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Strawbale orientation

 
Ryan DeRosier
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I'm in the process of building a predominantly strawbale sauna.

Here's my issue:

I planned on using 2-string bales (18" x 14" x 36") to build up the walls and built my stone foundation accordingly. Now that it's almost finished and I'm ready to go get straw bales it turns out the ones I have access to are 3-string bales (24" x 16" x 48") and far too wide for the wall. I'm wondering if I can stack the larger bales on their side and if they will still have the stability to hold up the roof. I'm thinking it should work. Especially if I drive bamboo stakes through to like the bales. Anyone know more?

Much appreciated.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Friends have built both ways, they said on edge really worked better--really locked together as it was built. They were post and beam, though.

I know that stacking bales as hay that stacking them on edge makes the pile a whole lot less stable feeling.
 
Peter DeJay
Posts: 104
Location: Southern Oregon
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I don't have experience with edge stacked bales, but I'm sure they could be stabilized just as well. It might mean you need to run a chainsaw down their length to even out the straw ends so they stack tighter. If I were doing this I might do a hybrid and put in corner posts to help stabilize the structure and roof.

I'm pretty sure that the insulation factor is better with edge stacked.
 
Rob Viglas
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Sounds like a cool project! I know that bales on their edge have been used as infill but am not sure about as load bearing walls. But for maximum insulation it is best to lay them flat. I only know this because I did TONS of research before I built my own straw bale house. What are you going to use for plaster?
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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