Tag Archives | straw bale

How Much Does It Cost?

This is without a doubt the most common question I am asked about straw bale construction. The problem is that answering this question is not easy. In hopes of reaching more people who might have the same question, I’ve outlined five things to consider when trying to get a handle on what your straw bale project might cost below. I’ve also included two examples of straw bale projects (the Applegate Residence and the Mountain View Cabin) and the material costs associated with them.

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Replacing Straw in an Existing Straw Bale House

A consulting client recently asked me what the best practice is for removing rotten straw from an existing straw bale house. Whether you need to replace a small amount of straw or an entire section of bales, the process is pretty much the same. Below are the steps to replacing rotten straw in an existing house. Although each specific location may have subtle differences, the basic steps are still the same.

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Properly Wet Your Plaster

There is far more water used in the preparation and curing process than in the mix itself. If you have a limited water supply, be sure to account for this extra water requirement. Follow these steps to make sure you have the best plaster job available. Be sure to protect your walls from wind, rain, and direct sun by hanging tarps.

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Straw Bale and Steel Framing

Special care must be taken to protect straw bales from condensation when using steel framing in a straw bale house. Without isolating the steel from the bales, the risk of long term damage to the structure is high. Don’t take that risk. Instead, follow some simple work arounds to protect your bales and your investment.

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Too Many Plaster Failures

Over the years I have spoken many times about the importance of a quality plastering job. That importance has not waned, and I am unfortunately hearing more and more stories about failed plaster jobs around the world. A large percentage of the consulting work I do is helping clients deal with these plastering issues. There are two common themes, or dare I say causes for the failures. If you avoid these two approaches to plastering your home, your plaster should provide you with a very long life.

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Plumbing Details in Straw Bale Construction

You have likely heard me say this before, but it is worth saying again: keep your plumbing out of your bales. Of course, it’s not as simple as that when it comes to adding plumbing to a straw bale house. There are obviously more details to consider in order to ensure that the straw bale walls are not damaged by water infiltration. The good news is that there are a limited number of locations to consider in terms of potential water damage from plumbing in a straw bale home so managing the installation is easier than you may think. In this article, we will look at the major areas of concern and I’ll show you my preferred solution for each location.

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