I know that the topic of metal in straw bale wall assemblies is a contentious one, and that is precisely why I want to bring it up and talk about it with you all. I have been saying for years that the use of welded wire mesh and plaster lath is essential to a quality bale house, and that sentiment has not changed. I want to quickly share my thoughts about using metal mesh and lath, and then hear from those of you who either agree or disagree with the practice.
There is no question that the more elaborate your design, the more expensive it will be to build; however, there are ways to find that sought after balance that will please both your senses and your finances.
When designing a custom home, it’s important to know you can actually afford to build what you design. These seven tips will help you hit your target and successfully build the home you have dreamed about without breaking the budget.
If you plan to build your straw bale house with angular walls, instead of using common right angle intersections, this post will give you a simple, fast, and effective way to build strong, structural corners.
Water is enemy number 1 in straw bale construction. The good news is that with proper design and construction details, your straw bale house will stay dry and moisture issue free. The key to installing plumbing in a bale house is to create ‘water isolation walls’. I describe how to do this in the latest […]
One of the most stunning aspects of a straw bale home is the shape that window and door openings take. The gentle curves flood light across the room and lend a sense of calm and peace to the occupants. These very same curves that bring so much joy and serenity can also drive home owners crazy. That sounds unlikely; however, when the curves are not properly built, they can cause all kinds of problems as the home is finished.
We have recently added a bunch of construction drawings of straw bale houses (full sets of plans) to our website bringing the total to nineteen sets. We have several different architects represented with several different styles. Everything from simple to elaborate is available.
Last weekend in Denver, Colorado I held my first ever 2-day Straw Bale Design Seminar. I suppose it would be silly for me to try and share the group experience via a blog post. We simply covered too much ground and had too much fun to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I’ll do my best, nonetheless, to let you in on it as best I can. I started my workshop by hugging old friends and saying hello to new ones. I think there is something about starting a workshop that way because the smiles seemed to be contagious. I think they came from knowing that the room was full of like minded people willing to share their questions and experiences to help the group move forward. The simple format of the weekend allowed us to discuss the inner workings of straw bale construction in great detail. We covered the construction details of building a straw bale home and how to properly represent those details on the construction drawings. We talked at great length about working with building departments, banks, insurance companies, and more. We dove into managing subcontractors, budgets, and time lines. We reviewed the plans that participants brought with them and offered feedback and guidance on each set.
Check out this video of Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s “2012 Houses Award-Best New Home.” This is a beautiful straw bale house designed by Anni Tilt of Arkin Tilt Architects.
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A lot of people are excited about the idea of straw bale construction; however, they stumble a bit when it comes to estimating the cost of their potential home. So how is someone supposed to make an informed decision about what plan to buy and what that plan might cost to build? The answer is actually very simple: start with a rough estimate of the cost. Just a rough number will let you know if it is in your price range or not. If you want accuracy, you will need accurate plans. The only way to get accurate plans is to purchase a set of quality construction plans, specific to straw bale homes, like those on StrawBalePlans.com, or to design your own.