Share Your Straw Bale House Experience

Wine Creek straw bale residence

If you have a straw bale house and are willing to share your experience with an international master program, then please fill out the following questionnaire.

Free Arkin Tilt Architects Plans Now Available

Chalk Hill straw bale house

As a follow up to last week’s announcement by Arkin Tilt Architects (ATA) that they intend to offer a selection of their plans for free to California wildfire victims, I am happy to announce that those plans are now available for viewing.

Scheduling Subcontractors and Inspections on a Straw Bale House

straw bale house Dining Room

It’s pretty obvious that they are differences between a straw bale house and conventional homes. What is not so apparent are the differences encountered during the construction process. For example, the order of operations and thus inspections is different for a straw bale house.

Wire Ties or Poly Twine Bales?

Baling Twine Colors

I’m often asked if using bales that are tied with wire is a bad idea or a good idea. The reality is that there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the question. I do have a preference though, and that is for poly twine over wire.

Timber Framing and Straw Bale Construction

straw bale house kitchen

In general, the detailing of a timber frame straw bale home is very much like that of a regular post an dream straw bale home; however, the differences are important to discuss. How the bales attach to the frame and how to best seal the air gap at the transition from plaster to frame are among the important details we will discuss in this article.

The Cost of Straw Bale Construction

Energy Efficiency

When people talk about the cost of straw bale construction, they often get things a bit muddled up. They either come in way too low or way too high. I’m here to set the record straight, hopefully once and for all.

When a Straw Bale House Isn’t Green

straw bale house interior

I wonder if any of you knows why a straw bale house isn’t green. A straw bale house isn’t green because the wall system is only one part of a bigger system, and a small part at that.

Creating Straight Bale Walls On a Crooked Frame

welded wire mesh on straw bale wall

It was immediately obvious while working on the exposed timber frame in Arlington, Vermont that the natural cut timbers would not line up perfectly with the plane of the bale wall once complete. What we did ended up working really well and created a beautiful and STRAIGHT wall.

Another Amazing Straw Bale Workshop

entry doors on timber frame straw bale house

I recently returned home from another amazing straw bale workshop in Arlington, Vermont. This was truly one of the most fun workshops I have had in years. The building will be used as woodworking shop, home brew facility, pottery studio and forge. It will certainly provide years of fun and creativity for the hosts: Tara and Tyler.

Another Great Week of Hard Work and Fun

La Grande straw bale Workshop Group Photo

I’m happy to announce that we recently completed another great week of hard work and fun at the La Grande, Oregon straw bale workshop. With a large group of dynamic and fun people, the week of work felt like anything but work. (This is pretty much always true, of course!)

Land Development Process Revealed

dream house image

Allow me to share with you what I have learned over my 20 years as a professional builder and land developer. All tweaks and adjustments aside, this will be a good footing to start out on for anyone interested in the start to finish process of finding, developing, and building on raw land.

Book Review: The Elements of Building

Elements of Building

Whether you are an accomplished builder or just starting out, this book will help define the myriad of details that define a quality builder, contractor, sub contractor, consultant or any other professional working within the building industry.

Strengthen Your Walls

straw bale Wall Compression

For me, the extra work of compressing your straw bale walls is more than worth it in the end and the quality of the overall job you will get as a result of this step is measurably better than working with soft or loose walls.

Only One Spot Remaining in Australia Workshop

people standing atop straw bale wall

Just a quick note to let you know that there is only one spot left in the Australia workshop. If you want to join us, be the first person to sign up here. I look forward to meeting you…whomever you may be!!! If you are not the first person to sign up, I will automatically […]

A Great Use for Leftover NHL

straw bale house window seat

Here’s a great use for any left over bags of natural hydraulic lime you may have from your straw bale plastering job.

Final Drums of Lime Putty for Sale

Lime Putty Buckets

Many of you know that our friend Curtis has been selling some delicious lime putty in Wichita, Kansas. He is now down to his final drums of lime putty for sale and needs to move them before he is left with no option but to throw them away. It would be a shame to see […]

Victoria, Australia Workshop Host Interview

woman rock climbing

We are so looking forward to our trip back Down Under in March, 2015 to teach a 7 day workshop on Enga’s straw bale house! Not only will this build teach participants what they need to know in order to bale their own house, but it will also serve as a testing grounds for the Architecture […]

Interview About Straw Bale Construction

gutter helmet

I recently did an interview about straw bale construction for the Harry Helmet Blog. At first, I had no idea what the Harry Helmet Blog was, and then I learned it was about gutters. It makes sense to me to get the word out about straw bale construction however possible, and the importance of quality […]

Metal In Straw Bale Wall Assemblies

Electrical Boxes in straw bale wall

I know that the topic of metal in straw bale wall assemblies is a contentious one, and that is precisely why I want to bring it up and talk about it with you all. I have been saying for years that the use of welded wire mesh and plaster lath is essential to a quality bale house, and that sentiment has not changed. I want to quickly share my thoughts about using metal mesh and lath, and then hear from those of you who either agree or disagree with the practice.