Maui Blog - Georgie Hunter R(S): Building with rammed earth on Maui - a small project

Building with rammed earth on Maui - a small project

rammed earth hut in Haiku Maui Hawaii

Rammed Earth Building

Our neighbors are building a rammed earth home on their Haiku Maui property and they built this little experimental project to test some techniques.  It's not finished obviously, but it's coming along.  The walls are made with mud and concrete in different ratios - that was part of the test.  The outside will be covered with a stucco like coating, also using the earth, so it will keep the natural brown color.

In this building, the walls are only 7 inches thick, but in the big house, the walls will be 16-18 inches thick.  That's a lot of rammed earth!  I guess it will be sort of like an adobe house... keeping the interior nice and cool... no need for AC.

I hope to be updating the progress on the main house... right now it's just a concrete slab.  Got questions about building with rammed earth?

These neighbors are very enthusiastic about their off grid Maui home and garden... they have a HUGE veggie garden and some chickens.  They are trying to live a self sustaining lifestyle, to be more independent.  I have to admire their determination.

For more info about living off the grid on Maui - talk to a local expert... 

Georgina M. Hunter R(S) e-Pro  808 283-9635

Comment balloon 15 commentsGeorgie Hunter R(S) 58089 • June 27 2008 03:53AM


I wonder how it will hold up in wet weather Georgie

Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Elite Pacific Properties Maui) almost 11 years ago

How neat is that!  Having lived in NM in an adobe home it does very well in heat and cold.  Where do they get this mud?  I would think for a large house they'd have to bring it from somewhere.  Keep us posted!

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) almost 11 years ago

My first thought was some radical 60's hippie was at it again in Maui.  Then I read your blog a second time and recognized that this may be great for the islands due to the relatively high building costs.  Since most older homes in Hawaii do not have heating and cooling, the rammed earth home may be a "refuge" for the cold or hot days. Most importantly, it would be an inexpensive ohana house. 

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) almost 11 years ago

It will be interesting to see how it does over time.  Has there been and word on the costs compared to conventional construction?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Steve - I'm also wondering about that.  The exterior will be stucco, but they are deciding whether or not to leave the interior "au natch" - maybe not such a good idea.

Laura - we have plenty of mud on the north shore... haha, when it rains anyway.  Seriously, the soil is very deep and rock free at this site.

Leolinda - oh those damn hippies!  Can't get away from them here on Maui.  : )  I don't think inexpensive is a word that will apply... except to this little one here.

Randy - I think the cost will still be pretty high, with all that concrete and steel, but the good news is that the maintenance costs should be low.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

Looks pretty cool. I was wondering if anyone has used straw bale in Hawaii or if moisture and pets make that impractical.

Posted by Pete Jalbert, R(S) (The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. ) almost 11 years ago

Isn't this house very interesting! And I saw in your profile that you are living off the grid and your husband is raising beef organically.  A few years ago I received a book called "5 Acres and Independence" and was hot for the idea.  Gradually I've moved away from the dream, but I'll admit I'm tickled to have learned of you.  I'm just getting started on the AR site, so I'm still a bit overwhelmed with all the fascinating information (and people) I'm finding.  I also need a new word for 'Wow!'.

Posted by Lynn Krogseng (Keller Williams Premier Partners) almost 11 years ago

I would love to be in the cool confines of a rammed earth home tonight. Since I live off the grid there is no air conditioning available. Traditional building methods hold too much heat. My Southern exposure is great for the winter but in the summer I bake. Some cool walls would be nice.

Posted by Sabrina Kelley, Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

@Sabrina- have you considered decidous trees to help provide shade in the summer and light in the winter?

Georgina- thanks for sharing the project. My experience with rammed earth is that it can last a good long time if maintained. I have seen it do well in wet environments. I look forward to the future posts on the project.

Posted by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck (Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Pete - straw and hay is way expensive here, so not practical for Hawaii.

Lynn - don't give up on your dreams

Sabrina - maybe you need a hammock outside for these hot summer nights. 

Frank - that's encouraging to hear that it works in a wet environment - since it's very humid here most of the time.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

What an interesting blog. I would think if it is the right combination of mud and concrete it should be sufficient. If the stucco is put up correct and no cracks that would prevent  water penetration. Keep us informed.

Posted by Carl Winters almost 11 years ago

C & C - thanks for the input... I hope to be adding more posts as this project continues.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

Have a nice Fourth of July - Ceil

Posted by Carl Winters almost 11 years ago

Georgina - WOW, this is really interesting! Thanks for sharing!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 11 years ago

Hi BJ hope your weekend is going well.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments