A gentleman from the South African Sugar Research Institute contacted me today to discuss the potential of using sugar cane bio-mass in bales as a building material. He is very interested in the potential of sugar cane to provide affordable building materials for the thousands of men, women and children who cannot afford housing of […]
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My name is Andrew Morrison and welcome to my straw bale building site dedicated to anyone interested in building their own straw bale house. If you are brand new to straw bale or are a straw bale construction specialist there's something for you at StrawBale.com.
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Integral Color Plaster vs. Plaster and Paint I have used integral color plaster on every straw bale house I have built and I have always wrestled with the pros and cons of doing so. Integral color plaster means that the final color for the wall is placed in the finish plaster coat. The wall surface […]
Basics of a Bale Landscape Wall I received an email today about a bale landscape wall. The wall will be about 4′ tall and 125′ long. The questions ranged from what type of foundation is best and what kind of waterproofing is needed to where to find bale needles. I have included my response below. […]
Bale Walls Over a Basement I am often asked if a straw bale house can be built over a basement. The answer is always yes. A raised floor system, either over a basement or crawlspace, is no different than building a second floor on a bale home. Interior footings will likely be necessary to carry […]
A Great Example of Straw Bale Construction Energy Efficiency Yesterday I spent the entire day neutralizing, washing, and sealing concrete floors that I had acid stained the day before. I figured the floors would dry quickly between washings since the temperature outside was 112 degrees! “Unfortunately” bale houses are so well insulated that even with […]
I received an email today from a curriculum writer for a fourth grade class in Kansas. The idea is to write a curriculum that introduces the class to straw bale construction as an economic and environmental asset. I have attached the email below because I think it is so cool that fourth graders will be […]
Misting Straw Bales with Water Before Plastering I have had several clients of my consulting business call me after they started to plaster their straw bale house. The calls come with a similar voice over the phone: panic (sometimes mild and others extreme)! “My house is smelling musty.” That pretty much sums it up and […]
The conversation about electrical wires continues. Here’s a reply to my last comment that adding extra cost in the form of electrical conduit to an already costly building process is unnecessary. Comment Conduit is CHEAP ……. Look at the cost of Romex as compared to conduit and ordinary insulate wire. Conduit functions as your ground […]
I have been a member of a straw bale list serve for quite a few years and every so often an interesting conversation emerges. This one is an ongoing debate about the safety of running electrical wires through straw bale. I’ll keep you posted as this conversation evolves. (The comments of other people are in […]
STRAW BALE ROOF I simply must ask: WHY? Why use bales as a roof insulation? The amount of time, effort, cost, and embodied energy in such a task seems to me to heavily outweigh the benefits. If two string bales yield an R-value of R-40 (debated by the way) across the 18″ direction, then one […]