How to Build Your Own Straw Bale House

The Best Information I've Found

It's not simple to build a straw bale house--or any kind of house, for that matter. You will need some time, some money, and some basic skills. (Patience helps too.)Here are some questions specific to straw bale construction: How to deal with situations where your bale course is higher than the sill of your window? How to prevent your walls from leaning away from plumb? How to build so that your straw bales will be protected from all moisture once construction is complete?

I've seen people struggle with straw bale houses where they began with too little information. An unfinished straw bale house up the street from us was eventually torn down. You need good information, before you begin and for reference during construction.

The straw bale DVD shown here describes a step by step system describing exactly how to build a straw bale house -- from foundation to plaster. It's done by Andrew Morrison of Oregon, and it is crammed with a lot of information.

Now, I'm picky about how-to DVDs. I've had my hand in helping to produce over a dozen programs myself, helping my husband with ones that our business, Hartworks, created, on a variety of topics including natural building. I know how challenging it can be to get shots where the viewer can really see and understand exactly what you want them to.

I'm really impressed with how much information is packed into this program.

Click on the link below to read Andrew's sales page, which tells you all about the program. While you're there, you can also sign up for an email series called "7 Essential Steps to Straw Bale Success."

Photo credit: Andrew Morrison

Here's the Link I Just Mentioned - For Andrew Morrison's Straw Bale Post and Beam DVD

It's also available now for immediate download. Contents include:

Introduction

Selecting Great Bales

Retying Bales

Foundation Review

Framing Details

Installing Toe-Ups

Room Overview

Notching Bales

Stacking Bales

Strengthening Bale Walls

Tamping Bale Walls

Baling the Top Course

Creating Window Seats

Chainsaw Issues

Baling Tall Walls

Outside Corners

String Trimming

Wire Mesh Preparation

Creating Niches

Electrical

Window Flashing

Plaster Preparation

Burlap Patches

Wire Mesh Application

Sewing Walls

Mesh Around Windows

Kitchens

Aligning Wall Planes

Why I recommend DVDs for Learning to Build Straw Bale Houses

If you are thinking about building a straw bale house, how are you going to learn about the process?

Books can only take you so far, though of course they are good to have around for inspiration and reference.

Attending a straw bale workshop is time consuming and expensive. It can be worth doing once you are sure that strawbale construction is in the cards for you.

But to my mind, the best way to learn about straw bale building is to get one or more informative straw bale DVDs, which you can watch more than once, share with family and friends, etc.

For a really useful series of how-to straw bale DVDs, I recommend the ones created by Andrew Morrison of StrawBale Innovations in Oregon. Andrew knows both how to build with straw bale (having created a 15-house complex must have helped!) and how to teach clearly, in a way that is understandable. My husband and I spent an evening with Andrew not long ago, and his enthusiasm for straw bale was tremendous!

What about you?

Are you thinking of building a straw bale house, or have you done it?

  • Just gathering information right now
  • Thinking pretty seriously about it
  • Definitely planning on doing it
  • In the process of doing it now
  • Done it!
See results without voting

Amazon Straw Bale Plexo: What Do You Think of These Books? - You can vote books up or down by clicking the arrows.

You can also click on the titles to go to Amazon and find out more!

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Andrew Morrison's Straw Bale DVD on Foundations

Second in the Series

You certainly want to start a straw bale house (or any house) with a good foundation!

Click here to find out about a DVD on how you can save thousands of dollars -- compared to hiring the work -- by creating your own concrete slab, with lots of details about exactly what to do.

This is also a DVD from Andrew Morrison, also available as a download if you have a fast enough internet connection. Photo credit: Andrew Morrison.

Please note that if you click through to Amazon.com from here and if you buy something, Squidoo and I may share a commission, at no cost to you. Clicking on some of the other links might also yield me some commission. I appreciate the income, as it enables me to spend time doing writing like this.

Your Straw Bale Comments Welcomed! 28 comments

anonymous 6 years ago

Awesome. I love Andrew Morrison's DVD series. That along with a woodworking dvd and you're off to the races creating anything! Great recommendation and great Lens.

Thanks.


thesuccess2 profile image

thesuccess2 5 years ago

Hi I would have appreciated a section on why bales are used to build a house at all as I'd never even heard of this method.


favored profile image

favored 5 years ago from USA

I hope to share this idea with my husband. Thanks.


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 5 years ago Author

@thesuccess2: Oh, I had forgotten to put a link to my lens that explains that... glad you caught the error. Scroll on down nearly to the bottom of this page and click on the link to Straw Bale Houses -- Beautiful and Ecological.


anonymous 5 years ago

interesting reading, enjoyed my visit on your lens tonight, squidliked it too.


maraga 4 years ago

good ideas. thank you


WriterJanis2 profile image

WriterJanis2 4 years ago

This is very unique lens! Loved it.


sarasentor lm profile image

sarasentor lm 4 years ago

Love this lens.


anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks this is an excellent project to do with my grandchildren.


PaulWinter profile image

PaulWinter 4 years ago

I recently saw a tV program about someone building a straw bale house, not something I have ever thought of. The finished house was fantastic.


Gypzeerose profile image

Gypzeerose 4 years ago

A truly green idea, pinned to my nature and green friendly ideas board.


RawBill1 profile image

RawBill1 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

A friend of mine recently built a straw bale barn for his wife's business. As I have an interest in natural building techniques I jumped at the chance to help with some of the construction. It was hard work, but interesting and well worth doing. It looks amazing now even though it is not 100% completed.


jeffster 4 years ago

Thanks for the info. A friend of mine is an Eco-architect and got me onto the idea of using straw bales for housing.


senditondown profile image

senditondown 4 years ago from US

I've never heard of one. Is it big bad wolf proof?


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@senditondown: Absolutely!


JoshK47 4 years ago

How interesting - thanks for sharing! :)


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@JoshK47: You're welcome. This is getting increasingly popular.


SheGetsCreative profile image

SheGetsCreative 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

I've seen a few completed straw bale houses in the Southwest. Cool lens!


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@SheGetsCreative: Thanks! You may have seen more than you realized since the straw bale look is so typical SW!


MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

Great lens! I love alternative housing of all kinds.


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@MarcellaCarlton: We do too! It's a consuming passion for my husband.


Celticep profile image

Celticep 4 years ago

Great information! My cousin has a pink straw bale house in South Wales, UK, its very impressive :)


Annbulance2000 profile image

Annbulance2000 4 years ago

Interesting idea, probably well insulated too. What about fire hazard though?


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@Annbulance2000: Once the straw bales are covered over with plaster, there's no real hazard because of building with straw Also, the bales are quite intensely compressed when they are baled in the farmer's field, so that reduces the risk too.


Dezzer 4 years ago

Anything to do with straw I'm very interested in. It's a great material to work with, very sustainable, low embodied energy, highly insulating, and you can get very creative with it. I built my own strawbale house 13 years ago, I've designed a number of other houses in strawbale, have constructed garden walls and seats, and more recently designed and help build a front fence from strawbales for my daughter and her partner.

With a bit of sweat equity you can be rewarded for life with strawbale! I'll be writing about my experiences soon. BTW, "strawbale" as related to construction, can be a single word or two words.


hartworks lm profile image

hartworks lm 4 years ago Author

@Dezzer: Yes, do write about your experiences! And I'd be specially interested in how it's been to live in the house for years.


Frischy profile image

Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

There was a straw bale house not too far from us when we lived in Maryland. They were featured in the Sunday paper, which was the only reason we knew about it. First time I had ever heard of this construction method.


Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

I was unaware of these.

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