Using Rebar Stakes with Earthbags
Questions answered by Kelly Hart

Q: Should one use rebar reinforcement every 2 feet driven vertically through the bags.

A: This is not reallly necessary, except perhaps where you want to tie the wall into a bond beam.

Q: Why is it OK to use rebar through a bag? Doesn't it weaken the bag too much?

A: There only a few circumstances where it may be necessary to do this, but actually puncturing the bag with rebar does not substantially weaken it, and the fill material rarely leaks out.

Q: I saw this in a video called "Making the Soweto Hospice with Volunteers" where they said that it was not necessary to use the barbed wire because of these rebar stakes. I decided to do it like this because it´s cheaper. I could not afford the barbed wire, but if you tell me thatIi definitely need the barbed wire I will try to get some money to buy it.

A: We post lots of videos and pages about many different earthbag projects just to give readers as much information as possible. Ultimately it is your choice to decide how you want to proceed. I would say that 99% of the earthbag projects that I know about have used barbed wire, partly because that is how Nader Khalili, the architect who first popularized this technique, did it. Using stakes does help stabilize the wall, but the wire is just a bit better I think, especially if there were ever an earthquake that affected the house.

Q: I read an idea of just using rebar instead of bard wire, I guess that would work. What do you think?

A: As for using rebar instead of barbed wire, this has not been proven over time to be as stable as barbed wire to keep a structure intact, so I am not sure how well it will work. If that rebar is also incorporated into the bond beam at the top, this will certainly help stabilize the building. I doubt that using rebar stakes is any more economical than barbed wire, and may be more costly.

Q: If I were using rebar to avoid building buttresses on straight walls, how far is it recommended for them to be apart in a non-seismic area?

A: Stabilizing a straight wall with rebar pounded down through the wall might work if that rebar is also embedded in a bond beam at the top of the wall. I would suggest doing this at perhaps 2 - 3 foot intervals. Otherwise, for reinforcing with external rebar, you can consult these specs.

Q: What's the longest rebar you've ever hammered into a wall? I just tried a 10' long half inch rebar and am very puzzled. I thought I tried this before but a long rebar was impossible. Starting gently, it was ok. Now, it was going into a low strength earthbag tamped just yesterday. Slipping a 3/4" inside diameter section of iron pipe around it that's just a couple feet shorter than the rebar made the rebar vibrate a lot less so you could pound harder. This issue of using long rebar is huge for engineers working on designs for high risk areas.

A: I've never tried to pound a 10' length of rebar. Owen and I usually recommend only pounding about half that length. Two 5' sections will overlap by 2' in the middle of an 8' wall, and that should be sufficient to adequately stiffen the wall.


See Your Ad
in This Space!

Click Here
for More Information


Disclaimer of Liability and Warranty
We specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. No one associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this or any other page at this site.

For Email contact go to About Us

We are interested in communication from others who are exploring the possibilities inherent with earthbag building.

Visit Our Other Websites: