Not everyone wants square walls in their house. Some people like round walls, others prefer angular walls. In this post, I give you a simple way to create angular walls in your straw bale home. As always, there are several ways to achieve any one goal, and I’m sharing my favorite way to create the angular walls, not the only way.
I prefer to use a framed structure in all of my straw bale homes, and especially when I am making corners that do not intersect at 90 degrees. Attempting to make corners in an octagonal building with load bearing bales is, in my opinion, risky and not a good idea. The most obvious place for posts in angular walls is where the angle changes. This is because the roof needs to bear directly above those areas in order to properly support the framing and potential roof loads such as snow, etc.
Use the framing to your advantage. At each post, install additional framed sections that create a vertical stopping point for the bales. I use framing lumber and OSB or plywood to make a structural bale stop as shown in the photo to the left. These stopping points allow you to pack the bales tightly into each transition and also provide a nailing surface for the mesh which will eventually stretch over the wall surface and around the corners.
Once you have stacked and “cleaned up” all of your bales, and added the roofing felt to any exposed wood (as you would normally do), move to completing the corners. Add mesh to the bottom of the corner either at a pre-formed angle (if you want a hard corner), or pulled to form a gentle curve, whichever you prefer. Either way, start at the bottom with only a few feet of mesh (measured from the bottom up) so that you can access the corner and stuff it tightly with straw. Overlap the next piece of mesh by at least 6″ and work your way up the wall adding stuffing and mesh as you go. It may be easier to stuff the very top of the wall before you complete the section directly below it. Once the majority of the corner is stuffed, complete the top section and then fill the final space of the wall between that which you stuffed up and stuffed down. It’s simply easier to finish in the middle of the wall, when measured vertically, than at the very top.
This is a simple, strong, effective and fast way to make angular corners in any straw bale structure.