The igloo was originally a place for protection from the elements for those living in frigid regions of the Canadian tundra. Igloo is the American Indian Inuit word for “snow house.” Hundreds of years ago, the Inuits had little access to materials to build a shelter so they began to use one of the few resources they had – ice. The igloo became a way for hunters to survive the frigid winters in areas that included eastern Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, and parts of Canada.
How Have Igloos Changed Today?
Modern-day igloos – Less about protection from the cold and more about design, architecture, and fun. Modern-day igloos don’t stop at a simple design. Ice bars, intricate ice structures, and mixed media art pieces can all be created by working with snow and taking advantage of below-freezing temps to make beautiful exhibits.
How Do Igloos Work?
How igloos work – A common question for those interested in igloos is, “how do they keep you warm?” The coldest air settles at the door near the floor, which is below the surface of the surrounding snow outside, while the warmer air rises. So, the inside of the igloo will include a raised sleeping platform that while still cold at 30 to 40 degree Fahrenheit, it is better than the alternative exposed to the elements and colder temperatures.
How Do I Get Started Building An Igloo?
Your step-by-step guide to building an igloo:
- Make sure you have enough snow. It’s a common misstep to underestimate how much snow is required to build an igloo. Most igloo experts (yes, there are igloo experts) estimate that you’ll need around a foot of snow to make your icy abode.
- Choose your snow-type wisely. The type of snow matters. The top powder won’t work. You’ll need the denser stuff that lies below the top layer to build a proper igloo.
- Start with a big circle. The foundation starts with a circle that is under ten feet in diameter, recommended.
- Use a mold to create bricks. Use a box or a mold of some kind to create bricks that are approximately three feet long, 15 inches high, and about eight inches thick. These sizes can be reduced for smaller igloos.
- Start building your igloo. Take your bricks and place them in your circle, reducing the size as you get higher. The continuous spiral should be on a slant that rises higher as you circle. You may need to use sticks or boards to prop up the bricks until it gets high enough.
- Add your form and function. Your igloo won’t be complete without a vent to allow airflow and a door to enter through and close to keep your body heat inside.
- Lock it down with ice. Ice is stronger than snow, so be sure to hose down your igloo when the temps are cold enough to help turn the water into ice.
Arctic cultures such as the Eskimo and the Inuit are credited with the engineering marvel that we know as the igloo. And, in today’s world as temps rise due to global warming, creating ice houses may be limited in scope. Whether you are creating an igloo for utility and relief from the cold or for a fun winter day’s project, this guide should help you get started. You can count on Spring-Green for the tips and tools you need to get through the coldest days of winter and beyond. Our team of pros is standing by to help with quality lawn care services, pest control services, and tree and shrubbery care.