enter the house.
- Finish the interior
Plaster the tire walls using traditional stucco methods. Install plumbing and electrical systems, and install a floor.