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GSBN:re: Exterior cladding question

On Feb 10, 2005, at 8:44 PM, Catherine Wanek wrote:

Hi Chris & all--

One thing that has not been mentioned..... I understand that there is
usually about 9% cement added to compressed earth blocks, which makes
more durable to the weather and would also affect their permeability.

But how much, I wonder?

Bruce King here, and so do I.  I'm about to start two different design
and research projects, ie houses with experiments and monitoring on the
side, using compressed earth blocks.

In both cases, the owner also wants to start selling blocks, and both
are in high seismic areas (Portland, Oregon and Nevada City, California
(Sierra foothills).

A recent visit with Tom Morton, a Scottish architect working with earth
blocks, really convinced me that adding cement is not only sometimes
unnecessary, but even detrimental to performance by several measures.
Can anyone refer me to field experience and/or testing information
(strength and durability, mainly) for compressed earth blocks without


Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965  USA
(415) 331-7630
fax 332-4072
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org

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