Straw bale house by Wood worxx

9 Dec

I recently visited an interesting natural building project constructed by R&L Wood Worxx. Straw bale house by Wood worxx is a 2 storey family house which is utilising timber frame as structural element and straw bales as infill of the frame.

Woodworx straw bale house

Shingles are installed on the roof

Straw is in fact waste product of agriculture and makes excellent insulation. Straw itself is not very fire resistant but big compresion in the bales dramatically decreases the ability of oxygen to feed a fire at the straw. Look here to see results of fire rating testing. The compresion also makes it hard for pests to make damage.
inside wall

Timber frame with straw bale infill

The house is sitting on a concrete foundation and the timber frame incorporates a suspended floor. The void created by this feature protects the house from radon gas and moisture from the ground. The biggest enemy of straw bales is water in any form. That is why detailing and quality control is very important, especially on west coast of Ireland where big winters storms are driving the rain horizontally. The salty ocean spray can travel many miles inland. To protect the bales during construction the whole outside of the house was sealed with breather membrane.
wall detail

Lathing almost ready for cladding panels

Lathing on top of the membrane serves multiple purpose. It will be used to hold cladding panels and as well creates a gap to ventilate the straw. The site was quite busy as the crew was trying to seal the house before aproaching winter strorms. It is a pity that I did not have time to go more into details with the builders. I hope to make another visit to the site to find out more about this exciting project.

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