Build Your Own Yurt Using Papercrete


Photo by Instructables

This article was originally posted in Instructables and is reposted with permission from Michael Warren.

Papercrete is just what it sounds like: concrete made with paper. I tell people to think of it as industrial paper-mache. It’s inexpensive to make, amazingly sturdy, lightweight and insulating.

Step 1: So, What Is Papercrete, Anyway?

Making papercrete consists of adding a certain ratio of paper and/or cardboard to water and then adding portland cement. The mixture is then stirred with a blade to re-pulp the paper and mix everything together. When properly mixed, it has the consistency of lumpy oatmeal, which can be poured into forms and cast into shapes, such as blocks or beams or dome sections. You use the same stuff as a mortar to glue the blocks together. It can also be used as a plaster to make a smooth finish coat on the inside and outside of a structure. Papercrete has an R value of 2 per inch so a 12" wall has an R value of 24. Not bad!

• It’s sturdy but lightweight. A block only weighs a few pounds but can hold up a car!

• It’s weatherproof. I’ve had blocks out in the elements for four years, and they haven’t changed at all. It does absorb water like a sponge so if they are going to be used for walls they need to be protected from moisture. Similar to wood they will decompose if buried underground so they need to be up on a raised foundation.

1/20/2021 10:30:36 AM

Have you ever tried any of the epoxy additives for concrete to see if it adds strength and makes waterproof?

2/13/2020 11:56:48 AM

Fantastic building block suggestion! Thank you!

2/18/2019 9:47:07 AM

Will not pass building codes in most places because papercrete will not pass required compression tests. Same reason strawbale houses require structural vertical supports.

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