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Straw bales in HIGH WINDS

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm thinking I might do my kids playhouse out of straw bales and cob. My big concern is WIND driving rain, dirt, debris, snow, etc. One thing we never lack here is WIND BABY WIND. So how would a straw bale house hold up to constant wind pressure?
 
Bill Bradbury
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hello again Elle,
Since you live where straw is abundant, I would suggest straw bale. I think it's best to build a frame first and infill with bales. There's probably a local saw mill in your area that could supply you with some good timbers and lots of info and help here on permits and other sites.
Straw bales must be rendered on the exterior, this is a sacrificial coating that must be renewed according to how durable the render is and how destructive the environment is to the render. I would recommend that you use a clay render directly on the bales and then a good coating of lime to finish the plaster.
The best thing to do is actually draw up a design in sketchup and post it for design critique.
All Blessings,
Bill
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Ah well this is going to be a fairly basic kids clubhouse. I'm using telephone poles and it will be elevated off the ground. I'm thinking 10x10 in size.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Well it sounds like you should be fine with a pole barn style structure.

Here are the basics:

Dig the holes and put 6-12" of gravel in, then the pole and finish filling with gravel,no dirt and no concrete.

You will need 6 poles for a 10x10 if you place 4 in the corners and 2 in the center.

Place 2x6 lumber on both sides of the poles, running from each corner to the center and fastening with 2 3/4" carriage bolts, washers and nuts to fasten.

Now dig a trench 4" wider than your bales for the footing of the bale wall and fill it with stones and gravel or broken concrete, using larger stones for above the ground level and installing them with their wide parts horizontal and overlapping the seams. Set these with clay.

Attach jute to any wood that you would like to plaster. Plaster with a clay straw mix and after 2 heavy coats, plaster with lime.

 
Jeff Ruppert
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elle sagenev wrote:I'm thinking I might do my kids playhouse out of straw bales and cob. My big concern is WIND driving rain, dirt, debris, snow, etc. One thing we never lack here is WIND BABY WIND. So how would a straw bale house hold up to constant wind pressure?


I would suggest considering a rainscreen. You can find a detailed article here http://thelaststraw.org/finishing-bale-walls-with-siding/

Being the publisher of TLS and the author of that article I may seem biased on this technique, but I have done it myself and recommend it to clients in all climates as a better solution than exposed plaster. It truly is a superior finish by eliminating the moisture issue. As David Eisenberg has said, design problems out at the beginning of the project...

Cheers.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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The wind doesn't stop at the Nebraska border. Some of those structures are going on 100 years old.
 
Jennifer Meyer
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Location: North Carolina
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When I lived in Nebraska, I considered building a straw bale house. The bales can be in excess of sixty pounds, so wind isn't likely to move them. It's really the roof that's in danger of being carried off. If you are very concerned about the wind whistling through the bales before you get your exterior coating on, mortar the bales together as you stack them. Make sure your stucco has a waterproof coating and you have a waterproof foundation to prevent rot.
 
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