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GSBN: Digest for 2/9/05
- To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
- Subject: GSBN: Digest for 2/9/05
- From: "GSBN" GSBN@...
- Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 23:33:20 -0600
- Reply-to: "GSBN" GSBN@...
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-> Re: GSBN:Seeking some advice - metal framing
by "Habib John Gonzalez" habibg@...
-> re: Exterior cladding question
Date: 9 Feb 2005 12:03:44 -0600
From: "Habib John Gonzalez" habibg@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Seeking some advice - metal framing
Metal frame systems are used in a variety of regions.
Last summer our primary bale producer in Rimbey, Alberta, built a 1000 sqft.
shop for his eldest son using recycled 6" oil well drill casing as posts.
The pipe was cleaned and painted, then filled with vermiculite insulation
and mounted in the middle of the bale wall. He does not foresee any problems
with the metal posts.
Tony Perry, in New Mexico, published a story on his mid wall metal post
system in The Last Straw a few years ago.
There is a three story 4,000 sqft. metal frame bale home near rain soaked
Seattle, WA, with no reported problems.
We are scheduled to bale and plaster a two story metal post bale home in the
Rockies this spring using the high strength and quick build Wolf Hook
connector system. <a target="_blank" href="http://community.webshots.com/user/wwilbert">http://community.webshots.com/user/wwilbert</a> and
<a target="_blank" href="http://telusplanet.net/public/wolfhook">http://telusplanet.net/public/wolfhook</a>
On a similar note, a client replaced a window in her load bearing home with
a larger one. Her home was built in 1996 when we still used rebar embalers
and wall pins. She removed the rebar pins and embalers in the area to do the
renovation. After five years in the walls, none of the rebar showed any
signs of moisture or mould.
all the best,
Habib John Gonzalez
615 Cedar Street, Nelson, B.C.
Canada V1L 2C4
"Better the kindness of imperfection than perfection without kindness."
- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Joyce Coppinger" jc10508@...
To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 11:23 AM
Subject: GSBN:Seeking some advice - metal framing
> Hello All,
> We're having a very interesting exchange of messages lately. Keep it up -
> it's good for us all.
> So, I'll jump in here with a question, too. Over the weekend I was talking
> to a family that's planning to build and I need some good advice from
> who's been asked these same questions. The owner wants to use metal
> (existing metal building, perhaps) for a straw-bale home. But has recently
> been warned against it because of lightning striking the metal framing and
> setting the bales afire. What is your reply to people about this?
> And, what do you say about metal conducting heat and cold...and metal
> attracting moisture which may cause the bales to rot or there to be mold
> What do you recommend about setting the bales in a metal frame - inside
> framing, outside the framing, set around and the metal cut into the bales?
> Joyce Coppinger
> Managing Editor/The Last Straw,
> the international quarterly journal of strawbale and natural building
> The Green Prairie Foundation for Sustainability/GPFS (publisher)
> PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706 USA
> 402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
Date: 9 Feb 2005 16:52:19 -0600
Subject: re: Exterior cladding question
Chris Magwood wrote:
> I'm in the midst of designing a building for the Town of Haliburton,
> Ontario, which will provide a new space for a charitable group in which
> they will run their food bank and thrift store operations.
> One option I'm looking at is the use of compressed earth bricks.
> I don't have any doubt that the earth bricks can be used as an exterior
> cladding. What I'm wondering is this: If I lay up the bricks as an
> exterior load-bearing wall, can I stack the bales directly against this
> The issue is permeability. Obviously, the compressed earth bricks are
> going to be less permeable than the plaster, based on the thickness (10
> inches) and the density. But do you think this will be problematic?
> Will the earth bricks be capable of taking up migrating moisture and
> letting it go to the outside at a reasonable rate? I'm pretty good at
> detailing a bale building by now, so there won't be any gross air
> leakage, just what makes it through the plaster. I would treat the
> earth bricks with silicate paint,
I'm guessing that non-digest version GSBNers will have responded to this
by now but ...
Quite frankly, I don't think that the potential moisture-related problems
with the straw, but rather, that it will be with the earthen brick.
The unfired clay is probably going to soak up any available moisture like a
super sponge and hang on to it like [insert your politcally-incorrect
If moisture finds its way into the brick, either via from moisture
migration from the interior or from rain wetting on the outside or via
capillary rise from the ground
(or any other number of ways that water seems to have of foiling our
exclude it), then unless we have a drastic change in our Ontario climate
due to Global Warming, it's almost guaranteed that that moisture will
freeze and when it does,
more than likely the brick will spall and otherwise self-destruct.
There is a reason that old Ontario buildings did not use even fired clay
near grade in loadbearing (ie non ventilated/drained) masonry walls.
Typically, there would have been a rusticated stone base extending to a
of 2ft or more above grade before the brick would begin.
Haliburton probably isn't much different than Kanata in that there is no
shortage of stone but there is a scarcity of soil overburden.
It could easily be argued that in Haliburton, stone would be a more
suitable "natural" material, at least for the lowermost two or three feet
of the wall closest to grade, especially if the clay has to be imported.
And if the brick has to be fabricated on-site, it'd be questionable if
there'd be any savings in labour, over stone.
I'd look at doing an insulated sandwich wall, possibly with stone (or
urbanite, modern day locally-harvested "stone") as the outer skin, earthen
brick as the inner skin, with something like Roxul mineral wool in
between, and then start with bales on top of that, preferably
not until a height where the roof overhang ensures that the bale wall and
its earthen brick cladding will not be exposed to rain wetting.
I would be sceptical of the efficacy of a painted-on film (ie silicate
paint) as the only thing keeping the earthen brick dry. I would also
imagine that the earthen block would soak up at least 4x the amount of
chemical sealer than would say, a fired clay brick.
Given that the building is being funded by a charitable group whose
are providing services to cash-challenged parties, it would seem imprudent
those badly needed (for community service) funds and put them into a
material configuration that is iffy in this climate and which is almost
certain to eat more of those scarce funds for ongoing maintenance on a
regular basis (ie re-coating with sealer every five years
or so and repairing frost damage).
~~~ * ~~~
Robert W. Tom
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
(winnow the chaff from my edress in your reply)
End of Digest
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