Tuesday, September 21, 1999 6:10:38 PM
From: GSBN@...,Txinfinet Incoming
Subject: Digest for 9/21/99
-> Re: GSBN: Moisture Some Observations Longish
by Habib John Gonzalez <habibg@...>


Date: 21 Sep 1999 19:15:36 -0500
From: Habib John Gonzalez <habibg@...>
Subject: Re: GSBN: Moisture Some Observations Longish

Greeting All:

Huff and Puff Constructions wrote:
My questions to the list:
> 1. Will wet straw that dries out be subject to dry rot and will it
> spread? My observation is that there will be no problems with dry rot
> (question asked by client).

In this region of western Canada, we test the bales on site before
stacking them in walls. Low moisture numbers are not the only criteria
for approval. If there are signs of previous wetting and consequent mold
staining or mold and fungus dust, this indicates the deterioration
process of that straw has begun-pull on the suspect straw to see easily
it comes apart. The amount of damage depends on the length of time and
degree of moisture the straw suffered. These bales are set aside for

Uncle Bob Platts, the author of "Pilot Study of Moisture Control in
Stuccoed Straw Bale Walls" (Report to Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation-Don Fugler-June 13, 1997)
removed samples of moist, dark, musty smelling straw from straw bale
structures 7 to 10 years old. The fibres were weak in tension. Again,
the damp, dark and musty bales have begun to deteriorate.

> 2. Both sides are not rendered so it would be easy to replace the wet
> biscuits before render is applied. Would you replace the biscuits or
> let it continue to dry out? Weather hotting up we are having a
> beautiful spring.

Deep wetting usually means deep trouble. It is a very good idea to
replace bales before parging.

> 3. Would the Rob Jolly and Don Fugler moisture probes be a good idea
> for long term monitoring? This is a high rainfall high humidity area of
> our great country.

After spending a year on the Central Coast of New South Wales, I agree
it is wet country. The CMHC style moisture sensors are cheap insurance
for straw bale buildings. There are instructions how to build them in
Issue # 22 of The Last Straw Journal.

all the best,

Habib John Gonzalez

- --
Sustainable Works
C-2 Gordon Road
Nelson, British Columbia,
Canada V1L 3E3
tel/fax: 250.3521.3731
"Better the kindness of imperfection than perfection without kindness"


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