How to Make Hempcrete
Marketed as Canosmose or Canobiote, hempcrete is a biocomposite construction material that has been gaining popularity due to its versatility, durability, and sustainability.
While it might seem like a recent innovation, hempcrete has been around since the 1990s, when it was used for insulation in France. Due to the environmental concerns in the last few decades, sustainable building alternatives are taking precedence over the good old concrete, and hempcrete tops that list.
But what exactly is Hempcrete? Why should you use it? More importantly, how do you make it?
What is Hempcrete?
Hempcrete is a composite of a mineral binder (lime) and bio fiber (hemp hurd). The two ingredients are mixed with water to trigger a chemical reaction that makes the moistened binder to set and form a coat on the hemp hurd particles, gluing them together.
When the binder sets, the extra water is dried out to form a solid construction composite known as hempcrete. Unlike other construction composites (such as concrete, plaster, and mortar), the binder portion in hempcrete isn’t meant to fill all the spaces between the bio-fiber particles.
Rather, it’s intended to only act as an adhesive that binds the particles together. Thus, the final hempcrete composite typically has lots of void space.
How Do You Make Hempcrete?
Making Hempcrete is fairly easy and straightforward. As you might have gathered, you’ll need water, lime binder, and hemp hurd. With these materials at hand, you need to get your ratios right and then mix them using a concrete mixer or a pan.
For a solid composite, one part lime binder, one part water, and four parts hemp hurd. Start by pouring about 80% of the required volume of water and the lime binder into the mixer. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until milt appears.
Next, gradually pour the hemp hurd and keep mixing until you get a pasty mixture. Afterward, pour in the remaining water and mix. Don’t spin the mixture too long, because it may start to form small balls. Use your hempcrete composite quickly, and repeat the process as many times as you need to complete your construction project.
Why Should You Use Hempcrete?
Hempcrete comes with several benefits, including:
Hempcrete bricks diffuse accumulated heat in the summer to prevent overheating and retain it when temperatures are low. As such, using them for construction will provide natural temperature regulation for your home.
Thanks to their porous structure, hemp hurds absorb and store moisture. This water holding capability allows hempcrete to take on moisture when humidity skyrockets and releases it when the air is dry, making it an excellent choice for areas with extremely high humidity levels.
Hempcrete prevents the growth of mold in two ways. First, it keeps humidity – the leading cause of mold growth – in check. Second, the lime binder contained in the composite has a high pH, giving it antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Depending on the type of finish applied and the thickness of the composite used, hempcrete blocks can provide fire resistance for up to two hours.
Build an Eco-Friendly Hempcrete House
To cut down on carbon footprint and promote healthier living, the use of hempcrete as a building material is gaining traction. This superior material is suitable for both internal and external use, making it even more versatile.
With all these benefits and ease of manufacture, make your next home a Hempcrete Home.