Considering a Green Roof

Green Roof

If you’re considering a green roof for your straw bale project, learn the benefits of using one as well as the ONE potential drawback.

Tell Me What To Do…An Opportunity To Get YOUR Questions Answered

Tell me what you want to learn about

It’s not every day that I suggest that tens of thousands of people tell me what to do. After all, I try hard to stay ahead of the game and get valuable information out to you via the blog and our newsletter; however, sometimes, it’s best to ask YOU, the readers, exactly what you’re looking […]

Bale Stops Strengthen and Simplify Your Build

Having built hundreds of straw bale houses over the years, I’ve learned that bale stops do an incredible job of both strengthening and simplifying a build. I use them in every bale structure I work on. The most common placement for bale stops is at the top of the wall so that I can compress […]

Avoiding Plaster Burn Marks

Plaster Burn Marks

Avoiding plaster burn marks when building a straw bale house is important and easy if you know what causes them and what to do about them.

Hanging Pictures on a Plaster Wall

Tools for hanging pictures on a plaster wall

If you’re like most people interested in straw bale construction, you’ve likely wondered about hanging pictures on a plaster wall. How do I do it? Won’t the plaster crack? Will I make a mess? Can the picture be moved and the hole patched? These are some of the most common questions I’m asked all the […]

Adding Shingles to Gable Walls

Reshingle a Gable Wall 18

Adding shingles to gable walls may not seem like a straw bale specific topic at first glance. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important skill for you to learn for several reasons. First and foremost, a lot of straw bale houses use shingles on the gable end walls. They do so to add a complementary […]

Adding Utility Lines After Plaster

Install the Lath to utility line

Adding utility lines to your wall after plaster has been applied to your straw bale house is not as hard as you might think. The sooner you realize your mistake (leaving out the utility line) the easier it is to fix. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, consider this: You raise the bale walls […]

The Straw Bale Minute Video Series and More

Andrew Morrison Podcast Interview

Our Straw Bale Minute video series provides answers to many, if not all, of your straw bale construction questions in short, snippets. We all have a minute to spare to improve our understanding and skills. After all, a minute or two a day could improve the quality of your project and save you thousands of dollars (and minutes) on your straw bale build.

A Glossary of Terms for Straw Bale Framing

Roof Frame and Carpenter Performing Framing

It’s important to understand the glossary of terms for straw bale construction framing. If you don’t know what something is called, you’ll have a harder time ordering the right materials from your suppliers. In addition, if you don’t know the right terms, you’ll have a harder time discussing things with your contractors, even if you’re […]

Gravel in your toe ups. Is that enough?

straw bale wall toe ups

It’s the million dollar question you’ve all been wondering about: is it enough to have just gravel in your toe ups or do you need something more? Okay, it may not be a question worth a million dollars, but making a bad decision here can indeed cost you money. In some cases just a little […]

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 […]

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.

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.

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.

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.