[Strawbale] plastering against fire risks

Menno Houtstra mennohoutstra at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 18 20:32:32 CET 2014

thank you for your warnings,
i was wondering if anybody has experience with spraying clayplaster on strawbales.
As I only want some plaster as prevention against loose straw, i was wondering if i could economise in time and money with this method, as i only would need a thin layer.

During a workshop in France with André de Bouter, I also used a primitive instrument, to sprinkle "clay water" on the wall, i believe it was called in dutch a "tierelier" (???).
This would give a film  of clay on all little straws in the surface and would help the first thick layer to anker itself.

Instead of normal plaster spraying, which is quite thick, my first thought was to use this kind of consistency, to really "soak" the strawbale wall with liquid plaster, and in this way "fix" the little straws and give it a thin plaster layer...
Any thoughts on that?

Thanks again, and sorry for my stubborness not to go through the "traditional" method.
In fact i am looking for a way to use strawbales in more mobile or light architecture...

All the best,


On Monday, March 17, 2014 2:04 PM, RT <archilogic at yahoo.ca> wrote:
On Fri, 14 Mar 2014 13:43:37 -0400, Menno Houtstra  
><mennohoutstra at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> the fire department in my place,  amsterdam, objected against such an  
>> unplastered wall because of little straws falling on the ground that  
>> might catch fire!
>It's been maybe 17 or more years so I forget the families' names, but I do  
>remember messages sent in to the original SB List from either victims or  
>friends of victims,on at least two separate occasions, reporting on  
>catastrophic fires that completely consumed their SB houses while still  
>under construction, when the bale walls were at the unplastered stage.
>I also remember the sense of awe in the message of one of those fire  
>victims, where he talked of the rapidity and intensity of the fire which  
>consumed his house .
>While it is true that tightly compacted bales don't burn easily, loose  
>straw does, very well, and the resultant fire can be of sufficient  
>intensity to quickly ignite exposed floor and roof framing ... and with no  
>running water on site (which is usually the case with buildings under  
>construction) the likelihood of the building being irrepairably destroyed  
>before the fire department arrives (usually from long distances away since  
>most SBH are not constructed in urban areas) is high.
>The lessons learned were that keeping a tidy building site, (ie keeping  
>straw duff cleaned up and under control during the building process (and  
>after) when the exposed SB are still vulnerable) is of utmost importance.
>A couple of the memories of those messages are returning jut now -- in one  
>of those fires, it happened when someone was soldering a plumbing  
>connection.  In another, it was when someone was welding steel  
>reinforcement. With the benefit of hindsight it might be easy to say that  
>one can avoid potential fire situations but the reality is that no one  
>plans on having an accident. $#!+ happens.
>=== * ===
>Rob Tom                    AOD257
>Kanata, Ontario, Canada
>< A r c h i L o g i c  at  Y a h o o  dot  c a  >
>(manually winnow the chaff from my edress if you hit "reply")
>    European strawbale building discussion list
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