The Earth Sheltered, Prefabricated Fiberglass House

Ralph Bullock's prefabricated fiberglass house panels make it easier than ever to "go underground!"


| May/June 1979



057 fiberglass house2 01.jpg

Even for someone with average construction skills, the panels of America Solartron Corporation's prefabricated plywood house are easy to assemble. Note the drainage system set outside the perimeter of the foundation.

PHOTO: TERRI CALVERT/AMERICAN SOLARTRON CORPORATION

Earth-sheltered and underground homes are certainly nothing new to MOTHER EARTH NEWS' readership. After all, this magazine has been touting the advantages of such dwellings (low fuel costs, minimal maintenance, and superior durability to name a few) for some time now.

Recently, however, we've come across a new concept which might just alter the course of the whole "underground" movement: the prefabricated fiberglass house!

As most of us already know, the great majority of subterranean dwellings are at present made of concrete, poured into forms that have been carefully set into excavations. However, while this method does assure a rock-solid structure, the entire process can be expensive, and often forces the owner to hire a professional work crew to achieve satisfactory results. Not only that, concrete—because of its porous nature—must be thoroughly protected from the effects of moisture ... which will tend to seep through even the thickest of slabs and can actually deteriorate the cement-and-sand mixture.

But now after two years of research, Ralph Bullock (of American Solartron Corporation) has come up with an alternative to the usual underground building materials: his "answer" is fiberglass!

Strange as it may seem, Ralph wasn't looking for a concrete substitute when he made his discovery. In fact he had set out to develop and market a low-cost alternative to "standard" subterranean construction. His idea was to precast concrete slabs and join them together at the building site to form a "finished" structure.

Upon investigation, though, Mr. B. discovered that a prefabricated concrete home just wasn't feasible: "It was far too heavy to transport in sections, and even worse, the finished house would have been overly expensive. That's when we decided to try other materials." The "other material" that Ralph settled on was fiberglass, which is strong, inexpensive, lightweight, water resistant, fireproof, non biodegradable, and known for Its terrific insulative properties. Furthermore, this amazing substance has—for years—been used successfully in the manufacture of septic tanks, sewer lines, boats, and railroad cars—applications that demand a high degree of durability.

barrelracer2
9/20/2017 8:41:29 AM

can this house be built above ground? can it withstand hurricane force winds?


kevin
11/18/2013 7:56:50 PM

I see this information on Ralph Bullocks fiberglass underground house is a bit dated-is there any new info?-thanks,Kevin






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