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 […]

Two Day Natural Plaster Workshop in Temecula, CA

People plastering a straw bale wall

You’re invited to a special event! Join us at a two-day plastering party/workshop at a beautiful home we recently baled during a seven-day workshop in Temecula. The county was not willing to let us plaster until they had completed another inspection, and now that inspection is done. We are ready to throw some mud!! HERE […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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.

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 […]

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.

The Impact of Design Details

straw bale house exterior

There is no question that the more elaborate your design, the more expensive it will be to build; however, there are ways to find that sought after balance that will please both your senses and your finances.

The Benefits of Using a Commercial Plaster Sprayer

plaster sprayer on straw bale wall

Most of us don’t have a commercial plaster spraying machine lying around, so we can’t just run out to the garage and turn it on. That said, if you have access to a commercial sprayer, it’s an incredible machine that will speed your process up dramatically. You have seen me post in the past about sprayers that we as consumers can use with great effectivity. I am still a big fan of these sprayers and highly recommend them; however, the commercial sprayer shown here, and others like it, is a big step up in power and production.

Step By Step Guide To Creating Niches

Man and Baby in front of a wall niche

One of the most artistic expressions of a straw bale wall are the niches that are carved into it. I have laid out a step-by-step process for the most common niche I see in straw bale homes: the arch top.

Delicious, Aged Lime Putty Still Available

Lime Plastering Party on Straw Bale House

Watch a video on slaking quick lime to make lime putty. You can also contact Curtis in Kansas through this blog entry and buy high quality lime putty that has already been slaked for 4-5 years.

Properly Wet Your Plaster on a Straw Bale Wall

plastering straw bale wall

There is far more water used in the preparation and curing process than in the mix itself. If you have a limited water supply, be sure to account for this extra water requirement. Follow these steps to make sure you have the best plaster job available. Be sure to protect your walls from wind, rain, and direct sun by hanging tarps.