How To Make A Compressed Earth Block

What You'll Need
Lime or Portland cement
Soil press

Compressed earth block is a very popular way to build a home, especially in the Southwestern part of the country. Compressed earth block is easy to work with, and does not impact the environment the way a brick or stick built home would. Also, compressed earth block are quite inexpensive.

Making Compressed Earth Block

A compressed earth block (or CEB) can be processed very quickly if the soil conditions are correct. Up to 1,500 blocks can be created with a mechanical press and dry earth.

Alternatively, you can create your own compressed earth blocks very easily with a few simple steps and basic materials.

Step One

In order to get the best soil for your blocks, screen the materials very well. This will take little bit of time, but the time you spend now will ensure you get a better block in the end.

Begin with a large mesh opening and progress to a smaller mesh opening in the screen. Have a finished pile that you can use for your blocks. The rest of the larger debris, rocks, pebbles and organic matter can be tossed away.

Step Two

Once you have screened the soil of pieces of rock and debris, put it into a small wooden trough or piece of plywood where you can easily mix it.

Add some lime or Portland Cement into the soil for a little added strength. You do not have to do this step, but the resulting strength is worth the extra time and effort.

Work with the water to get the right mixture. Too much water will lead to a wet mixture and the cost of your block will rise. However, too little water and the block will be too dry and crumble apart.

Step Three

Put the correct amount of soil for the CEB into the block press and close the lid. Compact the soil inside with the use of either a hydraulic jack or by hand.

Step Four

After a specified period of time, release the jack or lever and open the lid. Your new compressed earth block should be solid and firm. If not, replace the lid and compact it again.

If it is solid, remove the CEB from the press and set aside for use in your building.

Step Five

Repeat the entire process again until you have enough blocks for your building project.