[Strawbale] Europe's largest strawbale building

Sport Hotel, Jure Pozar jure.pozar at gmail...
Wed Nov 24 19:58:39 CET 2010

Dear fellow straw balers,

I appreciate help of all who replied to my previous posts so far, which 
have helped me a lot with planning my first straw bale house. I have 
been able to put together a house plan for post & beam with straw bales 
outside and now when it is finished I would like to ask you for an 
opinion. I am attaching wall intersection and want to hear your say. If 
you consider that your replies are too valuable to share freely, please 
give me number and I am willing to pay a certain amount if it will help 
me with my planning (reasonable answers with theoretical explanation why 
should it be done so and so)
The questions that are still crossing my mind are:
1. are OSB plates really better than wooden boards on the inside of the 
post & beam structure. Timber guys told me the wooden boards breathe too 
much which make the clay plaster break. I know wooden boards would be 
cheaper and more natural but I don`t really want to have cracks on my 
walls. They tell me OSB plates breathe enough. Is it true? The same 
question with the OSB plates on the outside of the structure: do they 
breathe enough or will they make moisture on the straw bales when warm 
air will go from outside to the inside? Or is the lime plaster enough to 
suck up all the moisture from the straw bale? And how much moisture can 
really go through the lime plaster? If it is low, than I guess it 
shouldn`t be a problem. What happens when warm air goes through the wall 
from the inside to the outside? Will it condense?
2. Another question is what percentage of straw bale can be pressed for 
every meter? If the straw bale wall is 10 meters high, how much should 
it be compressed that it won`t fall down/compress any further in the future?
3. as far as I know it is necessary to compress the straw bale wall, to 
avoid settling/compressing in the future which would also make the lime 
plaster crack. How do I compress the walls where I have windows and 
doors? Is it better to use board frames or are boards above the openings 
4. I am planning to do floor and roof isolation with straw bales as 
well. I can remember a discussion from Belgium that it is not best to 
put straw bales in the floor, but can`t remember the explanation why 
not. I think it was professor Minke who opposed the straw bale floor 
isolation but there wasn`t enough evidence to prove this theory.
5. I am also a bit concerned about the straw bales on the roof. We are 
planning to do the continuous straw bale layer with only screws in the 
middle to fix the roof laths so there shouldn`t be no problems with the 
thermal bridging. The thing that concerns me is the classical vapor foil 
which will be laid above the straw bales. It is supposed to be 
breathable, but I am afraid it will make condensation in the straw 
bales. The foil is necessary if the rain gets under the roof tiles - so 
it slips down the foil. Would it be maybe wise to put another foil below 
the straw bales, or would it be better to put dip the straw bales in 
clay before putting them on the roof, so it would such the moisture out 
of them?

I appreciate your knowledge, as there are only a few people in my 
country who know something about straw bale building and they have very 
little experience as there are only a few straw bale houses in Slovenia 
and they are all done with infill design which is suitable for certain 
regions, but not for where I live where we have big temperature 
differences. If everything goes right the house will be standing till 
the next ESBG, which I plan to attend. I will start working with straw 
bales professionally next year in September and will also initiate straw 
bale association of Slovenia to share the knowledge of straw bale building.

With best wishes to you all,


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