[Strawbale]Re: bales on the side

Catherine Wanek blackrange at zianet...
Wed Mar 16 02:04:46 CET 2005

At 05:03 PM 3/8/05 +0100, you wrote:
>....bales on edge - would that not provide a more difficult key for the 
>eventual plaster, the key being the shoot-ends of the material? i wonder 
>how the walls settle? ....

Plaster will key in between the bales and does stick to the bale itself -- 
these walls should NOT settle.  Both due to the rigidity of the  plaster, 
and because of the orientation of the straw.  A bale on edge has straw 
oriented like it grows in the field.... like a tree, vertical straw is less 
compressible than horizontal straw.

>...... cladding of another sort could then be considered - for instance, 
>[external] the transparent corrugated rainshield as was used in the sarah 
>wigglesworth house in islington. .......less 'pure', i know, but we dont 
>need to remain purists, eh?

There are many reasons to plaster a bale wall.  The plaster seals the bales 
from air infiltration -- which will seriously affect comfort and energy 
efficiency.  Also the plaster finish seals against insects and 
rodents.  Also, the plaster seals against potential fire damage.  The NM 
building code was amended to require plaster on walls that would eventually 
be clad with wood, after a fire was started by a plumber, on a SB home 
under construction..... and the fire raced up in the space between the wood 
finish and the unprotected straw wall.

  While the transparent corrugated rainshield produces an interesting 
aesthetic, it does not replace all of the functions of a plaster finish.

Best regards,
Catherine Wanek

Black Range Films &
Natural Building Resources
119 Main St. , Kingston, NM 88042
505-895-3389 / fax 505-895-3326
<blackrange at zianet...>

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