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Retrofitting with Straw Bale and Cob

 
Gryphon Corpus
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I'm looking to create a sustainable home for my kid and me, on a shoestring budget. I've been exploring building my own with strawbale and cob, but even doing most of the work myself, I'm not sure I can manage the costs of land, well, septic, and materials. Yesterday, however, I found a very inexpensive little rancher, wood with vinyl siding, probably a prefab. Assuming it checks out structurally, I'm wondering about the possibilities for wrapping it in straw bale and redoing the whole interior in cob. I see the straw bale wrapping has been done a number of times in other houses, so that's definitely possible. Anybody know anything about putting cob on the inside? I'm envisioning ripping out the horrible rugs and vinyl flooring, tearing out the walls, and redoing the lot in cob, even building the kitchen in it. Is that crazy?

Here's a picture of the front. Very small eaves, so I'd have to extend them to cover the bale. No idea how to do that, but no doubt I can find someone who does. Did I mention that I have no building experience whatsoever? I've never even built a bird house.
front.jpg
[Thumbnail for front.jpg]
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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This link gives a good explanation on how to extend your roof overhang:

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/qa/adding-roof-overhangs.aspx


One complication you may have is how much your extension obscures or interferes with your windows and doors.
 
Gryphon Corpus
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Thanks. The more I consider it, I am forced to conclude that wrapping it in straw bale is probably not a sensible thing to do. I think it would take me something like 200 years to recoup the cost in energy savings. But I do still want to redo the walls in an earthen plaster, or maybe papercrete, and the kitchen and bathroom counters. Eventually I'm thinking a straw bale and cob addition.
 
Gail Moore
Posts: 175
Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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Hi Gryphon and Andrew.

I've been out of the permies loop for a few months and am in awe of the progression of permie folks and ideas.

On this type of idea, retrofitting a home with bales, I've wondered about using the bales on the INSIDE of the home.
This would keep them dry, and there would be no need to create a larger roof overhang.

I know some folks would say this would take up too much space, and that may be so for some homes. Yet, it might
work for some dwellings.

Would there be a need to form a dead air space, and stack them a bit away from the interior walls. THen cover with
interior plaster, stone work or such to create thermal mass?

Has anyone done a straw bale retrofit where they just leave the outside of the home as it had been and use the straw
bales inside the home?

This is just an idea I've been thinking about to help folks who already have a building they would like to retrofit in an
affordable way...



 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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