Attaching Interior Partition Walls to Bale Walls

If you have interior partition walls in the straw bale structure you’re building, you’ll need to attach them to the structure before you install your drywall on the interior walls. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about drywall over the bales, just on the interior framed walls. The two biggest problems with interior partition walls in straw bale houses are:

1. The stud that sits on the plane of the bale wall where the two walls intersect is in the way when baling.

2. There’s nowhere to nail mesh along the wall intersection.

I’ve outlined how to deal with both of this issues in this post. The picture above is descriptive of the solution to the second issue.

To handle the first of the two problems, all you have to do is plan ahead. Cut your studs and build your interior partition walls; however, leave off the studs that intersect with the bale walls. Spray them with Bright Pink or Orange spray paint with the word “SAVE” and place them near the partition wall to which they belong. If you have several walls with varying plate heights, you can label each stud with a letter or number that corresponds to the wall to which they belong.

Now that the stud has been set aside, you can build the detail that’s outlined in the drawing above so that you can solve issue number 2. Cut a piece of 5/8″ or 3/4″ plywood so that it fits in between the top plate/beam assembly and the toe up. It should be wide enough to extend 6″ past each side of the stud. It does not have to fit tight to the beam assembly or toe up. Just cut it so that it’s within a couple inches of each when installed. Cover the face of the plywood with roofing felt. Now attach the plywood to the stud by nailing through the plywood into the back of the stud. Be sure the roofing felt is facing the stud and that the plywood is centered properly in between the plate/beam assembly and the toe up.

You’ll need to notch the bales to allow the plywood to sit in them such that the face of the plywood/back of the stud is flush with the face of the bales. Now you have a stud that you can attach the drywall to AND you have nailers on either side of the stud to attach your mesh to. Because the nailers are 6″ wide, you can install the mesh before or after the drywall has been hung. This helps speed up the process because if you hire a drywall sub, they can get to work while you are still baling, moving the whole project forward faster.

2 Responses to Attaching Interior Partition Walls to Bale Walls

  1. Anna Lindsay Sun, June 2, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Dear Andrew,
    Thank you for your wonderful site.
    I was wondering, what *THICKNESS* you would recommend for the various types of interior wall, when planning and sketching out the dimensions of the floor plan etc?
    And what would you recommend that they be constructed from? I assume that straw bales are too thick?
    Finally, how do you recommend heating the house in such a way that the interior walls do not create “cold spots” – ie., how would I be able to ensure that the heat is spread well throughout the house? Underfloor heating plus ?? If you had a radiant heat source, how would you ensure that the heat is shared with other rooms?
    Huge thanks!

  2. Andrew Sat, June 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Hi Anna. I would use standard interior walls and radiant floor heating for the best results.

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