Walls, Roof & Floor Construction
We are building the non-load bearing type of walls, so the wooden frame will be fixed to the foundations. Remember to lay down a plastic membrane on top of the ground first. Once the frame is in position, the packing with straw bales on their side can commence.
On the top of the concrete foundations, steel rods will be incorporated into the foundation, allowing the bales to be skewered on them, and keeping them in position.
Start the row with a half bale, this can be cut from a full bale using a chain saw and retying with string. Fit a full bales next, right along to the end of the wall. This particular technique has been used in the building trade for years and is known as running-bond.
Lay the next row starting this time with a full bale, tamping down the bales and tying the rows of bales together with bamboo or wooden pins hammered through.
Bales can be sculptured with the chain saw to fit quite neatly round the door and window apertures. Any gaps can be filled with scrunched up straw and well tapped in, and then straw mixed with clay to seal the joints.
Finish of the walls by making sure the bales do not protrude beyond the wooden frame and nail chicken mesh onto the frame, inside and out assist the rendering which may be of cement base or lime base plaster, or ordinary clay, but there will be a weather coat required for whichever render is used.
Once this has dried, the doors and windows can be fitted. There are many recycling plants for building materials such as these items complete with frames and surrounds, so shop around rather than buy new – be environmentally friendly to your new natural green building.
This is similar to the wood log building
Once all the bales and wall frames have been secured with the wire mesh, the roof can be installed. Depending on available lifting, plant the gable ends. Rafters can be assembled on the ground, then fitted to the top of the frames and secured.
Roofing boards or sarking (again supplied rough-cut from the sawmill) are nailed to the rafters. Then, wood roof shingles are fitted over the boards using the same method as fitting roof slates.
Between the foundation, a simple damp-coat can be laid and the space above can be filled with aggregate and screened or more environmentally friendly filled with good quality garden soil, compacted. The final inch or so is then leveled with a mixture of clay and water and left to dry before final smoothing and sanding – the choice is yours.