Straw bale with mortar in-between each layer
posted 1 year ago
I found this in a straw bale house book (there was only two pages about it) and I decided to do it. The decision came with the desire to avoid a concrete pad. The floor is mostly wood on blocks of concrete and probably wouldn't be able to accommodate rebar, so I had to come up with a plan. The area I've build is in a zone 4b and it gets to be around negative 20 degrees every winter. The major problem with the mortar in-between each bale is that when the ground swells with the frost, everything may crack under the heaving. If I want to avoid this I can have a ditch build like a moat around the perimeter, line it with plastic and make it drain away from the building. This will unfortunately have to happen next summer, so I'm crossing my fingers for this first winter. This is my first building and if I had to do it again, I probably wouldn't do mortar in-between regardless of how satisfied I am with the way it turned out because it was not only laborious to mix so much concrete by hand in a wheelbarrow, but it was expensive and time consuming. Dry stacking would be so much easier. However, my structure is solid and as far as the test of time goes, I probably got my money's worth. Total bale count for a 20 x 20 floor was 180 and bags of mortar was equivalent. Include with that the half count of bags of lime. The door buck and 3 window bucks were the only additional cost, besides of cost of the metal roof and hand-made door. I have yet to put glass in and I haven't yet covered it in lime plaster. IN three summer's time, I will have completed it. As it stands now, though I'm pretty proud of it and if there is someone else who wants to try it, please feel free to ask me! I just wanted to share with this lovely community. Thank you. Also, I made a couple of videos and posted them on youtube in case anyone wants a good laugh.
Location: Pahrump NV