It is absolutely necessary to consider the environment in everything you do in this day and age. The damage modern society is inflicting on it may serve to degrade the world for future generations. However, there are green options for everything today and that includes the home that you live in.
Many may laugh at the idea of having a strawbale home but it is indeed a viable option, regardless of where you live and the weather elements present there. Straw bale homes are increasing in popularity as we speak for a variety of reasons and this is your quick guide to the phenomenon.
Reasons To Choose A Straw Bale House
Apart from the obvious fact that it is environmentally friendly, straw bale housing has several advantages over regular housing. Firstly, it is easy to build your own house this way. You don’t need the construction presence that you would if you were building your own brick home and it takes less time to actually put up.
Secondly, it costs a lot less; so much so that you may not actually need a mortgage and can do a pay as you go plan. Thirdly, and finally, straw bale houses are easier to expand because they do not require as much structural planning as conventional extensions. However, most individuals looking to build or buy their own straw bale house usually have some valid questions and so must learn the basics.
One major concern for all strawbale homeowners is that the straw will degrade. If it is carefully tended and excess moisture is removed before the house is actually built then it can last for a lifetime. Straw was used in Ancient Egypt and some of the structures that they built are still standing today, which just goes to show how effective it can be if maintained properly.
The best tip is keep all straw that you plan to use in a hot but dry atmosphere for at least 24 hours before use. This will get rid of the excess moisture. Another tip is to use a breathable sealer on the finished walls. This will prevent moisture from getting in but will also allow any moisture that does to be expelled back into the atmosphere.
Insects and Rodents?
Pests are not really a problem with straw bale housing as those that do cause damage to property (termites to name just one) do not like straw and thus will not inhabit it. Pesticides would have also been used on the straw to begin with so that should keep them at bay too. That leads me on to the next question…
As straw bale walls are plastered after being erected, like any other walls are, they are incapable of emitting any harmful substances they were treated with before being harvested.
The rice straw that is common in straw bale houses is only treated during the first few months of its being and so most chemicals would have been removed anyway by that point. However, the plaster serves as a casing that prevents the irritation of allergies as well as chemical transference.
A straw bale house is similar to every other house in that it has foundations, floors, walls and a roof. However, the design must be carefully considered to include the following:
- Drainage – There must be a drainage system in the foundations of a straw bale house to avoid degradation of the straw. A simple pipe drainage system will work and needs very little time and money to set up.
Floors – Floors should be insulated to keep warm in the winter. Fiberglas and foam insulation are extremely effective.
Walls – Always pin the bales together to make sure that you get a stable base for straw bale house walls, but begin stacking full bales at the corners of the room and pack them tightly because they will form the basis of a structure.
Straw bale houses are revolutionary in many ways, but you have to make sure that any design you choose to build is structurally sound so that it will safely house you and your family for many years to come.
Photo by Peter Lenardon / CreativeCommons