Straw Bale Construction
Will It All Fall Down?
By Norwich Builder, Hardwin Osborne
When it's your first time using straw bale construction there’s always a moment of uncertainty - when the walls shake like jelly and you wonder if it’s all going to fall down on top of you.
You will see later how you will resolve this but to start with...
... make sure the ground is flat and arrange the tyres into one large rectangle.
This is where you get your hands dirty. Stuff clay inside the rim of the first tyre and fill the centre of the tyre with small stones or pebbles. Repeat for all the other tyres. This will create a firm foundation for your straw bale.
Now lay the first layer of straw bales on top of the tyres.
Decide where you want your door and replace the bale with the door buck. You may end up having to cut a bale in half to keep the wall complete.
Build up the walls making sure each layer overlaps the layer below like a brick wall. As you build run two timber stakes through each bale and into the two below. This will keep the walls more stable as you build upwards.
Now insert the window bucks making sure their tops are level with the door bucks. The walls should be several inches higher than the bucks to allow for even compression.
Fix the doors and windows to the wall using lengths of dowel. They will be knocked through predrilled holes into the straw bale to hold the bucks in place.
Drilling Through The Door Buck
This is where straw bale construction is similar to timber framing. It's also the solution to the unstable wall.
Once the walls are at their full height measure up and construct a rigid wall plate. This will sit on the wall and stop it wobbling. It will also spread the roof load evenly over the entire length of the walls during the compression period.
For Norwich Builders or - for project management enquiries please speak to Hardwin on 01508 481957.
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