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.

Why Your Foundation is THE Most Important Part of Your House

men pouring a concrete foundation

It may seem like a simple part of the overall construction process, but your foundation is the most important part of your entire project. The biggest reason for this is that any mistakes you make in the foundation will only get worse as you go up. It’s known as compounding defects and it means that […]

Cross Section of a Straw Bale Landscape Wall/Rubble Trench Foundation

Rubble Trench Foundation

Many people have recently asked me about landscape walls. As a result of those inquiries, I’ve drawn up a cross section of a landscape wall and rubble trench foundation for you to check out below. This is a basic design that can be used in most locations. Some building departments allow for rubble trench foundations […]

Anchor Bolts for Toe Ups in Straw Bale Construction

anchor bolt assortment

There are so many options for anchor bolts for toe ups these days that it is hard to know what to use. I believe I have found the best option for most straw bale projects. Keep in mind that with both interior and exterior toe ups, there are a LOT of anchor bolts in a […]

Saving Concrete Stakes From Your Foundation Pour

concrete stakes

Concrete stakes are essential to just about any foundation project. In fact, they are used on almost all concrete projects that a home owner is likely to encounter. If you recognize the stakes in the image above, then you must have used them before. If you don’t know what they are, allow me to explain. […]

Straw Bale Landscape Walls and Rubble Trench Foundations

straw bale landscape wall

It must be something in the air. I have received a bunch of emails about building straw bale landscape walls in the last week. This after a long drought of such questions. So, I guess it is time to talk about them again. The majority of the questions I have been getting are around the […]

What to Do With Left Over Piles of Concrete on a Straw Bale Build

concrete piles

Okay so it’s not poop, but it could be from a distance! These left over piles of concrete. It is so important to calculate materials well and it could be the straw that breaks your back. (I meant that pun by the way.) In this case, the truck load was too short for what the […]

Building with Straw Bales on a Steep Slope –

Today I received the following question about building with straw bales on a steep slope and I thought it was worth sharing my response with you all. Here’s the question, my response follows: “Well the time for using all this information is almost upon us. We are looking at a property at the moment to […]

Evaluating the Building Site for a Straw Bale House

snow drift on straw bale house

I often tell people the first step in building a straw bale house, or any house for that matter, does not actually take place during construction but rather in the design room. In truth, this is not quite accurate. For a really good design, the first step involves evaluating the building site for a straw […]

Know Your Sub Soils Before You Begin Your Straw Bale Build


I just went through a humbling process on a new home construction project. I used a sub soils report prepared by a geotechnical engineer and provided by the land owner for a home site I was to build a custom home on. The sub soils report showed that there was fill from ground level to […]

Securing Bales to Foundations –

straw bale toe up

Here is a response to a student doing a case study of straw bale homes in North Carolina. He had a good question about securing bales to foundations in an existing structure in Alabama. I think the details of the connection are worth mentioning here as well. I am glad to see that you have […]

Natural Slab Floor Over a Concrete Slab in a Straw Bale House

earthen floor

I was recently asked if it is possible to do an earthen or cement skim coat over a concrete slab in a straw bale house. The answer is yes, you can do a skim coat of either clay/straw (earthen floor) or cement over the top of a concrete slab; however, there are minimum thicknesses that […]

Strawbale Basements Video

basement framing for straw bale house

This video is from my online video newsletter called “The Straw Bale Minute”. It focuses on straw bale homes and basements. All of my short videos can be found on YouTube at Please check them out, rate them, and post comments. Your help efforts will actually help move the videos up the line and […]

Bale Walls Over a Basement

basement framing for straw bale house

Bale Walls Over a Basement  I am often asked if a straw bale house can be built over a basement. The answer is always yes. A raised floor system, either over a basement or crawlspace, is no different than building a second floor on a bale home. Interior footings will likely be necessary to carry […]