Clarifying Misconceptions About Straw Bale Houses
When many people may hear the words “Straw Bale House” they immediately think of the “three little pigs”. Actually, a straw bale house can be efficient, secure, healthy and attractive. A straw bale homes use renewable resources and are extremely energy efficient. It can have an R-value (insulation value) of up to R55. Most houses have an R-value of up to R21, (which is standard building code). Because of it’s insinuative value, a straw bale house stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Therefore, you need no central air. As a result, it costs very little to heat and almost nothing to cool. In addition, some may think of straw as a fire hazard, yet the opposite is true. Straw bale homes often conform to strict wild fire safety codes.
What are Straw Bale Houses Made Of?
People often confuse hay with straw. The difference between the two is that hay is grass and a food, while straw is a by-product (the stalks). Hay gives off methane gasses as it decomposes, which eventually become self combustible. When hay decomposes in a confined space, it will eventually become self combustible. When straw decomposes it is inert. It is incapable of self combustion. It will never become self combustible in the absence of oxygen.
The straw bales are entombed with lime plaster and concrete. This is the reason that straw bale houses are resistant to fire. The lime plaster wicks the moisture out of the bales and keeps the humidity low within the house. Moisture is constantly drawn out of the house and therefore mold is minimized. Lime is an excellent mold prevention agent and as a result, a straw bale house is ideal for someone who has mold allergies. The outside of the house is coated with lime and concrete. It keeps out drafts, pests of all kinds and moisture.
This particular straw bale house (the first & only straw bale house constructed in Woodstock) we have listed for sale is unique in the fact that the outside front of the house has been stone faced. It has the charm of an old stone house without the cold of an old stone house. By using concrete, the rest of the house is sided with a unique, hand sculpted style to resemble clapboard and fish scale siding.
Finally, the house is then lime washed which gives the house a clean white finish. Most straw bale houses resemble an adobe house and are just stuccoed. “Little pig, little pig!, I’ll blow your house in!!” Straw bale houses built over 200 years ago still are standing today. These houses are built using either post and beam or are stick built. The walls are then infilled using straw bales and lashed together with baling twine. Bracing is involved. The house is then secured with concrete and lime inside and out. This House Ain’t Going nowhere! The structure is extremely secure and would never blow down.
Please call us to find out about our unique Woodstock NY straw bale house for sale!