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Re: GSBN:Largest strawbale buildings?clapboard

Hi Kelly,

Horizontal clapboard over rough plastered bales has been a very
successful treatment for bale walls in Atlantic Canada for the last
10 years. There have been several different systems used, the one
Jeff describes (with wood framing) being amoung them. Our weather is
extremely hard on buildings with lots of wind driven rain and snow
and intense, quick freeze thaw cycles that are very hard on
plasters.... particularly plasters with cracks.

The clap board system has been used here on 12 residences of one and
two stories, but I can see no reason why it wouldn't work on three or
even four. I guess the question is what is available locally to
create the rain screen - I can imagine that wood might be at a premium.

Of note is that three (and I think there will be more over time)
owners have used this approach as a remediation strategy with
considerable success when it became apparent that their walls on
those particular (exposed)  sites couldn't stand up to the weather.

I can send you photos separately if you like.



Kim Thompson
Straw Bale Projects
2699 Northwood Terrace
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 5S9
tel. 902-453-2429
e mail: shipharbour@...

"Tradition and modernity are merely two sides of the same coin - and
must be dealt with simultaneously. Building cannot be a rigid dogma,
but a living, organic, ecological project. It is about continuity,
based on memory, common sense and experience and is the foundation of
invention."   Hasan Uddin Khan

On 2-Feb-07, at 4:56 PM, jeff wrote:


We recently completed a 30,000 sf horse arena with an attached
that was mostly steel framed, with no overhangs.  We did not
in the design process and the steel frame was already installed
when we
arrived.  We had to work with what we were given.

The building is at 8000' and very exposed.  Due to the size of the
structure the owner did not want to use earth or lime due to the
maintenance expense of re-plastering regularly.  We used cement
and sealed it with solixane.  We installed gutters everywhere.  This
info may of little use to you since your building is multi-stories and
this one is one story for the most part.

What I can tell you that may be of interest is I believe the expansion
and contraction of the steel frame is much more significant that wood
and the integration of the bale walls is a stiff element in between
members.  We did not do a wrap, but more of a conventional approach,
placing bales between the posts.  I am noticing a few more cracks
than i
have on other projects and I believe it is because the frame is
expanding and contracting.  I don't think it is due to wind because
frame is very stout and in my opinion, over-designed.  Also, the
are spread out and not shear in location and direction.  We installed
vertical expansion joints every 20 feet on the entire building.

One thing we did do that I found to work really well was to install
siding over the bale walls on the second story of the residence - the
only part of the project that was over one story.  We installed
and plastered one coat between them and then installed old barn wood
siding as a rain screen.  In my opinion, this saved time and will
guarantee that moisture will never hit the bales.  There is paper
the siding and a gap behind the paper.  Not only did it save time,
but I
believe it saved money.  Stucco being $6/sf and siding being $3/sf for
the materials and labor is faster than plaster, we did well choosing
this method.    I have attached a picture of the finished residence

I have been working on a webpage for this project but I don't have
it up
yet.  Look for it in a couple weeks.

We have not done any energy related stuff.  In fact, 90% of the
area is
not conditioned.

Cost for the steel structure and bale walls finished was around
$2,000,000.  This included a 2500 sf residence.  The rest is a wide
horse arena.

The project is located near Carbondale, CO

Completed Nov 2006.

Owner-designed with us as de facto engineers.

We were the builder.

Good luck,

Jeff Ruppert, P.E.

Odisea LLC
Engineering and Consulting

Front Range Office 		West Slope Office
1731 15th St. #105		209 Clark Ave.
Boulder, CO  80302		Paonia, CO 81428
303.443.4335			970.948.5744
303.443.4355 f			1.866.795.6699 f

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