The bales you choose may be the most important decision you make on your house. In fact, the quality of your bales can literally make or break a project. There are several things to look for in a quality bale, which I’ve outlined in this article.
Looking for straw bales? I recently met a bale broker who can deliver quality straw bales across the US. He works with over 120 farms and many trucking companies to provide excellent service. I have used his bales and was very happy with them.
Baling with jumbo bales, by which I mean the REALLY large bales that require pretty substantial machinery to place, is possible. However, there are multiple considerations that need to be addressed to determine if the extra cost in foundation materials, plaster and roofing materials make it worthwhile. In this Straw Bale Minute, I address each […]
It’s not unusual to end up with extra bales after building a straw bale house. In fact, I recommend it. Those extra bales are great to have around as steps or scaffolding supports when plastering. Furthermore, I would always rather have a few too many bales than not enough when building. The question is, what to do with the extra […]
A question that I’ve been asked potentially thousands of times over the years teaching workshops is “can I stuff the wall with this?”. I like that people ask the question, actually, because it shows me that they are paying attention to the details and wanting to make the house the best it can be. The […]
Several of you have, over the years, written to me about using plastic encased straw bales in the construction of a home. The suggested benefits of this have ranged from no need for additional vapor barrier, to ease of stacking, to being able to mortar the blocks together. Although this would seem like a good […]
There are a lot of things to consider when buying the best straw bales for your construction project. Here’s a bullet point list of the absolute “must haves.” 1. Long straw. Be sure to ask your source is the bales are long straw or chopped/thrashed straw. A bale harvested by a combine will be thrashed […]
Why would I want to do that? You may be asking yourself that very question and rightfully so. The answer may be simple or complicated depending on the situation. It may be that you have a series of wall sections that need thinner bales than the rest of the house due to framing and engineering […]
There are so many reasons why I suggest you not build your house with the straw bales on edge. It’s hard to know where to start. I’ll just lay out the first ten that come to mind. 1. Strings on the exposed face mean no notching around posts and thus a thermal break at each […]
If you plan to build with bales, you absolutely must have a straw bale moisture meter with a probe. It is so valuable that I consider it a “must have,” not a “it would be cool to have” tool. Use the straw bale moisture meter to check the moisture levels of bales before you buy […]
What is the perfect bale to use in a straw bale house? I am asked this question a lot. Most times, the question refers to what type of straw is the best. Some people say rice, others say wheat. I always tell people to buy what is most local as long as it is dense, […]
I received the following comment on my old blog. It got me thinking about building with bales in humid climates and rice straw. I noticed that many of the humid climates are actually where rice grows and thrives. To that end, I wondered if it might really be possible to build with bales in a […]