[Strawbale] Planning a home of BigBales 2011 in Estonia

Dave Howorth dave at howorth....uk
Sat Feb 26 21:32:33 CET 2011

On Sat, 2011-02-26 at 12:16 +0100, Caroline Meyer White wrote:

> A load bearing strawbale wall is carried by the plaster skins. It can
> be hard to understand, as they are so thin. But because the plaster is
> always more stiff then the straw, relatively, the load ends up on the
> skin, - untill they crack, then it will go to the bales at some point.
> The density of the bales etc does have some relevance, but less then
> perhaps expected.

I'm sorry but I believe this is a canard. An oft-repeated
misunderstanding. The simplest way to understand is to remember that the
normal way of building is to build the wall, then apply the load, then
apply the plaster. So whilst the plaster may take the bulk of live
loads, the bales frequently take the bulk of the dead load.

There are documented cases of loadbearing walls with noticeable gaps
between the top or bottom of the plaster and the wall plates. Check the
other SB lists for details.

Of course it all depends on specifics. If the plaster is applied and
allowed to dry first and dead loads are applied subsequently, then the
plaster will bear more load. If the bales are precompressed with straps
or studding, they will bear a greater proportion of the load.

Cheers, Dave

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