Strawbale Home Construction

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Calico Katie, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. Calico Katie

    Calico Katie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From time to time I see mention of strawbale houses, which sound pretty interesting. I don't know if this site has been posted before but it has some really good pictures of the step by step construction of a straw bale house. It certainly looks a lot less expensive to build. You folks that are knowledgeable about building - what do you think of this type of construction?

    http://www.solarhaven.org/NewStrawbale.htm
     
  2. FolioMark

    FolioMark In Remembrance

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    Ive always wanted to try straw bale. Its fairly easy to stack the bales and buld the walls. The hard part is the exterior and interior finishing. It goes quick if you got a crew of folks to help, but if its just you and your assistant of choice it can be back breaking, slow mindless work. Mud on mud off. Two ladies here in town just built a big strawbale house. Took them awhile to convince the code officers to let them do it, but its a dandy house. Really looks good. Maybe you can try building a little garden house and see how you like the work. :)
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You aren't likely to build it cheaper than a conventional home, however, you will have a MUCH better home when you are done. More of the expense is in the labor and if you are able to do the plastering yourself you will save a bundle. BUT it is not the easiest physically, tho it is not complicated either. You may have problems with the code people tho. They will usually insist on you way overbuilding the foundation and getting an engineer to sign off on the plans, even if the walls are non load bearing. I would suggest you not even consider a load bearing strawbale wall. It is really not cheaper in the long run and doesn't make a good house. The modified post and beam approach is, IMHO the best way to go.

    If you want to come down and help me build one, I'll teach you all about doing plaster! LOL
     
  4. Calico Katie

    Calico Katie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My sister and her DH wanted to build a rammed earth house and it required footings that were much deeper and wider than normal to accomodate the weight. They worked for several years trying to get the right mix of earth and it just never worked out for them. (They both had full time jobs so it had to be a weekend and vacation project.) Finally, they went ahead and built a standard house on the footings.

    I like the idea of the straw bale because of the thickness of the walls. I'm wondering if they, like the rammed earth, keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It looks like the big expense would be having the footings poured. If I could call in all my family members and their offspring, I think we could get the house framed and the bales stacked in pretty good order.

    Hey, Cynbaeld, As I get closer to when I can get serious about these plans, maybe I'll take you up on the plaster offer. :)
     
  5. wvpeach1963

    wvpeach1963 WVPEACH (Paula)

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    Calico kate,

    thanks for the site. I am in the process of reading it now.

    so far one of the best I have ever seen.

    I built homes for fifteen years and I can tell you without a doubt this will be much cheaper than conventional construction.

    I'll read on then we'll talk
     
  6. Calico Katie

    Calico Katie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I thought the pictures were the best I'd seen as far as showing step by step how it was done. If you look through the rest of their site, they have some good off-grid info, too. Apparently, the man had some health problems and they've now moved to Mexico, but they were 45 and 59 when they started building their property.
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Yes, warmer in winter, cooler in summer! You do want a good thermal mass tho. The thick mud on the inside walls is part of it, a floor of adobe or bricks or tile will supply the rest. If you live where the nites are cool and the day is hot, you air the house during the nite and close it off during the day. But even if you use a/c, you won't need as much. You will want a good overhang and some south facing windows in cooler areas. Here the windows need to face north because our biggest problem is cooling. You can also use it with the earth tubes since it is insulated so well. Do put at least as much insulation in the attic as in the walls. And insulate your footers.