Straw Bale Stucco Construction tips.
My sons Carl and Dan are located in Sonora, CA.
They both understand stucco and most carpentry, both are in the process of getting their own license at this time. Both are young, strong, ambitious, and have integrity instilled into them by a father with morals. Call them for your stucco or plastering needs.
The reward I received working with my sons who worked with me most of their lives was beyond measurement in cash or pizza as I believe what my dad used to say often. Use it or lose it.
This applies to physical strength as well as mental awareness.
In this video, we are giving some stucco tips when applying over Straw-Bale walls.
Tip one: stack the bales as straight as possible to avoid having to apply more than 3 inches; in this video, we are applying a bit over 10 inches in many areas.
Naturally, we chose the worst wall in the entire two-story home to focus our attention on.
The exterior was stuccoed 20 years ago while the interior straw was put on hold to do much more important installs. Like, kitchen appliances, Cabinets, sheetrock, etc. There are no rules of time to finish any home. Especially when you live in another that’s finished on the same land. These folks are blessed to have a whopping one hundred acres with mountain views of even parts of Yosemite.
No wolf will try and blow any Straw-Bale home down. That would be futile. Unlike the castles in Europe, like in the HBO special “Game of Thrones,” you can have a fire going on permanently, but those rock castles will remain cold year-round. Now take these Straw-Bale homes; once heated, they will retain their heat because of this boring topic called R factors.
Straw bales typically have an R-value range of 2.38 per inch to R 0.94 per inch. This range is comparable to the R-value of stone wool or fiberglass. Although it is slightly lower than cellulose, straw bales’ R-value can be increased depending on how tightly packed the bale is.
What are the insulation properties of straw bales?
Straw bales have excellent insulation properties – among the most cost-effective thermal insulation available. A typical straw bale wall has an R-value greater than 7. Straw has a similar insulation value to fiberglass batts for the equivalent thickness and is much cheaper.
That’s pretty good compared with conventional 2 x 6 stud wall construction that has an R-value around R-21. It is technically boring stuff, but it is important when you pay the heating bills.
Kirk Giordano Plastering Inc.
These straw bales and similar structures have been around since the beginning of time.
They keep us humans safe and out of the elements of freezing rains and cold weather, as well as predators with large teeth and appetites.
The materials change or adapt from cob, which is clay, sand, and straw, to dirt, and yes, Dung, to lime stucco and many other outer skins for waterproofing.
It’s very similar to Wattle and Daub.
We even explained what Wattle and Doub in a video a few years ago.
If you’re curious about what other additives can be used, https://youtu.be/yQiKYH_fuZ0/ Skip to 15:25 and watch 15 seconds of alternative materials, it’s quite imaginative and fascinating.
To view the lime or plastic cement used.
Click here, https://youtu.be/dw34VLYFC1Y/, and skip to 6:38 and watch 30 seconds.
Lime or plastic cement is breathable, and it applies or spreads well.
Straw Bales should not get rained on or be moldy when purchased. This is just common sense.
A breathable stucco is preferred. Let’s air in and out.
I’ve seen guys way back in the day hydrating the exterior walls like they were made of stone; this is not advisable; misting the exterior with just a quick spray of water to create a solid mechanical bond is all that is needed.
Excessive soaking or hydrating the exterior straw can trap moisture, which can cause molding
When building straw bale walls, one can get caught with their pants down, meaning the dreaded rain or a chance of rain, so tarping the entire structure might be necessary.
It’s best to start in spring, where there’s little to no chance of rain.
Rain to straw bales is like kryptonite to Superman; it’s not good.
Stray bale homes can’t burn as once covered there is “No oxygen” for a fire to get or remain started, one just needs to watch the old movie, “Backdraft” directed by “Ron Howard” in 1991, with Kurt Russel and Robert DeNiro to understand this concept.
And no, rodents such as mice, or rats, can’t live in it as the straw used can’t be used as food.
Actually, mice can live in it as they can live in anything, such as straw, caves, wood, or even steel structures, that have holes in them.
But these critters would still need to come out of hiding to eat edible food, drooped by us untidy humans. I’m sure they love pizza crumbs.
The magic of working in physical trades is getting paid to work out. Can’t beat that.
Happy New Year to all.