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GSBN: Digest for 2/28/05

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-> Re: GSBN:Seeking some advice - metal framing
     by billc_lists@...


Date: 28 Feb 2005 00:53:40 -0600
From: billc_lists@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Seeking some advice - metal framing

At 1:23 PM -0600 2/8/05, Joyce Coppinger wrote:
>Over the weekend I was talking
>to a family that's planning to build and I need some good advice from anyone
>who's been asked these same questions. The owner wants to use metal framing
>(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?

Sorry for the late response to this one.  It's been a busy month.
(short, too!).

I don't think that's any more likely than having lightning strike a
stick, post & beam, or other type of home and catch it on fire.  In
fact, the metal would probably be more likely to act as a ground rod,
conducting the lightning strike directly to ground and dissipating
the energy, rather than setting bales on fire. Though it *might*
happen if the metal got hot enough from conducting the bajillion
volts to ground, the same would happen with any somewhat flammable
material next to the metal.  And a nebraska style home would probably
light up the bales with the same lightning strike.

>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 or

There was a lot of talk about this on one of the SB lists a while
back.  I think it depends a lot on the local climate. IIRC, one
safety precaution recommended placing the metal toward the inside
surface, where it would generally be kept at a more moderate
temperature and therefore less prone to condensation.

>What do you recommend about setting the bales in a metal frame - inside the
>framing, outside the framing, set around and the metal cut into the bales?

Notching is always a lot of work... I'd try to keep the bales
entirely outside (or inside) the metal, but maybe that's just me
being lazy. If the bales are to the interior of the metal, I'd
suggest leaving a slight gap between the metal and the plastered
surface - maybe as much as a nice comfortable porch!

- --
Bill Christensen
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