strawbale talkgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We have read several books from the library on strawbale and hubby and I have decided that this is the way to go for us,(we are in Canada love the insulation factors, and just the way they look, and that we can do so much ourselves). We are going to be heating with radiant floor heat, via wood fired hot water so we will be pouring a concrete slab. I am thinking of a one level, villa style, hip roof with load bearing walls. Anyway my question is wether rebar is necessary, I have read accounts that some of the "modern" bale homes are not using it, and in fact it is clumsy and awkward to use. Also do you have any comments on methods of wall compression? How long did it take? If you have built load bearing walls, how are your windows and doors doing? What was the best tools you used for straightening up bales? Any other practical advice???? Thanks.
-- Terri in NS (email@example.com), May 12, 2001
Hi Terri! I do not know all of the research, but I have a sister that built a straw bale house in Northern Minnesota. She used a timber frame and filled with straw bales. It is a two story structure and has a tin roof to heat and get that snow off faster. The foundation was wider to deal with the size of the walls. I know it can be done in the north, good luck! :-) ~Brenda
-- Brenda (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 12, 2001.
There is a wonderful discussion group on the net for strawbale and questions like yours. To sign up, send an email to email@example.com with the word subscribe in the body of the email. Lots of very experienced and knowledgable folks on that list, and a good many from Canada.
-- Carol Mora (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 13, 2001.
Thanks for the discussion group, I sent in a subscribe this morning. I wish I was closer to some of the wonderful workshops down in the States. It would be so wonderful to see one of these things go up first.
-- Terri in NS (email@example.com), May 14, 2001.
I don't know about the rebar... Seems it would make it more sturdy - but then there are examples of load-bearing straw and hay walls that were built without it and have lasted over 100 years. I think that would be your call - with a good plan I don't see a problem. I don't know about any of the new ones.
Can't help with the compression time - hubby and I are going to go with in-fill... We want to do a lot with views and with passive solar, and straw structural walls won't give us the strength for the over-sized windows. Think the hipped roof sounds really good, by the way - I'd like to, but don't know if the floor plan will allow it in our case. Really spreads the load - so will be great for you!
-- Sue Diederich (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 14, 2001.
I have one question: why load-bearing? We live in a post&beam framed strawbale house, and I do not see any great advantages in the load-bearing style, and in fact there are some big disadvantages. Notably having to wait for the walls to compress before you stucco & plaster, which can be a real problem because you are at the mercy of the weather till then. We stuccoed the outside of our house on Halloween weekend and one hour later it began to rain and rained for the next 5 months -- the wettest winter on record here (NW WA.) It will be extremely difficult to get insurance as well. As for your question about rebar, you definitely need to have rebar spikes set in the slab all along the perimeter, on which to skewer the first row of bales. I would think it would be doubly important on load-bearing walls which will have weight exerting outward force on them. After that, you can use bamboo - in fact it is better because if you need to cut a hole in a bale, say for vent ducts or propane lines or electric conduit etc, you're not going to be reaching in with your sawzall and ruining blades on rebar. Another debate is about chickenwire over everything. We've got chickenwire on ours, and it was specified on the building plans, so we couldn't get out of it even if we wanted (ours is a code house -- you may not be bothering with the building dept). Moreover, my husband who is a journeyman carpenter and architectural designer & intern, says that the chickenwire greatly improves the strength in earthquakes -- it is not simply to give the plaster something to cling to. The best tool for straightening up bales is time -- careful, thoughtful placement. We love our house -- so quiet, so solid. I highly recommend them. Good luck to you!
-- snoozy (email@example.com), May 16, 2001.
I tried the majordomo subscribe thing. It doesn't seem to have worked -- I think you need to have the SPECIFIC name of the group.
I just got a reply. I assume it is the 'strawbale' list, so the request (in the body of the email) would be
You might find it worthwhile to email them to get a list of the discussions active on there -- a lot sound interesting. To get the list, you send them an email with
in the body of the email.
-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), May 17, 2001.