I don’t know what the weather is like where you are while you read this, but it’s pretty rainy here today! It’s always a concern for bale builders that the rains will come at just the wrong time. In fact, I’ve said it before that as soon as your bales arrive on site, you can expect rain, even if you live in the Sahara! It’s Murphy’s Law I guess. Anyway, I’ve got some simple and cool tips for you to implement when building your house and the storm clouds start to roll in.
Tarps. Yup, that’s the most obvious tip of all. The key is, how do you use them effectively.
1. Most people want to wrap their bales up tight with tarps so that there’s no way for water to get in. I prefer to wrap my bales with a top tarp that is pulled away from the bales with ropes at the bottom. This keeps the water off but allows wind to blow through and keep the bales dry from condensation.
2. Be sure to stack your bales in a pyramid of sorts so that there are no flat spots on the top of the stack. Those flat spots will collect water in the tarps which will eventually fail and the water will enter your stack. By keeping the pyramid shape, the water will always flow off and away from the stack.
3. Build a breezeway. I use tarps from the main stack attached to the house as a breezeway for transporting bales into the home. Be sure to angle the tarp so that it drains, usually to the side is best for simplicity. This keeps the bales dry from the well covered stack to their placement in the house.
4. If you can’t shape and cut the bales inside, use 10’x10′ portable tents with optional walls. This gives you a dry workspace in which to manage the bales.
5. Hang tarps from the house eaves to protect the bales as you install them. If the rain is unusual for the time of year in which you’re building, you don’t have to worry much about the sides of the bales getting wet once they’re stacked in the wall; however, keep the tops of the bales dry the entire time. If it is indeed the rainy season, keep the bale sides dry as well. You’ll be spraying them with water right before you plaster, I know, but if they get really saturated, you can end up with some rot before the dry season comes around again. It won’t likely be much rot, but none is better than any.