Building with bales of straw has become almost mainstream in some parts of the country, especially in the Southwestern United States. Many localities have specific codes for strawbale construction, and some banks are willing to lend on this technique. Straw is a renewable resource that acts as excellent insulation and is fairly easy to build with. Care must be taken to assure that the straw is kept dry, or it will eventually rot. For this reason it is generally best to allow a strawbale wall to remain breathable; any moisture barrier will invite condensation to collect and undermine the structure. Other possible concerns with strawbale walls are infestation of rodents or insects, so the skin on the straw should resist these critters.
There are two major categories of building with strawbales: load-bearing and non-load bearing. A post and beam framework that supports the basic structure of the building, with the bales of straw used as infill, is the most common non-load bearing approach. This is also the only way that many building authorities will allow. While there are many load- bearing strawbale buildings that are standing just fine, care must be taken to consider the possible settling of the strawbales as the weight of the roof, etc. compresses them.
Erecting bale walls can go amazingly quickly, and does not take a lot of skill, but then the rest of the creation of the building is similar to any other wood framed house. In fact strawbale houses typically only save about 15% of the wood used in a conventionally framed house. The cost of finishing a strawbale house can often exceed that of standard construction, because of the specialized work that goes into plastering both sides of the walls. The result is often worth it though, because of the superior insulation and wall depth that is achieved.
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The Comprehensive Guide to Building with Straw Bales- Post and Beam Infill (2 hours 50minutes on 2 DVDs) This comprehensive DVD set contains invaluable information to help you save time and money on your straw bale building projects. The latest research in the field of straw bale design and construction is presented. The DVD includes:
* Innovative Tips and Techniques on all phases of wall building from design to finish.
* Details on the latest straw bale engineering, window flashing, electrical wiring, and much more.
* Comprehensive explanation of how to actually build a straw bale structure from foundation to final baling.
*A complete list of recommended tools for each stage of the baling project.
*All of the necessary safety features for building with straw bales
*Tips for preparing for the local building codes before you begin construction
*Foundation Details and Tips
*Tips and Techniques for Framing Your Straw Bale StructureTips and Techniques for Preparing to Build Your *Straw Bale Walls- How to Build Your Toe-Ups
*A Primer for Working with Straw Bales
*All You Need to Know About Box Beam Construction
*Cleaning Up the Straw Bale Walls Prior to Putting Up Your Wire Mesh
*How to Put Windows Into A Straw Bale Building
*All the Tips and Techniques for Applying Wire Mesh to Your Straw Bale Walls
*The Interior: Windows, Corners, and Rounded Details to Your Straw Bale Walls
*Plumbing, Cabinet Hanging, Interior Wall Partitions, High Rain Environments, and Other Considerations
*Introduction to Lime Plaster
*The Scratch Coat- Your Initial Coat of Plaster
*The Brown Coat Application- Your Second Coat of Plaster
*We Will Demonstrate All the Techniques to Use to Get a Smooth Finish on Different Aspects of Your Structure:
*The Finish Coat- Your Final Plaster Application
The books shown below are arranged according to when they were published, with the most recent ones at the top. If you click on one of the images you will be taken to a page at Amazon.com where you can find out more about the book. If you end up buying one of them, greenhomebuilding.com will receive a small commission that will help cover the cost of maintaining this website. Thanks for your patronage.
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