A typical 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom earthship takes about 4 months to build with an experienced crew and materials organized and money flowing from a construction account.
Building an Earthship yourself will take longer and depend on several factors but expect it to take at least six months. If you cannot work full time on the Earthship, the process will take two or more years to finish.
All Earthships are custom-made and constructed on-site. In addition, as Earthships are made from recycles local materials, every build will be unique.
A significant part of the building process is packing all the tires with dirt. The dirt has to be fully compressed into the tires, which is hard and time-consuming work that has to be done right to keep the walls from collapsing. A typical Earthship requires 700 to 1,500 tires to build an Earthship, depending on the size and style. It takes around 15 to 20 minutes to pack a tire full of earth, which means around 400 hours of work for 1,000 tires.
Earthships theoretically do not have to be made from used tires as other materials can provide the same results. But tires are the most common and a great material for making a solid thermal mass construction of recycled materials.
However, stomping dirt into tires is not all it takes to build an Earthship, you will also have to plaster the tires and many auxiliary tasks. The roof, greenhouse, interior walls, floors, and many other things require some skills and will keep you occupied for quite some time.