Sometimes even the best planning can result in a mistake. For example, I recently heard from someone who purchased a house and found that there is no dryer vent through the straw bale wall to the exterior of the home.
Here’s a quick step by step guide to installing a dryer vent in an existing bale wall. Be sure that you do this job with the power turned off to the house. I suggest you turn off all of the power, so there’s no risk of hitting a live wire buried in the bales.
It’s best to cut a larger hole than what you need as trying to cut a perfect size hole in a bale wall can be difficult. By all means, try it if you want as you can always enlarge your first attempt and continue with the method below. Much will depend on what size vent (or other protrusion you’re working with) you are trying to install. It will also depend on the density of your bales.
For the larger box method, start by using a rotary hammer drill with a chisel bit to remove the plaster. I suggest you score the outline of the area heavily with a scoring tool so that the plaster doesn’t continue to break in all directions as you go.
Cut out any mesh in the wall. Be sure to leave enough mesh when you cut it out to later anchor the framing that will go in the hole. You’ll need to bend it out of the way for now.
Use a chainsaw to plunge cut the straw out of the hole. Again, watch for wiring here!!!
Insert a small wood frame into the new hole and anchor it to the wall by attaching the bent back mesh to it.
Insert the dryer vent exterior wall fitting.
Insulate around the piping.
Trim out the new box with a wood detail, tile around the vent pie as necessary to hide the repair, or replaster the area with a skim coat over the entire wall to hide the repair.
Connect the dryer vent to the stub out.
Get going on the laundry that’s been piling up!
We hope this article on installing a dryer vent in an existing bale wall was helpful!