Anyone live in a Cord;bale or earthsack house??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Graceless, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Graceless

    Graceless Gypsy in ALabama

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    Just curious about how you decided to build them;was there a huge difference in cost per SFoot?
    Was it done by a contractor of did you do it??
    Are you satisfied with the results?

    I have been researching designing a home incorporating all three of these types of materials and trying to narrow down the insulation in the roof(thinking of recycled news paper?)
    I'd really like to here some Likes and* dislikes....I am committed to building this in the future and I want it juuust right :cool:
    So tell me allll about your house!and thanks! TAb
     
  2. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    TAB - have built 5 strawbale homes and live in one now. Combining all three building methods will probably result in a home that is a poor average of the three methods vs one that takes advantage of the best of the method you choose if you choose one of the three. I doubt it would be easy to integrate the three different methods.

    For ceiling insulation you would be well served to use commercial made insulation. I have R60 fiberglass. Why make it any more difficult than it has to be and have you any idea how much newspaper you would have to grind or shred to insulate properly??
     

  3. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    I was able to get several early TMEN from guys here on the forum and there are several articles on bale houses and earth-sheltered houses. I think you can go to the Mother Earth News web site and type in the topic and it will pull up articles from the back issues...
     
  4. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    Oh---and I would make sure it was articles from the early TMEN and not some of the newer articles about celebreties and how they are building their earth-friendly homes for ga-zillion dollars. These early articles were about normal folks who didn't have much money.
     
  5. Graceless

    Graceless Gypsy in ALabama

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    So you don't think using Earthsack as a foundation then cord and first level then using Bale as the second level would work out to be sound???I was unsure about using Bales here in the Southern interior,Humidity and all,I was also worried about courd wood for a 2 story house.....I though integrating them like that would give me the ability to make it sounder* and keep the bales away from the majority of the moisture......
    hmmm
    I will go and check out the ME archives! Thanks!
    Tab
     
  6. trickham

    trickham Well-Known Member

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    I read a book one time on straw bale building that mentioned a straw bale home built somewhere in the deep south that had been standing for over 100 years.

    Nick
     
  7. reluctantpatriot

    reluctantpatriot I am good without god.

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    Bare strawbales won't handle humidity or moisture well, however if a lime plaster is troweled on and maintained, along with sufficient roof overhang to keep as much water away from the bales, they should last quite a long time.

    I think that using one method would be better if you want integral strength in your home. There was an article in MEN regarding cordwood construction, I think it was in 2003, that showed a rather large 2 or more story home made all from cordwood by an expert who gave seminars on such construction. It is no more difficult to make it two-story with cordwood than with rock so long as you do it right.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting a nice home constructed out of alternative building methods, but the structural integrity will be better if you stick with one of your three prefered techniques. For where I live, in Missouri, I prefer cordwood construction as I have plenty of trees on my homestead site that I can use.
     
  8. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about this method. Have you built a house using cordwood? Does it take less wood than, say, a log house? Or is it that you can use low quality wood so that makes it easier/cheaper? Just cut any old trees to length and stack them up?
     
  9. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

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    Just to chime in a little here. Answer to Dreambig's question, yes, you can use wood that is cheaper, by that I mean wood like poplar and light wood that is not great for firewood. So if you had to buy your building material, you'd not be purchasing oak, or maple which is premier firewood and premier priced.
    If I recall correctly, Rob Roy, who started the cordwood interest for us, recommended the kinds of wood, I think he called them "open cell" ( the fiber was not dense, therefore air pockets form after drying, and there is your insulative value). DH and I built a cordwood, but, we got a super deal from a mill close by, so we used a mix of hard and soft wood. Our wood is cut anguls donear instead of round, so from a distance it looks like brick. ---And by the way, we still have to finish caulking the checks and cracks in the wood, but much of it is done. Fortunately, many walls on the interior are studded and dry walled. We wanted to have a little less wood and mortar surface to look at. and we can paint any color we wwant.
    If your needs are such that you don't need a large home right off the bat, you could build a small cordwood carefully designing so you could add on additional rooms later, as needed. Just takes a LOT ( I mean a lot ) of dedicated help to get it to where you can live in it. It is labor intense. But looking back, it kept us from having to borrow to build.
    But it still took money, DH and I worked full time,( and much overtime) and had to have equipment and some skilled labor for the foundation which must be able to support the weight of cordwood walls. Begged and borrowed and paid help to do the rest.\
    If I were younger, I'd do it all over again. And only change a few things. I commend your ambition, and hope you find a method suitable to what is available. It scares me to think of so many people in debt so much, to have a home, I know sometimes it has to be. but, if you can be patient and learn some building skills, you can save a bundle.
    good luck to you........ :)