[Strawbale] Sodium Sillicate and an update

chug. chug at strawbale-building....uk
Fri Feb 28 13:29:20 CET 2003

Dear Andre and Coralie,
I don't know anything about sodium silicate, but Rikki Nitzkin posted to the list about using potassium silicate for waterproofing(copied below)

We also have similar problems to you in France with our Straw Bale Building Association-only 40 ish subscribers of which nearly half-19 are students,  and four of us who actually do most of the work in our spare time receive free membership, leaving 17 or so actual full subscribers!
we scaled down our association newsletter to just an update of events and a few small articles, and send out the Last Straw instead, now it is more Euro orientated.
I can see a time in the near future( and Barbara and Bee have said this too) when we will become just an internet network of interested people, especially with the plans to make TLS more online friendly.

I think what you wrote "-The lack of building codes pushes SB construction towards owner builders. Who only need one house and quit the movement after finishing it."
is also true for us, and we also find it hard to coordinate a gathering and the U.K is not that big, so I understand your problems well 
But do keep up the excellent work you do and France will be lucky to have a least one reliable source of strawbale info.
Best wishes with your CD, book and house/center, and I would have thought you would have built your own masonary heater.
keep spreading the word!


This weekend I was talking to an architect friend who mentioned two more ways to waterproof earth plasters:

1) Potassium Silicate ("dissolvable glass") ; it goes on in 2 coats, first 1:1 with water, and 2nd pure silicate.  If you want to do it with color use white paint as a base: 5kg of Zinc Oxide and 4 lt. (5kg) potassium silicate--mix the paint a day before using. You can add any natural pigments you like, or colored earth. leave 12 hours drying time between  coats, and don´t do it in rain, freezing weather or strong sun.  

2) an old monk´s recipe:  pigments mixed with beaten eggs.

Does anyone have any experience or comments on either of these techniques?


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: André de Bouter 
  To: ESBN ; GSBN 
  Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 9:33 AM
  Subject: [Strawbale] Sodium Sillicate and an update

  Hello everyone,
  A potter friend suggests that I mix Sodium Sillicate (not sure this is the correct English word) in my earth plaster, or mud floor, as he claims it will allow us to have a more 'fluid' mix while using less water. This should make the plaster easier to mix and apply, give less risk of craking and possibly make the plaster more water resistant.
  He suggested to mix 3% Sodium Sillicate to the water.
  Any ideas on this?
  - chemical reactions?
  - breathabilty?
  - an ecological sollution?
  - ?????
  And a little update.
  French SB Association 
  (Association pour la Construction en Fibres Végétales)
  Due to a lack of active participants it has been decided that this non for profit should be terminated.
  Although the demand for SB is constantly rising it seems difficult to get a good network going in France.
  reasons I see are: 
  - France is a large country (relatively speaking of course) and anual gatherings are therefore difficult/expensive. 
  - Internet use is just starting here.
  - The lack of building codes pushes SB construction towards owner builders. Who only need one house and quit the movement after finishing it.
  French SB Book.
  The project I was working on has transformed into cooperation with Terre Vivante who are translating Astrid and Herbert Grubers' SB book 'Bauen mit Stroh'. If all goes as planned they will use our images for a collor section.
  As this book is a introduction to SB rather than a detailed 'how to' I'm trying to stimulate Terre Vivante to translate a second book as soon as possible. (I realized I would not be able to write a SB book of the level of some of those out there whithout spending 10 years on it)
  I hope the arrival of a French general SB book will activate a new network. Our french mailing list is waiting for them. (and this goes for for other french speaking parts of the world as well).
  CD rom
  I'm still trying to find the time to finalize this one before the onset of summer mud frenzie.
  Our SB home/center
  The geese are flying to the noth again, sign that the big cold (-14 Celcius is cold for our région) is over.
  The hopelessly under sized masonry stove that we borrowed to keep our newborn from freezing defended itself well. The house is not finished (for the moment no windows on the south side, only a temporary unplastered SB wall, and cracks in the other walls everywhere) but we did manage to 'finish' our bedroom before Coralie gave birth. The last two weeks we cleaned up our garden and planted fruit trees.
  This year year we will try to finish the extérieur walls and the roof insulation. That way we will have more comfort and I can spend less time cutting wood. The south shoud receive the second hand windows that I've been collecting; giving us more light and heat next winter.
  Bale on,
  André de Bouter
  La Maison en Paille
  m.ep at laposte...
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