Building a Sawdust Concrete Home

Building a sawdust concrete home. An article reprinted from Popular Mechanics, and an update on how that house has held up, thirty years later.

| January/February 1978

An article about building a sawdust concrete home and and how that house has held up, thirty years later.

Building a Sawdust Concrete Home

Thirty years ago — just after World War II, when so many exciting human-scale things were still being done in so many fields — a fellow out in Idaho built a house of sawdust and concrete. And Popular Mechanics, among other publications, reported on the construction of that house. Good for Popular Mechanics.

The only trouble is . . . we've been waiting ever since for a follow-up report that would tell us how well this unusual building has stood the test of time. And — since it doesn't seem that anyone else is interested in doing that follow-up — MOTHER has tackled the project.

Here, then, is the original Popular Mechanics story from 30 years ago . . . and MOTHER's update on Wait Friberg's sawdust/concrete home, as it looks and performs today.

Reprinted by permission from Popular Mechanics, copyright© 1948 by H.H. Windsor.

Anyone experiencing a revival of the old desire to use sawdust and shavings in place of sand and gravel to get a lighter and cheaper concrete should get acquainted with the tiny diatom — nature's wonder plant — and how Walt Friberg used it to cut costs in his new home at Moscow, Idaho.

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