Straw bale building

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Rockin'B, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    I am considering building a new shop building using straw bale construction. Does anyone here have any experience with this method and have any pro's and con's to consider?

    I'm just starting the investigation and would appreciate hearing of any experiences.

    TIA
     
  2. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    yes , I would like to know as well. we have several acers of switchgrass and a small sq. baler, is there any reason swithchgrass wouldnt work as well as straw from grains?
     

  3. DenverGirlie

    DenverGirlie Well-Known Member

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  4. cowgirlracer

    cowgirlracer Well-Known Member

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    The cowboy and I have studied this for quite some time. DH would rather build a double walled Boleyz landscape timber house, but I want the strawbale. DH thinks the logs would be easier, but we both agree that strawbale would be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. I think I know what our house will be. :)

    The best thing about strawbale is that it is not breakfast, lunch or dinner for any little beasties or crawlie things. When it became straw -- by removing the grain -- no nutrients or good tasting junk food remained. With switch grass, the food value is still there. There is a hay house in Nebraska which has been standing for 100 years or so but that is a tribute to the stucco and lime washing on a yearly basis, rather than on the suitability of hay bales. There are several websites and books on strawbale construction. When I have some time, I will post some links. The only enemy of strawbale is water. If the bales get wet, they will eventually rot -- inside the stucco. Prior to construction, the bales need to be kept dry. During construction, any bales not stuccoed or being stuccoed, need to be tarped. There are a lot of strawbale "seminars" which are reasonably priced. They are actually a way for an owner to get lots of free labor to build their house. Those builders, though, get a lot of good hands on instruction and experience. I (we) would like to get some folks to build our house that way. :help:
     
  5. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    from the research I did several years, the basic necessity is using straw and that the bales are packed to a very high density/weight so they usually have to be special ordered which gets spendy which negates a lot of the savings of doing it yourself. As posted above, those bales must be totally dry and REMAIN dry which is chancy when you are buying bales. I have friends who build strawbale in SD and are very pleased, but it was a struggle to get everything lined up in the proper timing and they did have a struggle with the county building inspectors off and on.
     
  6. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    Keep it dry, jam it together real good, plaster, and pray it don't fall down on yer head... Just joking. I've read about it and it sounds great. If I ever build a new house, I'll probably do a bale one. Everything I've seen about them looks good. There are a few that have been sprinkled around the country now for many years and they seem to be holding up very well.

    Here's a pretty good online ebook about them. It's free. http://www.strawbalefutures.org.uk/pdf/strawbaleguide.pdf
     
  7. Gary in AL

    Gary in AL Well-Known Member

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    There's one just above us I looked at and talked to the builder. He poured a footing with steel rods ever 4' apart. Then he welded reinforcing rods onto those steel points then just slid the bales over or onto those rods. When he got I think one row below the desired wall height he welded on threaded rod. Then he took 2 x 12's with holes to match the threaded rods put them on and then larges washers and nuts. He said he tightened those bolts a couple time a day for a couple of weeks until they wouldn't tighten any more. Then he covered all the straw with 1" chicken wire, made himself a needle out of a welding rod and sewed that chicken wire to the bales then covered it in the stucco.
    His house was two stories with a basement and looked great, very well made. The guy was an engineer. Gary
     
  8. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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