How do you build an Earthship?


Quick Answer

To build an Earthship, use recycled tires, bottles, cans and conventional building materials. Orient the structure to face the sun, and partially bury it.

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Full Answer

  1. Excavate the building site

    Level the building site until virgin soil is exposed. Pile extra dirt in the center of the leveled area.

  2. Collect tires

    A single family Earthship commonly uses 800 or more tires. Consult the local Department of Environmental Quality for help gathering tires.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Place the cisterns

    Place many cisterns in the back of the Earthship to hold water that is gathered from the roof of the house.

  6. 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.

  7. Finish the interior

    Plaster the tire walls using traditional stucco methods. Install plumbing and electrical systems, and install a floor.

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