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Straw Homes

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by TexasAggie, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. TexasAggie

    TexasAggie Monkey+

    Several years ago, I saw an article on using straw bales to make a home. you had to protect the straw bales.

    would it work in southeast Texas?
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Tracy likes this.
  3. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Only if you don't live near the Big Bad Wolf. ;)
    JABECmfg, STANGF150 and kellory like this.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If wet, they will deteriorate. If dry, they will burn like nobody's business. They are an insulator, not really a building material. They trap and hold heat by stopping airflow.
    tulianr likes this.
  5. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Fooled me. We built some pretty elaborate forts and tunnels out of them in the barn when kids. A grand time lost for the younger generations.

    Tracy and tulianr like this.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    "in the barn"that made all the difference. in an open field, they would have rotted pretty quickly. and play time would have been less fun.
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    We lost a barn to hay fire, having placed hay in the muddy path to the door.

    The hay got wet (no problem). Then dried (no problem). The material decomposition caused high heat, resulting in a fire, which followed its own path to the barn door, destroying the structure (big problem).

    They are pretty awesome fort-building material! Big fun! :cool:
  8. Illini Warrior

    Illini Warrior Monkey+

    they build'em up here in the Upper Midwest .... awesome R Value insulated homes .... probably ok to build depending on where you live and how modern thinking your building/zoning inspectors are .....
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Sold along the south when made from Rice Straw. Frame up, stucco on the outside and the inside. Rice straw does not decompose like hay etc.
  10. TexasAggie

    TexasAggie Monkey+

    The item I saw was a magazine article describing the stucture and coatings to prevent deterioration. I think for structural requirements you would need a concrete wall to keep hte hay off the ground, ala like wood, then rebars up and hay placed over rebar, and probable rebar between the vertical tying one or two levels together.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The biggest issue with Straw Houses, is that the walls are NOT Structurally Sound, or Weather Tight, on their own. So you have to reinforce the Straw Bails, with some type of Metal or Wood mechanical bracing, just to hold the weight of the roof, or second story, and then an Outer coating or Layer to make the Wall Weather Tight.. At that point, all the straw does for you is give you Insulation, but at the cost of much thicker walls, but not much else. There are much better systems, that have much better Insulation Characteristics, are Structural, Weather Tight, and significantly narrower Walls. if Straw is all you have, then you use what you have, but If this is such a good building material, for cold weather, why are their not thousands of them, in Bush, Alaska, where it DOES get cold in the winters. ......
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    For sure a concrete footing and a concrete beam along the top. Some use a type of wood beam construction and of course the typical wood frames for doors and windows. Others use an asphalt mix on the exterior.
  13. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Well not many large straw fields, transportaion problems, just to name a few. Square Stick houses are just the way people seem to want to live. As far as the walls, all walls have to be weather tight and rot proof in one way or another. True Straw (as opposed to hay) is superior for it's strength and insulation due to hollow stems. Rebar can be extended from the bottom concrete base to the top concrete plate and it is common to hvae rebar along the horizontal layers and wired to the uprights.

  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yup. Earth is much better. ;)
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    And you do not need to transport it..... Dirt is everywhere.....
  16. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    And dirt is the worst insulator for cold areas.

    Dirt aka adobe, rammed earth, underground etc is best used in a place where the flywheel effect can be used. Very dry areas with cool nights and hot days. Such as Oz or the 4 corners of the US.
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