It was immediately obvious while working on the exposed timber frame in Arlington, Vermont that the natural cut timbers would not line up perfectly with the plane of the bale wall once complete. What we did ended up working really well and created a beautiful and STRAIGHT wall.
For years you have heard me say that there is no “perfect bale,” rather only bales that meet the criteria for construction: tight, uniform in shape, dry, good color, long straw, etc.
Allow me to share with you what I have learned over my 20 years as a professional builder and land developer. All tweaks and adjustments aside, this will be a good footing to start out on for anyone interested in the start to finish process of finding, developing, and building on raw land.
Whether you are an accomplished builder or just starting out, this book will help define the myriad of details that define a quality builder, contractor, sub contractor, consultant or any other professional working within the building industry.
For me, the extra work of compressing your straw bale walls is more than worth it in the end and the quality of the overall job you will get as a result of this step is measurably better than working with soft or loose walls.
Keep these simple bullet points in mind when looking for building permit approvals for your straw bale house.
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.
Most of us don’t have a commercial plaster spraying machine lying around, so we can’t just run out to the garage and turn it on. That said, if you have access to a commercial sprayer, it’s an incredible machine that will speed your process up dramatically. You have seen me post in the past about sprayers that we as consumers can use with great effectivity. I am still a big fan of these sprayers and highly recommend them; however, the commercial sprayer shown here, and others like it, is a big step up in power and production.
Water damage in straw bale walls is something that does not happen very often, especially in well built homes; however, even with the best construction practices, it can happen. When it does, it’s important to know how to recognize it and how to fix it.