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 don’t think that the importance of tool organization on a job site can be overstated. This is true for owner builders and professionals alike.
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.
Ever wonder what one of my straw bale workshops is like? This video will give you a taste. For starters, we have a ton of fun, learn mountains of information, build someone’s dream, and make friendships that last.
The 2016 straw bale workshop season dates and locations will be announced on Black Friday. Stay tuned…
If you have a straw bale house and are willing to share your experience with an international master program, then please fill out the following questionnaire.
As a follow up to last week’s announcement by Arkin Tilt Architects (ATA) that they intend to offer a selection of their plans for free to California wildfire victims, I am happy to announce that those plans are now available for viewing.
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.
I spoke with David Arkin earlier this week about the incredibly generous and caring offer that he and is wife Anni Tilt are making for those people who lost their homes in the California wildfires.
I’m often asked if using bales that are tied with wire is a bad idea or a good idea. The reality is that there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the question. I do have a preference though, and that is for poly twine over wire.
In general, the detailing of a timber frame straw bale home is very much like that of a regular post an dream straw bale home; however, the differences are important to discuss. How the bales attach to the frame and how to best seal the air gap at the transition from plaster to frame are among the important details we will discuss in this article.
When people talk about the cost of straw bale construction, they often get things a bit muddled up. They either come in way too low or way too high. I’m here to set the record straight, hopefully once and for all.
I wonder if any of you knows why a straw bale house isn’t green. A straw bale house isn’t green because the wall system is only one part of a bigger system, and a small part at that.
It was immediately obvious while working on the exposed timber frame in Arlington, Vermont that the natural cut timbers would not line up perfectly with the plane of the bale wall once complete. What we did ended up working really well and created a beautiful and STRAIGHT wall.
I recently returned home from another amazing straw bale workshop in Arlington, Vermont. This was truly one of the most fun workshops I have had in years. The building will be used as woodworking shop, home brew facility, pottery studio and forge. It will certainly provide years of fun and creativity for the hosts: Tara and Tyler.
I’m happy to announce that we recently completed another great week of hard work and fun at the La Grande, Oregon straw bale workshop. With a large group of dynamic and fun people, the week of work felt like anything but work. (This is pretty much always true, of course!)
For years you have heard me say that there is no “perfect bale,” rather only bales that meet the criteria for construction: tight, uniform in shape, dry, good color, long straw, etc.
Allow me to share with you what I have learned over my 20 years as a professional builder and land developer. All tweaks and adjustments aside, this will be a good footing to start out on for anyone interested in the start to finish process of finding, developing, and building on raw land.
For me, the extra work of compressing your straw bale walls is more than worth it in the end and the quality of the overall job you will get as a result of this step is measurably better than working with soft or loose walls.
Here’s a great use for any left over bags of natural hydraulic lime you may have from your straw bale plastering job.
Keep these simple bullet points in mind when looking for building permit approvals for your straw bale house.
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.