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RE: GSBN:Re: Strawbale walling query

For about 5 years we have been using 100x100mm (4"x4") posts set into
the straw bale wall. We use a 2 string bale which means that the twine
is set back about 120mm (5") from the face of the bale. We notch the
bale around the post which allows us to maintain running bond. We tie
the straw bales back to internal walls after the compression is
completed. We also tie the bales to any full height openings after

If when building the straw bale wall we felt that the wall was a bit
unstable ( possibly because of a long run of bales without internal
walls), we would tie the bales back to the post, loosely during
assembly. During compression we might need to cut those ties if they
start to work against the compression. If necessary we would retie them
after compression, however this rarely needed, as there is significant
stability gained from the compression, and rigidity of the top boxing.
We render across the face of the post, ensuring that any cavities
between the post and bales are filled with render. We have used this
method in single and 2 storey construction in very windy areas,
(unfortunately very little rain) and have never had any cracking appear
around the posts.

-----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Joyce
Sent: Sunday, 7 October 2007 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: Strawbale walling query

There is a straw-bale building in Nebraska (40x80 if I remember
correctly) where the bales are used as infill (not loadbearing) and they
wrapped around the outside of the posts without being tied to the poles.
The bale walls sit about four inches away from the posts. The building
was constructed in 1997-8 in the northeast corner of the state (gets
plenty of rain and snow and high winds). There are 28 posts (from red
cedar trees felled nearby) in this building - most around the perimeter
but some for structural support of the loft and rafters.

The bales are tied together with rebar pounded into the center at two
points within each bale, staggered up through three courses (see The
Straw Bale House by Steen, Steen et al). The building is coated with
cement stucco which is troweled over chicken wire pinned to the bales.

A rainscreen would probably be a good idea for the climate you describe.

Joyce Coppinger, Managing Editor
The Last Straw journal
GPFS/TLS, PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706 USA
402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161

on 10.4.2007 12:06 PM, Tom Woolley at woolley.tom@...:

> I had a meeting today with a young Belfast architect, Siobhan Brown,
> who is designing a strawbale house for a self builder in County
> Fermanagh ~Northern Ireland
> I don't think Siobhan has much experience of SB but she has had a good

> go at the design mainly based on details in a book by Chris Magwood
> The client wants to built a post and beam structure for the house and
> then wrap the strawbale walls around the outside of the posts. She was

> not proposing to tie the walls into the posts as she says that
> Magwood's details do not show this. She was planing to tie the wall
> plate to the rafters of the roof. The house is single storey but with
> rooms in the loft. so the floor joists for the upper floor will be
> part of the roof structure.
> I have misgivings about this . I wonder if anyone has built a
> strawbale house where the bale walls are not load bearing and are
> wrapped around the outside of the structural posts without being tied
> into them? The posts will be about 4 metres apart.
> Fermanagh has to have 100% humidity all year round with a lot of heavy

> winds and driving rain. If you stand still for 5 minutes moss will
> grow on your head.  I also think the walls will need a rain screen
> I would have thought a more solid structure would involve placing
> sections of bale walls between the posts and being tied into them
> Any useful comments and I will pass them onto Siobhan
> thanks
> Tom Woolley
> woolley.tom@...
> Rachel Bevan Architects
> 17A Main Street
> Saintfield
> Ballynahinch
> County Down
> BT24 7AA
> 028 97 512851
> also:
> Graduate School of the Environment
> Centre for Alternative Technology
> Unit 7, Dyfi Eco Parc
> Machynlleth
> Powys, SY208AX
> 01654 703562
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