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Hale Bale Construction


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I had to start another thread; Hausdok locked his[:-irked]

I & Garet Denise attended an elective tour of hale bale construction in Albuquerque, NM. A gentleman who has specialized in this type of construction for over 2 decades took us on a tour of his houses, & showed us an extensive slide show. Without wanting to appear biased, I have to say I was not impressed. The cost of construction is simply not much less than standard methods, there is way too much room for error, and certain fundamentals such as fastening windows & door securely haven't been figured out adequately. The builder allowed as to how he's "been having problems w/ windows & doors cracking & pulling out of wall assemblies". Not surprising, as the window & door jambs are held in place by gravity & stucco; it's hard to fasten a window to a bale of straw.

It is a viable method for 3rd world subsistence economies utilizing local labor & materials; that's about it, IMHO.

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I'm sorry; I didn't know that was the primary purpose, although it's plastered all over the place. I'm just an excitable guy.

The straw bale thing has some merit, but honestly, after seeing the work involved, it didn't appear worth it. There were just so many oddities to deal with; stucco weep screeds, termite prevention, bugs/pests in general prevention, going to tons of work to install bucks for windows & doors, etc. Also, if it is attempted anywhere other than bone dry desert environments, I have to believe moisture issues become a major concern.

Being an ex-hippy from the 70's, w/ experience in geodesic domes, straw bale, rammed earth, & other peripheral building techniques, they all are fringe techniques. When one is gathering the capital to put together a dwelling w/ modern windows, doors, interior finishes, appliances, etc., putting it all in a straw bale shell is sticking ones neck out.

I admit it; I'm biased toward engineered construction practices.

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