It may sound obvious, but learning how to build a house, of any kind but especially a straw bale house, is a good thing to do before you actually start building. Ask yourself the following 15 questions and if you cannot answer them with a high level of confidence, you would be best served to gain some more experience before you start building.
The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) has done amazing work in the field of straw bale construction for the last twenty years. This year’s annual meeting will celebrate those achievements and look to the future to see how CASBA can continue to build positive relationships in the field.
When acid staining concrete floors, it is very important to properly mask off walls and doors so that none of the stain gets onto places where you don’t want it. One of the hardest surfaces to protect is unsealed plaster.
There are a lot of finish plaster texture options available for your straw bale home and knowing which one is best for you can be difficult. The best decisions are based on understanding the combination of application-technical difficulty, personal aesthetics, durability, crack hiding ability, and material availability.
I don’t think that the importance of tool organization on a job site can be overstated. This is true for owner builders and professionals alike.
I wanted to share a few great tips as a means of simplifying the installation of the roofing felt needed on wood that lies behind your plaster. As you know (or may be learning…right now…) you have to cover all wood that will end up behind plaster with roofing felt or an equivalent product.
Hardwood floors in a straw bale house may not be the most common of floors, but they sure are beautiful. The reason they are not the most common is that most people want to couple the thermal mass values of concrete or earthen slab floors with the thermal insulation values of the bale wall assemblies. This makes sense, but is not always applicable. For example, some homes are built on raised floor foundations and as such, are better suited for lightweight floors like hardwood or engineered wood floors. Some owners simply prefer the look of wood over slab products, while others find that their physical and/or financial limitations require them to work with wood floors over slab materials. No matter what your reason for choosing hardwood or engineered wood floors, you will run into an issue that folks who build with slab floors won’t have: edge gaps.
It’s pretty obvious that they are differences between a straw bale house and conventional homes. What is not so apparent are the differences encountered during the construction process. For example, the order of operations and thus inspections is different for a straw bale house.
I’m often asked if using bales that are tied with wire is a bad idea or a good idea. The reality is that there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the question. I do have a preference though, and that is for poly twine over wire.
In general, the detailing of a timber frame straw bale home is very much like that of a regular post an dream straw bale home; however, the differences are important to discuss. How the bales attach to the frame and how to best seal the air gap at the transition from plaster to frame are among the important details we will discuss in this article.