[Strawbale] OSB or Not?

Michel Van Mulders michelvanmulders at siol...
Wed Dec 1 18:10:00 CET 2010

Hello all,

As Jure, I am also living in Slovenia and planning a house, and workshop ( together about 500 m2) to build next summer
I took some time to think about the discussion going on last week about using OSB.

I started off a little different, suggested by this forum, to find a timber-framer first and then an architect that is used to work with such a company.
It turns out very good.
Of course, timber framing for strawbale walls is specific, and I will have to provide the information to the architect.

My feeling is that using OSB or similar large sheets with strawbale building can be avoided.
Wouldn't the properties of strawbale walls be better, if just plastered from both sides?
With a thin plaster on a OSB on the inside of the wall, there is not much thermal mass either.

What would be your thoughts on this;

The framing of the house on the inside is ideal for avoiding thermal bridges.
On this framing (outside) I could nail thin strips of wood (30mmx15mm) with spacing of about 50 mm or more, and stag the bales against the strips.
This gives a lateral support to the bales, and some grip for the plaster later on the inside.
Then sew though the bales and fix the same strips of wood on the outside of the bales for later good grip of the plaster.
This feels very good, but the plaster becomes maybe too thick (plus burlap or reed), and is maybe too complicated to do.

Seen from other buildings, the bales are usually just squeezed between the poles of the frame.
It looks more simple somehow, but are thermal bridges of the frame and bales not a problem here, or do the bales insulate enough to avoid troubles?
Windows are also put into "boxes" of sheet material. 
What are the ways to avoid thermal bridges here, condensation of the bales around windows?

Now being in the design phase, I would be grateful to get your suggestions and idea's.

With greetings from snowy Slovenia!


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