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Some of the most frequently asked questions regarding straw bale buildings are those related to the type and specifications of the bales that should be selected. The following 5 points will hopefully address many of the questions first time straw bale and owner builders have when confronting the question of bales. There continues to be much debate surrounding some of the issues such as the type of straw (fiber). Remember, straw is the stems of grain and cereal crops - not...

In previous postings we have discussed some of the design rationale and construction methodologies employed and advocated by our company. This is a more detailed analysis of technologies and materials used from foundation to roof. Not too long ago the construction of a straw bale house involved the design of a custom foundation, sometimes complex and unorthodox framing, shimming trusses and rafters on an undulating box beam on a load bearing straw bale wall, and a host of other quirky construction...

There are essentially two methods of constructing bale walls to support the roof structure and multi-storey walls (to a maximum of 3 storeys) in residential construction. They are: load bearing wall assemblies non-load bearing wall assemblies Both systems have their advantages and challenges. We have chosen to focus our efforts on non-load bearing straw bale for a number of reasons. Moisture is the biggest enemy of straw bales during construction, and until a roof is constructed the bales are vulnerable to damage even...

Straw bales as a choice in new housing is distinctly different from virtually all new products developed to enhance the efficiency of home construction from a structural, energy, environmental or cost efficiency perspective. New building products are often developed by large companies through research and development, then marketed, branded and patented. Straw bale, and its applications in house construction, is a grass roots technology, developed by small builders, home owners and 'do-it-yourself-ers' exploring a means of providing housing that is...

The two most common questions we encounter from individuals exploring straw bales as a building option are: “Do they pose a fire hazard?" and “Are they going to be a haven for mice and vermin?” This is a cursory overview of both issues which we will be dealing with in much more detail in future postings. Straw bales are naturally fire resistant. The dry straw that makes up the bale is very combustible when loose, but compressed in the form of...