There are so many options for anchor bolts these days that it is hard to know what to use. I believe I have found the best option for most straw bale projects. Keep in mind that with both interior and exterior toe ups, there are a LOT of anchor bolts in a bale house. Because of this, expense has to be considered; however, it should not be the main factor.

The standard J-Bolt, shown above, is used in most sill/toe up to concrete foundation application. The problem with the j bolt is that it has to be set in place before the concrete is poured. This means that the finishing of the concrete is harder to accomplish in a flat, even surface. Having to trowel around each of the many bolts is a pain, especially those located for the interior toe ups. Secondly, the interior toe ups are not usually installed until later in the building process and so the anchor bolts, sticking out of the foundation, become a major tripping hazard.

I have moved toward using the above pin style anchors by Simpson Strong Ties® instead of the J-Bolts where permitted by code and or design (be sure to check with your engineer or code official). These bolts are easy to install after the concrete has set up and right before you actually need them. Much safer all the way around in terms of tripping, ect.. Be sure you don’t have any radiant floor heating tubes in the area as hitting one of those when installing a bolt will ruin your day.

About the Author

Andrew Morison is a specialist in straw bale and green construction. He has shown thousands of people how to build their own straw bale projects through his comprehensive series of instructional straw bale, concrete foundation, and plastering DVDs, as well as his hands on workshops. You can check these out at

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