Contracting Part I: Know What You Are Getting Into

Building Permit

It is important that you fully understand what will be expected of you as you embark on the contracting of your home. It is easy to say that you want to contract the construction, but there is a lot to the process and perhaps the biggest pitfall is not knowing what will be asked of […]

Smooth Plaster on Straw Bale Walls

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

I recently received an email asking if it was possible to get the interior walls of a straw bale house flat and smooth. I have included the email and my response to it below. Question: Are there any alternatives to finishing the interior walls of a straw bale home with plaster? More specifically, can I […]

Plastering Tip for Straw Bale Walls

Dash Plaster Texture

Plastering has a lot of challenges to it from mixing recipes to application techniques. Some challenges may not be obvious from the start, so be sure to spend some time learning what you need to know before you jump in. Today I spoke with a client who had spilled¬†Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) all over their […]

Easier Insurance and Lending for Straw Bale Homes

insurance for straw bale houses

The inclusion of straw bale construction in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) has made it easier to get insurance and lending for straw bale homes. It may not be as easy as getting insurance and lending on conventional homes yet, but we are making major headway.

Help Define a New Name for SBC

people standing atop straw bale wall

Here’s your call to action. We need a new name; one we can all get behind and present to the world in a new and powerful way. What ideas do you have? Please comment below with your ideas and share this article with anyone you think may want to help define the way forward for this amazing building technology.

New Pricing on Straw Bale Plans

stack of money on top of plans

A quality designer or architect is absolutely worth every penny spent on them; however, if you don’t have the money to spend, it doesn’t matter how amazing they are. So for those who cannot afford to hire a private architect or designer, there is a “next best” option: previously designed homes.

Heading to the Desert

Desert Scene

I’m heading to the desert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CASBA and to share and learn about straw bale construction.

The Power of Education – A 15 Question Test

straw bale workshop site

It may sound obvious, but learning how to build a house, of any kind but especially a straw bale house, is a good thing to do before you actually start building. Ask yourself the following 15 questions and if you cannot answer them with a high level of confidence, you would be best served to gain some more experience before you start building.

California Straw Building Association’s 20th Anniversary Gathering

Bales of Straw in the Field

The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) has done amazing work in the field of straw bale construction for the last twenty years. This year’s annual meeting will celebrate those achievements and look to the future to see how CASBA can continue to build positive relationships in the field.

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

Acid Staining Floors While Protecting Plaster Walls

When acid staining concrete floors, it is very important to properly mask off walls and doors so that none of the stain gets onto places where you don’t want it. One of the hardest surfaces to protect is unsealed plaster.

Finish Plaster Texture Options

woman applying finish plaster

There are a lot of finish plaster texture options available for your straw bale home and knowing which one is best for you can be difficult. The best decisions are based on understanding the combination of application-technical difficulty, personal aesthetics, durability, crack hiding ability, and material availability.

The Importance of Tool Organization

Tool Organization

I don’t think that the importance of tool organization on a job site can be overstated. This is true for owner builders and professionals alike.

Simplify the Installation of Roofing Felt Behind Your Plaster

Installing Roofing Flet

I wanted to share a few great tips as a means of simplifying the installation of the roofing felt needed on wood that lies behind your plaster. As you know (or may be learning…right now…) you have to cover all wood that will end up behind plaster with roofing felt or an equivalent product.

Hardwood Floors in a Straw Bale House

Hardwood Floors in a Straw Bale House

Hardwood floors in a straw bale house may not be the most common of floors, but they sure are beautiful. The reason they are not the most common is that most people want to couple the thermal mass values of concrete or earthen slab floors with the thermal insulation values of the bale wall assemblies. This makes sense, but is not always applicable. For example, some homes are built on raised floor foundations and as such, are better suited for lightweight floors like hardwood or engineered wood floors. Some owners simply prefer the look of wood over slab products, while others find that their physical and/or financial limitations require them to work with wood floors over slab materials. No matter what your reason for choosing hardwood or engineered wood floors, you will run into an issue that folks who build with slab floors won’t have: edge gaps.

Getting Ready for the 2016 Straw Bale Workshop Season

La Grande straw bale Workshop Group Photo

Ever wonder what one of my straw bale workshops is like? This video will give you a taste. For starters, we have a ton of fun, learn mountains of information, build someone’s dream, and make friendships that last.