Rammed Tyre Foundations

The footings in the buildings are rammed earth tyres. At the front of the building, the tyres are three deep below the ground, where by the right side (by the door) they are one or two deep. The depth of the foundations was dependent on the surface they were being built on, so I had to dig down to ensure I was building onto solid soil. Around the foundations, I installed a french drain to ensure no water gathered around the base of the building.

The front of the building foundations going in.


Once the foundations were placed, the retaining wall was built up from the back with a waterproof membrane behind it to stop the moisture coming through the wall when it rains.

The foundations and retaining wall under construction.


I reinforced the wall with iron rebar every other tyre. The rebar was placed every second tyre after four courses (one below ground) and then again on the final course ensuring the iron was going into the tyres which weren’t reinforced on the previous course.

The steel rebar placed every other tyre goes through the tyres into the ground to hold them steady.

The steel rebar placed every other tyre goes through the tyres into the ground to hold them steady.

To finish the wall, a wall plate was built with a ladder style which provided a moisture barrier between the tyres and the straw – just in case any moisture manages to creep up through the wall!

Inside, the wall was exposed tyres, but when I added my clay render inside the studio, I just added it over the tyres and it stuck well, as shown in the photo below. An alternative to this wouldbe to use hempcrete, like Rik Lander did in his straw bale studio (see here)

Sorry for the poor quality of the image, you can see the scratch coat and the final coat of clay going on inside.

As I plastered the outside of the shed, I realised that I had an excess amount of lime render, so I did some test patches to see how well lime render sticks to my tyre wall. Many years later, the render is still there, but I didn’t pursue it any further so no further photos to update, unfortunately!