Click Member link to see site in tvStraw Bale Houses + ADD YOUR SITE (2 members)
This is a community entirely dedicated to Straw Bale Houses. This is for anyone who lives in a straw bale house, wants to live in one or is just interested in learning more about them.
We give you access to loads of information on Straw Bale House Construction. This Information and our easy to follow instructions will help you when building your straw bale home. Use this community for loads of great resources!Straw Bale Houses
Interested in Straw Bale House Construction? Find Information and instructions on building your straw bale home right here.Straw Bale Houses Info
Want to know more about Straw Bale House Construction? Find Information and instructions on building your straw bale home right here.
Huff and Puff - Straw Bale Houses Won't Fall Down
A fairy tale attributes the first house built of straw to one of the Three Little Pigs, but the first straw bale houses for humans that we know of were built about 150 years ago by European settlers in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. A far cry from pigs!
These prairie pioneers had to make do with whatever resources they had at hand. Using their newly invented steam- and horse-powered balers, they baled the grasses that grew all around them, then stacked the bales to form walls and covered the walls inside and out with mud or cement plasters. These houses, plus a few more built in Nebraska and Wyoming over subsequent decades, have proved so hardy that the cold winds of the Northern Plains haven’t blown them down yet.
Straw-bale construction revived in the American West as the sustainable housing movement began to take hold in the 1980s. A renewable resource, straw acts as excellent insulation and can be fairly easy to use as a building material, provided the design allows for its unique advantages and disadvantages. Experts think that houses built to contemporary standards have the potential to last at least as long as their pioneer ancestors.
Straw-bale building works best in hot, dry climates, cold climates and temperate climates with hot/cold seasonal temperature swings. Building with straw in hot, humid climates is much more difficult because of the straw’s tendency to retain moisture. Straw-bale homes and other buildings have been constructed in hot, humid locales such as Florida, but the benefits derived from them are somewhat less because of design modifications. Straw-bale building in a hot and humid environment requires wide wrap-around porches, shade trees, natural ventilation and a good design to guard against roof leaks. All of these modifications are intended to keep air flowing around the straw-bale walls so that moisture doesn’t accumulate.
The two categories of building with straw bales are load-bearing and non-load-bearing. The most common non-load bearing approach – and often the only version that local building codes will allow – is a post-and-beam framework that supports the building’s basic structure with straw bales used as infill. The problem with load-bearing straw-bale buildings is that over time, the straw will be compressed by the weight of the roof. However, proper load-bearing designs take this into account.
Two other must-dos with straw-bale construction:
• Keep the wall plasters breathable so that the straw won’t rot from moisture;
• Create the skin over the straw so it can resist rodent and insect infestations.
For all its benefits, a straw-bale house typically will save about only 15 percent of the wood used in a conventionally framed house. Finishing out a straw-bale house can exceed the cost of other standard construction because of the extra, specialized work it takes to plaster both sides of the walls. However, the result is often worth the expense because of straw’s superior insulation and wall depth. Especially when combined with other sustainable building techniques, such as passive solar design, a straw-bale house can be both a beautiful home and a contribution to saving Mother Earth. Now there’s a nice thought to fall asleep with every night!