article 2 of 2 today
Simple Shelter options 3 “The Soddy”
Since my last update, I’ve had the chance to read up on sod houses a little more. I’ve found little information overall on constructing these homes, and was a little unclear on one element of the construction. That being that when you get to the third row, you should flip the sod bricks 90º perpendicular to the first two rows for stability, and that you should do this every third row. The PDF link below makes this clear, and in order to do this properly, you need sod strips that when placed side by side, the two are the same length as they are wide. In other words, let’s say 1’ wide by 2’ long. Lay the strips side by side on the 1’ section, for a total of 2’ wide. Then when you place the third row perpendicular to these two, it fits across them perfectly. But the PDF link below will bring it into perspective if this does not make sense .
From my research, it appears that most sod homes had a relatively short lifespan of perhaps 5 years or so, before needing major repairs, or a complete rebuild. Yet, there are sod homes still standing that were built in the 19th century. I don’t see any reason why a sod home built with the addition of inexpensive modern materials (such as polyethylene plastic sheeting) would not last for many years, if not decades, while being water tight at the same time.
Sod homes, with their two foot thick walls, were very warm in winter, and quite cool in the summer. Many of the early plains homesteaders that lived in sod homes, survived the first few winters comfortably, while many that did not, perished. If I were to build a sod home, I would build it as a dugout in order to take even greater advantage of the thermal properties of the earth.
Here’s an example of what I had in mind:
Probably the two best links that I’ve found on sod home building:
As a final note, I’ll add that when I started to write this post, I was rather enthused at the prospect of building a sod house. As I type this out however, I’m thinking that there are far better and more practical ways to go. Obviously, the easiest way to go about earth sheltered is to find an existing structure (i.e. an old automobile, a large reinforced shipping crate, etc) and partially bury, then cover over the remaining exposed portion with straw flakes, and then lightly with earth. Earth bag or tire structures also offer up a less costly option. But at the time of this writing, I have little knowledge on tire homes, and only slightly more on earth bag construction. So I have some research ahead of me to learn the fundamentals, and can’t really comment any further on these procedures at this point in time.