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.
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 […]
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 when building a straw bale house is important and easy if you know what causes them and what to do about them.
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 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 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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Nobody ever looks forward to repairing water damaged bales, but from time to time, the need exists. I hope you find this recommendation valuable.
The importance of protecting natural plaster can’t be over stated. It’s not the same as conventional stucco and it needs specific conditions for application.
The primary place where both owner-builders and contractors fail when building a home is in the estimating of construction costs. Learn some tips to help you avoid that pitfall.
In this article I discuss using American Clay plaster over a Natural Hydraulic Lime plaster, making sure that cure times are accounted for.
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 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 […]
I am currently accepting host applications for the 2017 straw bale workshop season. If you hope to host a workshop on your project, please apply today.
If you are interested in straw bale construction and live near Gravette, Arkansas, then you will want to join us for a FREE three-day crew training on May 24-26, 2016.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.