Rammed Earth Planning

Huston Rammed Earth provides value engineering. Bring your schematic plans and we'll help you find the best and most cost effective way to build your house.

HRE walls are 2 feet thick. Our standard forms are 8 feet long and 8 feet high. Full modules of 8 feet are preferred. Anything less (to 2 feet) can be accomplished, or anything more (up to 10 feet) will work.

Header heights, sill heights, door and window rough openings should be determined and noted on the set of plans we will be given. Locations and heights of niches or other special indentations should also be noted on the plans.

Site Requirements

Water should be available on site. We will use 400 to 700 gallons of water per day. Water delivery should be a minimum of 2 gallons per minute at a minimum of 25 psi.

Sufficient room to manuever a Bobcat is necessary. Arrangements should be made for disposal of cement sacks. If conditions and local requirements allow, they may be burned daily. These sacks add up quickly, so a containment cage may be needed to keep them from blowing away until they can be disposed of.

Material (Soil)

If suitable building material is not available on site, Huston Rammed Earth will locate a source as close to the job site as possible.

Material should be a dry non-cloddy mix of sand, 1”minus aggregate and some soil.  A low clay content is better because clay doesn’t bind well with cement.  HRE will look for material suitable for the walls and makes small r.e. samples for the clients to approve the color and texture.  If a suitable color cannot be found then dye can be added.  This will vary the cost depending on the color and amount required.


For 2-foot walls, footings must be a minimum of 26 inches or forming can be left in place so that we have a place on which to set our forms. Any vents, electric, etc. that come up in the footing should be recessed at least 2 inches into the interior of the wall.

Any plumbing outside the wall or in the slab should be a minimum of 4 inches from the wall edge and installed in such a way that it can be cut off flush with the slab. This can be accomplished by wrapping with foam prior to pouring the slab, so that after pouring the pipes can be cut off flush. When we have completed the walls, there should be enough room to attach with a coupler. It is easy to attach pipes later in this way. An optimum way to do this is to pour slab and rough-in plumbing after the walls are done.

We need a minimum of 15 inches from the slab edge to enable us to set our forms. Footings need to be level in order to make level walls. Footings should be backfilled prior to our arrival on the site.

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Huston Rammed Earth, Inc. © 2011