Date: 22 Sep 1999 03:21:34 -0500
From: (email address removed)(Barbara Jones)
Subject: Re: GSBN: Moisture Some Observations Longish
Hi there John, what a great proving for the strawbales, yeah!
At 07:15 AM 9/16/99 +1100, Huff and Puff Constructions wrote:
>G'Day Fellow Balers
>We recently built a large workshop/office/ammenities building for the
>Tilligerry Habitat at Port Stephens one hour north of Newcastle in New
>South Wales. The Architect presented a good laod bearing design some
>24 m x 8 m. The workshop was set and we had a heap of people who are
>on a work for the dole scheme.
>The Tilligerry Habitat look after Koala bears fauna and birdlife etc.
>This building is a prelude to their information centre. So you get the
>picture. Anyhow we had torrential rain at the start, during the wall
>raising and for three weeks after or so it seemed. It was a nightmare
>however we kept it covered as best as we could.
If you remember, we had a similar problem with the rainy climate in North
>The roof did not get on until the third week of constant rain. I
>believe we could have meausured it in feet and not inches. The reason
>for this post; day before yesterday I received a concerned call from the
>president of the Habitat and that she had been looking for me!
>After the stern call, I got on me horse amd did some low flying some
>900ks. I would like to report my findings. We had a lot of rain on a
>partially covered load bearing straw bale building. The Habitat
>personell had identified 16 wet spots and these were being monitored
>with a moisture meter. After six weeks since the roof went on these wet
>areas are starting to dry out.
>The problem was one of water tracking down and in large volumes however
>the result is amazing most of the wet spots are now coming back to
>normal with three exceptions. My questions to the list:
I found similar results, oh and I do beleive in this straw thang!
>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).
I don't think you'll have any dry rot at all, particularly if there's no
sign of it now (sniff). Dry rot NEEDS moisture and if it's dried out....
My experience is that dampness does not spread, it remains remarkably
localised, so I think the same should be true of rot since it needs moisture
>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
I'd do either option. If you want to plaster quickly then replace the flakes
(oops, biscuits), if you've the time then let it dry.
>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.
Mark Bigland Pritchard is modifying a moisture meter for our use over here
that measures in 3 places in the wall, the meters above seem to be good
ones. I'd think all information is interesting, not all is useful, but you
can't often tell that till after you've got it.
>Finally, I have been extremely worried as I felt all along that this
>building should have been bale-in-fill. Having seen the results of
>three weeks of rain on the bales I am super impressed with the way the
>bales have behaved.
Hurrah! Thank Goddess for your rain and enlightenment. No, but seriosly, you
know how much I have faith in the simple load-bearing method, having built
rather a few now.
>My advice to the client was:
>a. To continue monitoring for four weeks.
>b. Ask Rob Jolly to sell us some moisture probes.
>c. Remove the wet biscuits and replace with dry straw.
>d. Complete the render both inside and out.
>e. Have faith in the straw bales.
Sounds good to me.
Also sounds like you're continuing to do great work. Maybe next year I can
come out and visit.
Best wishes, Barbara
>Just for the record they still want to build the information centre from
>Anyway off to The Conargo Pub in the outback, life is busy.
>Regards The Straw Wolf
>For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send email to (email address removed)with HELP in the SUBJECT line.
Barbara Jones (jbarbara@...)
Strawbale building, training, consultancy, empowerment.
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